Sustainable Development Goals

The University of Rijeka nurtures curiosity, boldness, inclusiveness, diversity, participation, and solidarity as prerequisites to progressive and equitable institutions, with access to education, ensuring equal opportunities for everyone, caring for vulnerable and underrepresented groups, promoting diversity, inclusiveness, and dignity of every person, academic integrity and public accountability that improve the authentic quality of research and education and contribute towards justice in society. By contributing towards achieving one goal, the University of Rijeka also contributes to achieving another global sustainable development goal (SDG) making it quite difficult in some cases to determine, categorize and distinguish to which specific sustainable development goal a particular activity contributes. All 17 global SDGs are based on three key dimensions of sustainable development, the social, environmental, and economic, which, together with partnership and peace, form the starting point of the path towards sustainable development.

Starting with the premise that individual activities contribute to several different goals, it can be concluded that the activities of the University of Rijeka and its constituents make a multifaceted contribution towards achieving SDGs and improving the well-being of society as a whole. The following section provides an overview of the contributions of the University of Rijeka to sustainable development achieved during 2020, which are not supported by evidence collected by using THE Impact Rankings methodology.


Poverty as a lack of funds to meet basic living needs and ensure one’s livelihood, the unavailability or limited access to education, homelessness, as well as poor and inadequate housing conditions, is a state of deprivation of income and other material, social and cultural resources, which has an overall effect on health, employment, learning, and respect.

The National Plan for Improving the Social Dimension of Higher Education in the Republic of Croatia 2019-2021 which applies to all higher education institutions including the University of Rijeka, is an operationalisation of the Strategy for Education, Science and Technology in the part regarding the social dimension of higher education in terms of setting specific goals, sub-goals and activities to undertake, proposes measurable indicators for monitoring the achievement of strategic goals and sub-goals to improve access to higher education and completion rates. In addition, the Republic of Croatia offers tuition subsidies for full-time students and has increased investment in student scholarships to ensure equal access to higher education for all full-time students in the Republic of Croatia, improve higher education completion rates, ensure easier access to higher education, provide support for students and improve access to and ensure the quality of studies for students over the age of 25.

In addition, the Operational Programme ‘Effective Human Resources 2014-2020’ provided a total of 22,000 scholarships for students of lower socioeconomic status and 15,000 scholarships for students in the STEM and ICT fields and other priority areas defined by smart specialization, national economic development strategies and key development technologies as identified in the Industrial Strategy of the Republic of Croatia 2014-2020.

Students of the University of Rijeka also have the opportunity to apply for the state scholarship for students of lower socioeconomic status or the scholarship and financial aid provided by the University of Rijeka within the framework of the Aleksandar Abramov “Solidarity” Fund. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Rijeka has published aPublic call to UNIRI students of lower socioeconomic status for expression of interest for the use of tablets and an Internet connection free of charge, to enable unhindered access to online classes.

The SDGs are integrated into other development priorities and processes of the Republic of Croatia and the University of Rijeka and contributing to the achievement of the 1st goal simultaneously contributes to the achievement of all other SDGs.


The University of Rijeka is aware that hunger is closely linked to poverty and destitution, has historically accompanied human growth and technological development, depends on the weather, natural disasters, and climate change, and has accompanied wars and unstable political and economic situations. Therefore, through socially responsible business and dialogue with the wider community, the University of Rijeka and its study programmes that include education for sustainable development indirectly contribute to achieving the 2nd SDG, which seeks to eradicate hunger by raising awareness of the need to increase food safety and improve nutrition and promoting a sustainable economy.

Aside from supporting the UNIRI Volunteer Network, the University of Rijeka encourages its students and employees to take part in volunteer work and other activities of humanitarian organizations that implement various health and social programmes and help those in need in case of disasters (e.g. the Croatian Red Cross, social supermarkets, soup kitchens, and other charities).

Given this, the University of Rijeka, together with the Student Union and the Student Centre, organised a donation drive for earthquake victims in Zagreb in March 2020 and for those in Petrinja, Sisak, and the surrounding area in December 2020.


