Awareness and perceptions of Sustainable Development Goals among academics of Australian universities


  • N.D.K. Arachchilage Edith Cowan University, Australia
  • C. Keerthipala Monash University, Australia


This study investigated the level of awareness and perceptions of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among academia of Australian universities. Also known as the Global Goals, SDGs were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. To achieve the objectives of this study, three research questions were developed, and seven hypotheses were formulated. The theoretical base consisted of the liberal theory of education, professional formation theory, civic and community engagement theory and research engine theory. The data were collected from a survey conducted among 37 public universities. The statistical analysis reveals a perception-belief contrast. While possessing a highly positive perception of SDGs, academics in Australian universities believe that many of these goals cannot be achieved by 2030 as planned. The research highlights the need for universities to rethink their sustainability strategies beyond reputational building and to have strategies in place to contribute genuinely towards eradication of economic, social and environmental issues encountered by modern societies. This study also builds a new foundation for developing sustainability management frameworks and assessment benchmarks for Australian universities.
Keywords: Perception, awareness, sustainability, academia, development