The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States, provides a blueprint for achieving a better future. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a call for action to promote social and economic prosperity while protecting the planet.

The Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings measure the contribution of universities to the SDGs, including research, teaching, and community outreach. The University of Auckland was ranked first in the world in 2019 and again in 2020. To gain a better understanding of our research contribution, the University of Auckland SDG Keywords Dictionary Project seeks to build on the processes developed by the United Nations and THE in order to create an expanded list of keywords that can be used to identify SDG-relevant research.

This ‘Auckland Approach’ represents the University’s effort to localise SDG mapping to understand SDG activities that are unique to the University of Auckland, our Māori and Pacific communities, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Pacific region. Our intention is to help researchers from UoA and other institutions to better highlight their contributions to SDGs.


Text-mining techniques and methods have been applied to produce lists of SDG-related keywords from Elsevier’s Scopus database. The search query was based on Elsevier’s SDG search query, with additional search terms added from documentation provided by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the UN itself. Scopus itself is one of the world’s largest abstract and citation databases and is used by THE to produce the University Impact Rankings.

We applied an n-gram model to mine the abstracts of academic publications, in order to identify relevant sequences of words. These n-gram tokens were then scored by a range of factors, including counts and measures of frequency, and were then ranked by those scores. Keywords with a high rank were then evaluated in more detail and manually reviewed to confirm that they were relevant to the Goal in question. Additionally, we also rank and assess both Author-provided and publication Index Keywords by their counts and frequencies.

Download a full list of keywords for all SDG’s that have been evaluated so far. As of June 2021, this includes all 16 SDGs.

Download a full list of UoA search queries for all SDGs.

Contact US

SDG Mapping Project Team


Dr Weiwei Wang

Research Planning Analyst

Other Enquiries:


UoA Planning and Information Office

Cite this work

Weiwei Wang, Weihao Kang, Jingwen Mu. Mapping research to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 19 February 2023, PREPRINT (Version 2) available at Research Square [https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2544385/v2]