The contributions of the University of Rijeka towards ensuring a healthy life and promoting a healthy lifestyle, medical achievements, and well-being of people of all generations lie in educating students as future health professionals and the founding of the Covid-19 Info Centre in cooperation with the Teaching Institute of Public Health of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, the University of Rijeka Student Union and Student Centre Rijeka. The Student Centre houses 6 telephones, i.e. 6 work units.

UNIRI also provides its students with access to health services from competent school medicine doctors at the Campus Student Infirmary (kampus.zdravlje@zzjzpgz.hr) in cooperation with the Teaching Institute of Public Health of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. These services include physical examinations of first-year students, examinations before admission to the dormitory, teamwork with students with difficulties with the physical education course, counseling, and vaccinations. UNIRI students and staff can receive the influenza vaccine at the Campus Student Infirmary, which also organized a COVID-19 vaccination campaign in 2021 in cooperation with the Teaching Institute for Public Health of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.

Moreover, the University of Rijeka and the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts – Department of Biomedical Sciences in Rijeka organised the Interdisciplinary scientific conference COVID-19 MESSAGES, held as a cycle of five one-day scientific conferences in September and November 2020.

I – Advancement in Virology Research – an Opportunity to Improve International Impact of the University of Rijeka- 24. 9. 2020

II – Higher Education in COVID-19 Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities – 6. 10. 2020

III – Stem for Human Species Survival – 22. 10. 2020

IV – Brave New World? Democracy, Rights And Justice In COVID-19 Era – 12. 11. -2020).

V – COVID-19 From Students Perspective: Impact, Analysis, And Recommendations

The Family Caregiver Support project of the Faculty of Medicine aims to help citizens cope more easily with the burden of caring for a sick family member and provide them with direct and easy access to essential medical information and psychological support they desperately need.

UNIRI applies the provisions of the current legislative framework in all segments and business processes, which includes the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act (OG 110/07) and the Sustainable Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia (OG 30/2009), thus contributing to one of the eight defined key sustainable development areas that represent the strategic development directions of the Republic of Croatia – strengthening public health.

Moreover, UNIRI is a co-organizer of the 3rd International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Humanities.


The quality assurance system of the University of Rijeka is based on the process of internal evaluation of the quality assurance system of all UNIRI constituents and the results of various qualitative and quantitative data analysis, with particular attention paid to student feedback. The documents that define the quality assurance system include:

Regulations on the Quality Assurance and Improvement System of the University of Rijeka

The University of Rijeka Academic Quality Handbook

Rules of Procedure for the Quality Committee

UNIRI regularly conducts internal evaluations of the quality system and students’ satisfaction. More at: https://uniri.hr/o-sveucilistu/sustav-osiguravanja-kvalitete/ustroj-sustava/

The Education and Teacher Training Agency (ETTA) and the Faculty of Teacher Education in Rijeka signed aCooperation Agreement on 17 December 2020, establishing cooperation in the field of education, professional activities that are jointly or individually organized or carried out, as well as other forms of cooperation of common interest. The Agreement stipulates scientific and professional cooperation between university professors and senior advisors from the Agency, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of early, preschool, and primary education in the Republic of Croatia.

The strategic goals and priorities of the University of Rijeka are:

1.1. Continually revise study programmes in terms of horizontal and vertical harmonisation of content, offering more elective courses, providing more opportunities for professional internships, harmonising ECTS points with the workload, etc., with the active participation of students, graduates and employers as co-creators.

1.2. Improve access to higher education for non-traditional students and facilitate vertical mobility by revising enrolment policies for graduate and postgraduate studies.

1.3. Develop personalized learning pathways by applying the system of recognition of prior learning (formal, non-formal, and informal) and the methodology of harmonising the acquired learning outcomes with the learning outcomes of the study programme.

1.4. Encourage teaching staff to participate in programmes for improving teaching competencies.

1.5. Encourage the introduction of innovative learning and teaching methods that develop students’ competencies for the future: critical thinking, integrative thinking, problem-solving, self-regulation, autonomy, and responsibility as well as resilience and flexibility.

1.6. Further develop the framework for the evaluation of the quality of all forms and methods of teaching (classroom, online, hybrid) along with the systematic introduction of collaborative assessment and the adoption of standards in the evaluation and assessment of student achievements.

