Global Challenges

The major issues facing our planet are of a magnitude that no one institution or organization can address on its own. They require the pooling and sharing of knowledge across institutions, across disciplines and across continents. Among these issues of global concern are the social trends and the changes in the natural world which will impact our planet and its many populations in the near future.

WUN Global Challenges are collections of high quality WUN collaborative research programmes that draw upon the rich intellectual and outreach resources of WUN and its strategic partners. These research programmes are expected to contribute significantly to addressing issues of global significance.

WUN Global Challenges are also a means of promoting new or existing WUN collaborative research programmes to potential funders, policy makers and the world more generally by emphasising the impact that these programmes will have on issues of concern to them.

WUN focusses its resources on 4 Global Challenges:

  • Global Higher Education and Research

    The WUN Global Challenge in Higher Education and Research (GHEAR) addresses the sources, mechanisms, and social structures that give rise to today's higher education challenges, and works collaboratively across the network to propose reform policies for international research and education.

  • Public Health

    The WUN Public Health Global Challenge emphasizes a life-course approach to opportunities for addressing non-communicable diseases especially in low and middle income countries and transitioning populations but also in developed societies where there are social disparities in risk.

  • Responding to Climate Change

    The WUN Global Challenge on Responding to Climate Change is focussed primarily on food and environment security and encapsulates a number of innovative research projects that address scientific, cultural, health and social issues.  Changes to our climate are leading to environmental changes, food and water shortages, and population displacement and migration.  Collaborative and multi-disciplinary research programs are a crucial component of our response to these emerging problems, and experts from across the globe need to work together to explore sustainable approaches to how we can best adapt to a changing climate. 

  • Understanding Cultures

    The WUN Understanding Cultures Global Challenge facilitates interdisciplinary research for understanding some of the principal consequences of globalization for cultural identities. The research agenda of the WUN Understanding Cultures Global Challenge is shaped by a concern with how profound globalisation trends such as a more integrated transnational economic system, the rise of global communications networks, increasing levels of population mobility, the advent of international consumer brands, and widening social inequalities are challenging national, regional and individual cultural practices. Deeper understanding of these challenges for cultural changes is necessary to inform effective policy-making and implementation.

  • Other Research
  • Special Interest Groups

    WUN Special Interest Groups (SIGs) draw together individuals with a common interest that crosses the Global Challenges.