Leeds Social Sciences Institute

The Global Sustainable Development Goals Challenge seminar

March 29, 2017 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Baines Wing (2.10)


In 2015, the UN adopted a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also called Global Goals, to eradicate poverty, establish socioeconomic inclusion and protect the environment. Critical voices such as the International Council for Science (ICSU), however, have expressed concerns about the potential incompatibility of the SDGs, specifically the incompatibility of socio-economic development and environmental sustainability.

Viktoria Spaiser will present a recent paper, where her research team tested, quantified and modelled the alleged inconsistency of SDGs and showed which SDGs are consistent and which are conflicting.

They also measured the extent of inconsistency and concluded that the SDG agenda will fail as a whole if we continue with business as usual. They further explored the nature of the inconsistencies using dynamical systems models, which revealed that the focus on economic growth and consumption as a means for development underlies the inconsistency.

Their models finally showed that there are factors which can contribute to development (health programmes, government investment in education) on the one hand and ecological sustainability (renewable energy) on the other, without triggering the conflict between incompatible SDGs.

She will conclude with an outlook for further research. (Read the paper)


Viktoria Spaiser is a University Academic Fellow in Political Science Informatics at the School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds. She is also affiliated with the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics.

Before coming to Leeds, she was a visiting researcher in the Computational Social Science Research Group at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) in 2012 and a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies Stockholm (2012-2014) and at the Department of Mathematics, Uppsala University in Sweden (2014-2015).

In her research she applies mathematical and computational approaches to social and political science research questions, with a focus on dynamical systems modelling, Bayesian statistics, data science approaches and agent based modelling.

Viktoria has been working on a wide range of topics, including political protest, democratisation, segregation and sustainable development, using various sources of data, such as register data, cross-country panel data and Twitter data.

Join the Priestley International Centre for Climate

The Priestley Centre – which is hosting the event as part of its interdisciplinary lunchtime seminar series – brings together world-leading researchers at the University of Leeds to work collaboratively in areas related to climate change, its impacts and response strategies.

Its aim is to establish the University at the forefront of international interdisciplinary climate change research by leveraging existing expertise, encouraging collaborative work across disciplinary boundaries and showcasing the work carried out by academics across the University.

Membership is open to any University of Leeds academic staff or PhD student whose research and interests align with the vision of the Centre. Join here

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