1.7. Encourage community learning and extracurricular activities among students and develop a system for their evaluation.

1.8. Strengthen cooperation with teaching and professional bases by including practical experts in the teaching process.

1.9. Develop an evaluation and reward system for high quality and innovation in the teaching process and connect it to the university academic promotion system

1.10. Develop a support system for the digitalisation of the teaching process by investing in digital infrastructure and tools and teacher education.


UNIRI is the first university in the Republic of Croatia to adopt the institutional Gender Equality Plan, a strategic action plan adopted in 2020 that provides mechanisms for achieving an institutional culture of gender equality and diversity, for gender mainstreaming in study programmes and the transfer of knowledge on gender equality to the community, the aim of which is to improve the quality of life and work at the University, but also strengthen gender equality in career development – in scientific and artistic research. The Gender Equality Plan aims to profile the University of Rijeka as a place of equal opportunities, a place that respects diversity and inclusion and that is safe and has a zero-tolerance rate for discrimination, harassment, and all forms of inequality. The document was prepared as part of the SPEAR project – Supporting and Implementing Plans for Gender Equality in Academia and Research, funded by Horizon 2020. By participating in the project, the University of Rijeka confirms its strategic commitment and duty as a responsible and socially sensitive public stakeholder by creating a supportive environment against any form of inequality in the academic community. Researchers from the University of Rijeka participated in the international conference Gender equality in CEE countries: Policies and practices 2020 – Institutional change through the implementation of GEPs at the RPOs and RFOs.

In addition, UNIRI eliminates the problem of simultaneously stating terms related to the feminine and masculine gender in regulations, documents, decisions, and other acts and public calls by using words and terms in the masculine form, noting that the masculine form applies equally to the masculine and feminine gender: “Notwithstanding their grammatical gender, the terms used are gender-neutral and shall apply equally to male and female gender”.

In 2020, The Academy of Applied Arts contributed to gender equality with the following events: the opening of the Womarts exhibition on external panels on the University Campus and the Womarts – equal share of women in the arts and creative industry guest exhibition on Rijeka’s Korzo, Roaming exhibition: opening of the first part of the Women (RI) visible exhibition – international exhibition of illustrations and comics in Tower Center Rijeka, Roaming exhibition: opening of the second part of the Women (RI) visible exhibition – international exhibition of video art in Tower Center Rijeka, Roaming exhibition: opening of the third part of the Women (RI) visible exhibition of graphics at the Academy of Applied Arts, the production of the Collective Catalog of exhibitions and artists of the Wom@rts project, Dunja Janković’s Block the view, rock the boat exhibition and lecture, and cooperation between the Wom@rts project with the Hay Festival Europa28. The Faculty of Economics and Business continuously implements the provisions of the Code of Ethics of the Faculty of Economics and Business, the latest amendments to which were made by a decision in 2018. The Faculty of Engineering also implements the provisions of their Code of Ethics, and records and holds data that can be used to quantitatively report and monitor gender equality contributions, i.e. Student access measures, Women’s progress measures – Track women’s graduation rate.


UNIRI is proud of Croatia, which uses less than 1% of available drinking water, and as such develops awareness and promotes a culture of water conservation through curricula related to water protection and conservation. To commemorate World Water Day, the Academy of Applied Arts and the utility company KD Vodovod i kanalizacija Rijeka are publishing a catalogue from the Mrav Edicija and organising an exhibition at the Rijeka City Showcases. Moreover, the Faculty of Civil Engineering and the Department of Physics signed a contract on providing the analysis of the water potential and dynamics of water exchange at the water supply source Učka with Hrvatske Vode.


UNIRI applies the provisions of the applicable legislative framework in all segments and business processes, which includes provisions of the Environmental Protection Act (OG 80/13, 153/13, 78/15, 12/18, 118/18), the Sustainable Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia (OG 30/09) and the Energy Efficiency Act (OG 127/14), thus contributing to one of the eight defined key areas of sustainable development that represent the strategic development directions of the Republic of Croatia – achieving energy independence and increasing energy efficiency.

UNIRI and its curricula related to environmental protection and energy efficiency aim to develop awareness and promote technological progress, energy saving, the use of renewable natural resources, and greater energy efficiency.

