Future17: Sustainable Development Goals Challenge

Future17 is a global education programme that bridges the worlds of higher education and work. It is multi-institutional and multidisciplinary, bringing students, academic mentors and business partners together to work on challenges related to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Future17 helps you develop highly relevant skills in today’s world by working on real-world business challenges related to sustainability as part of international, multidisciplinary, and multicultural teams. Future17 fosters cultural competence, digital skills, collaborative working behaviours and critical problem-solving skills while enabling you to make real impacts on sustainability challenges.

Apply now

Applications are now open for participation in Semester One, 2024.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 5pm on Friday 10th November.

"Today our world is shaped by disruption, war and conflict, inflation, protectionism, polarisation, inequality, disinformation and climate change. It means the University, our students and staff must forge fresh approaches to what we do while remaining committed to our core values of respect and integrity, excellence and service and quality. The Future 17 consortium offers one such fresh approach through the SDGs, which are deeply embedded in our university strategy. Through the consortium, we will bring our sustainability-minded students and staff together with like-minded global partners, universities, businesses, and NGOs to develop actionable solutions to real-life SDG-focused challenges."

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dawn Freshwater

Future17 programme outline

Future17 begins with a self-paced online induction, which introduces you to collaborative, challenge-based and intercultural learning, and the concept of design thinking for tackling global challenges.

You are allocated to a team with members from partner universities and various disciplines. Two academic mentors from partner universities guide each team, and your team is matched with a business partner, e.g. a corporate organisation, NGO, or similar, which may be located anywhere in the world.

The business partner presents your team with a real-world SDG challenge. With guidance from your mentors, your team works collaboratively, applying design-thinking approaches to develop a solution to your SDG challenge. The programme culminates in a showcase event, where all teams present their solutions to the business partners.

The Future17 programme is offered in both Semester One and Semester Two. Being a global programme, some of the work falls outside our regular semester dates. In addition, working with international partner universities means students are expected to participate in virtual project meetings outside of New Zealand lecture hours.

2023 Dates  
Semester One January to May
Semester Two July to December

Future17 counts towards your qualification

Future17 is set up as a 15-point course. Successful participants will receive credits towards their University of Auckland programme of study. It requires around 150 hours of work, commensurate with a typical stage three undergraduate course.

Further information

Future17 was launched in 2022 by the charity arm of higher-education thought leaders and rankings organisation QS, in conjunction with the University of Exeter (England). The University of Auckland joined the programme in September 2022.

For further information on Future17, please email the Future17 project team at future17SDGs@auckland.ac.nz.