NUST SDGs-Engagement Plan 

NUST embarked upon the journey of SDGs engagement with one core mission in hand: “map, align, measure, restructure, redesign, monitor and collaborate”. NUST initiated the SDGs Engagement Programme in 2018 and so far has achieved remarkable progress in doing so that has been appreciated both at home and internationally, having been duly acknowledged. We continue our upward journey towards greater adoption of SDGs in all of our core functions.

UN SDGs is a universal, comprehensive, and inclusive framework for development which addresses the needs of all forms of life existing on this planet. With 17 goals, 169 targets, and 232 indicators included in the Development Agenda 2030, UN SDGs provide an elaborated masterplan for all the organizations to adopt sustainability as the key element in their long-term strategy.

Pakistan being initial signatory of UN SDGs, is obliged to meet the Agenda 2030 and report annually on its progress to the United Nations. In order to fulfill that obligation, organizations especially HEIs must make SDGs an integral part of their strategy to assist in achieving the national commitment.

Realizing the importance of UN SDGs, NUST has adopted the requisite framework to become what is termed internationally as a “SDGs-engaged University”. NUST also strategically aligned all of the following university core functions with UN SDGs:

Research & Innovation

  • Research alignment with SDGs
  • Capacity building in terms of research and innovation
  • Cross-disciplinary approach towards research for problemsolving
  • Support Innovations supporting SDGs
  • Support Social enterprises addressing SDGs

Academics & Youth Engagement

  • Integrating ESD with NUST curriculum
  • Training Students on SDGs and their future roles in SDGs
  • Making Future Leaders and
    Change Agents

Operations & Governance

  • Integrating SDGs into NUST
    policy across all levels
  • Performance evalaution based
    on SDGs
  • Training

Stakeholder Management

  • Partnership with industries,
    public sector bodies and
    social sector to align SDGs
    implementation strategies
    across national levels
  • Adopting a collaborative
    model for SDGs

The Impact Rankings

2019: Universities Participated Globally: 460+/ Global: NUST Ranked Overall: 300+/ National: Ranked No. 3/ No. of SDGs Participation: 4

Out of 462 University across the World, NUST was overall ranked between 301-400. However, ranking in following individual SDGs had been even better:

i. SDG 4 Quality Education: between 101-200

ii. SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: between 101-200

iii. SDG 5 Gender Equality: 201-300

iv. SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals: 301+

2020: Universities Participated Globally: 860+/ Global: NUST Ranked Overall: 200-300, Top 100 in SDG 4 and SDG 12/ National: Second Overall/ No. of SDGs Participation: 17

NUST also participated in 2020 THE Impact Rankings 2020 across all 17 SDGs and ranked in 200-300 globally, whereas on No. 2 nationally.


Highlights of the NUST SDGs transformation in the last year, along with the organizational commitment,

details on SDGs related initiatives and activities will be covered thoroughly in this report, listed by
The complete journey of NUST SDGs Alignment plan is as follows:


As the first step, we performed the analysis of research & innovation portfolio, curricula and all
operations within NUST as well as analysis of internal capabilities and resources in implementing SDGs. An extensive mapping was conducted, spanning over more than 7 months of extensive work:

• 1000+ Research projects mapped
• 7000+ Publications Mapped
• 650+ Patents mapped
• Key activities of 20 administrative offices of NUST mapped with SDGs.
• Activities of 18+ Schools/ departments, Programmes, courses mapped with SDGs
• Startup Competitions, Community Clubs Services, Events mapped with SDGs


The university core functions were aligned with the respective SDGs targets and eventually 17 goals, by disaggregating the national level targets and KPIs of SDGs framework into relevant achievable milestones and KPIs for appropriate alignment with the academic core functions.


“What gets measured is what gets improved”.

Although there are 232 SDGs Framework KPIs, 69 Targets and 17 Goals at national levels, indicators for organizations can be variable according to the type and the sector of the organization. Therefore, for a higher education institute, the KPIs selected were only those pertinent to the deliverables of a university in the context of youth and students’ engagement, research and innovation and green campus initiatives.

Measure only relevant KPIs

The choice of KPIs has to be made very carefully as the right KPIs will set the focus of the university / organization in their strategy and plan for SDGs alignment. The other important reasons why KPIs selection is very crucial because:

  • Costs of measuring KPIs is very high
  • Not all KPIs are relevant to the organization and its core strategy/ functions
  • Wrong choice of KPIs can lead to misleading outcomes and inadequate performance, and eventually affect the results
  • Only KPIs relevant to NUST Internal Domains and Stakeholders need to be selected
  • NUST adopted a set of 242 KPIs, under four different domains which were selected on the basis of relevance to the organization and its long term strategic goals and modes of operations


Once the set of KPIs were selected, these KPIs were assigned to 20+ administrative offices and relevant schools/ colleges of NUST. A dedicated online portal” NUST SDGs Portal” has been developed to track and measure the performance and impact of the organization in terms of SDGs. Several internal sessions were held with the stakeholders to brief them on SDGs framework, KPIs assignment, reporting methodology and usage of the portal. They were also briefed on setting targets, devising plans and policy amendments to improve on these KPIs. 


To formulate a better SDGs implementation strategy, we need to understand where action is needed. Tools to gather, present and disseminate SDG data are key to ensuring their extensive and effective use by policymakers. Reporting and dissemination platforms for SDGs are indispensable to policymakers and, indeed, to all stakeholders for understanding where progress is being made and informing future interventions. Data must be:

  • Accessible
  • Publicly available
  • Relevant
  • Easily visualized and
  • Analyzed – to those who want or need to use it.

The monitoring and evaluation on the progress against the KPIs are being conducted through the SDGs Portal, on which a dedicated dashboard to monitor performances by offices as well as an overall performance by SDGs has been developed, which provides us a bird’s eye view of the organization’s standing in terms of SDGs.


The plan also considers realignment and restructuring once the cycle is over, and the KPIs are realigned with new initiatives, new technologies or Programmes started at the university. The process is a continuous improvement cycle and does not halt at the end of a year, but takes continuous efforts to improve and re-align on the KPIs assigned. New policies, strategies and initiatives must be introduced for a complete re-alignment and re-structuring in accord with the SDGs.


We use “Systems thinking” to implement SDGs, which give us a framework for assessing the whole picture and understanding complex dynamics and interdependencies. Systems thinking are based on a collaborative model instead of working in silos and identifies “Key Leverage Points” within a system. For NUST, it means operating on three levels:

  • joining up with others’ efforts to achieve individual goals
  • looking at the inter-relationships between all the goals
  • and finally delivering the goals in a way that models the characteristics we need for a sustainable society.
  • NUST not only held various collaborative and interactive sessions to engage internal stakeholders,
    more than 20 offices and schools of NUST, to work towards a unified goal of SDGs alignment, but also
    established cross-sectoral partnerships and international memberships for the cause.