The Faculty of Civil Engineering is preparing the main project for the Solar Power Plant after signing a contract with the Croatian electrical utility company HEP, the Distribution System Operator for the use of the network for a PV power station; the Faculty of Medicine has undergone an energy renovation, after which the building now falls under the energy class A, and the Faculty of Engineering offers a lifelong learning programme Training for energy certification of buildings.


UNIRI applies the provisions of the previously outlined legislative framework in all segments and business processes, further formulated by the Labour Act (OG 93/14, 127/17, 98/19) which contributes to and promotes inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all. The International Labour Organization defines decent work as productive work for women and men in conditions of freedom, equity, security, and human dignity, which means that it must pay a fair income, guarantee a secure form of employment and safe working conditions, ensure equal opportunities for all, include social protection for workers and their families, offer prospects for personal development, encourages social integration of workers and enables workers to express their concerns.

UNIRI curricula related to this topic provide students, the active social actors of tomorrow, with the knowledge about the state and development of the economy, defined by the availability of natural and produced resources, human knowledge and the ability to use them, and organizational forms and social institutions that regulate and direct economic activities.

The Students’ Association of the Department of Biotechnology organized a conference called Future and perspective, intending to connect students with the industrial and academic sector, enabling them to network with future employers and providing insight into employment opportunities after graduation.


Technology transfer is the process by which research results are transformed into new or improved products or services that are then placed on the market. The basic goal of the UNIRI Technology Transfer Office is to strengthen the link between the University and the economy, to encourage research and professional work, and support the protection and commercialization of the results of that work at all stages, from idea development to intellectual property protection to commercialization. The Technology Transfer Office was established in 2009 within the World Bank-funded Science and Technology Project (STP) and in cooperation with the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports.

To raise awareness of the importance of protection and management of intellectual property created at the University and facilitate the process of its commercialization, the Technology Transfer Office encourages the creation of intellectual property at the University; identifies, evaluates, and protects the intellectual property of the University; commercializes the intellectual property of the University, and encourages cooperation between the academic community and economy. The Technology Transfer Office provides scientists with the following services in transferring the results of research and professional work of the University to the economy: educating scientists and students of the University on the importance of technology transfer and intellectual property, expert assessment of the commercial potential of research results, consulting on the possibilities of intellectual property protection and modes of commercialization, finding commercialization partners and sources of funding, and presenting and promoting the results of scientific research and professional work to the scientific, professional and general public.

UNIRI contributes to the activities as regulated by the following documents:

Regulations on Intellectual Property of the University of Rijeka, 2010

UniRi Innovation Strategy

UniRi Regulation on IP Management

Innovation Strategy of the University of Rijeka, 2012

Intellectual Property Management Policy at the University of Rijeka, 2009

UniRi IP Management Policy

Regulations on Intellectual Property of the University of Rijeka, 2010

Real Estate Management Procedure (29 May 2020)

The Science and Technology Park of the University of Rijeka d.o.o. – STeP Ri was established to commercialize the results of scientific and professional work, encourage cooperation between scientists and business people and strengthen the science-based economy. The Science and Technology Park of the University of Rijeka is a partner of the European Entrepreneurship Network (EEN), has been supported by the Business Innovation Agency of the Republic of Croatia – BICRO and is also part of the entrepreneur support infrastructure of the Republic of Croatia: https://uniri.hr/sveuciliste-i-drustvo/sveuciliste-i-gospodarstvo/znanstveno-tehnologijski-park-step-ri/

The infrastructure of the UNIRI Campus is available to all stakeholders of the company: https://uniri.hr/sveuciliste-i-drustvo/usluge-sveucilista/

Supercomputer resources at the University of Rijeka: https://uniri.hr/sveuciliste-i-drustvo/sveuciliste-i-gospodarstvo/superracunalni-resursi-na-sveucilistu-u-rijeci/

The University of Rijeka ensures the functional use of the unique cultural space of the Moses Palace on the island of Cres through organising and implementing academic activities in the Palace, which provide the island and the wider region with new facilities and a development incentive to improve the quality of life and work.

The Neighbourhood Campus (UNIRI) is a unique example of a programme that promotes and enhances the contemporary campus culture. The opening ceremony of the Neighbourhood Campus Festival – “Campus for All” took place on 2 March 2020.


SDG10 predominantly focuses on reducing income inequality (and the best results have been achieved in countries with continued economic growth), as well as inequalities based on gender, age, disability, race, class, ethnicity, religion, etc., both within and between countries.

Sustainable income growth, which is necessary to reduce inequality and ensure shared prosperity, is inevitably accompanied by sustainable economic growth. UNIRI curricula related to this topic provide students, the active social actors of tomorrow, with the knowledge about the state and development of the economy, defined by the availability of natural and produced resources, human knowledge and the ability to use them, and organizational forms and social institutions that regulate and direct economic activities.

UNIRI acts following the provisions of the Code of Ethics and the document prepared by the National Group for the improvement of the social dimension of higher education titled Underrepresented and vulnerable groups in higher education in the Republic of Croatia. It also acts through the University Counselling Centre and its Psychological Counselling Centre, Office for Students with Disabilities, and Career Office to provide various forms of free support and assistance to students and staff of the University of Rijeka.

The Faculty of Engineering has elevators in both buildings; all UNIRI constituents follow the Protocol for the care and monitoring of students with health issues, disabilities, and chronic illnesses and the Decision on the tuition fee amount(points II. and III.), while the Student Centre contributes to reducing inequality as prescribed by the Regulations on the conditions and manner of exercising the right of full-time students to subsidized housing (Art. 8)



The regional Theology Department in Rijeka and the Department of Philosophy of the Catholic Faculty of Theology of the University of Zagreb, the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities in Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Rijeka, the Faculty of Health Studies of the University of Rijeka and the Faculty of Theology of the Nicolaus Copernicus University Toruń (Poland), organized an interdisciplinary scientific symposium with international participation Rijeka Scientific Bridges 5, with the main theme “Urban and humane: scenarios and plans for the city we want”. Lecturers from various scientific and academic disciplines also shared their reflections on several important determinants and the topic of the City of the Future, such as the city in the service of the citizen, the citizen in the service of the city; evolution of urban forms – uniformity between tradition and development; the problem of overcrowded cities and empty villages; connectivity and infrastructure of cities – solidarity that includes all layers of citizens; new technologies and the design of smart cities; the city as a living organism – inclusiveness, security, health and freedom; tourism and the city; ecology and the city – green oases and landfills; spirituality and religious spaces within the city; religious events in the City.

The Association of Croatian Innovators Zagreb (UIH) and the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the University of Rijeka, with the support of the Centre for Innovation and Technology Transfer Rijeka, organised the 4. ADRIATECH – Croatian exhibition of innovations in construction.

The CAMPMASTER project is coordinated by the University of Rijeka, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, with the help of five other partners: Breda University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands), Universitat de Girona (Spain), Associació de Càmpings de Girona (Spain), The Leading Camping & Caravaning Parks of Europe eV (Germany) and the Croatian Camping Union. The project aims to develop the first European curriculum in the field of sustainable management of a camping resort – CAMPMASTER. Recognizing the need of the camping industry for well-trained staff with specific knowledge and skills, three European universities have partnered up with national camping associations and launched an initiative to match the needs of the camping industry with the skills and qualifications acquired in specialized study programmes at the European level.



UNIRI applies the provisions of the current legislative framework in all segments and business processes, including the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act (OG 80/13, 153/13, 78/15, 12/18, 118/18), the Sustainable Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia (OG 30/09) and the Energy Efficiency Act (OG 127/14), thus contributing to one of the eight defined key areas of sustainable development – focusing on sustainable production and consumption, which aims to “work less with more and better”, which implies reducing the use of resources, reducing environmental degradation and pollution and improving the quality of life.

To succeed in this as a society, it is necessary to further educate and sensitize all stakeholders to act rationally and kindly towards resources used daily. UNIRI curricula related to this topic provide students, the active social actors of tomorrow, with the knowledge of the current situation and encourages them to reconsider and change adopted patterns of behaviour. Responsible production and consumption contribute to the realization of development plans, the reduction of future economic, environmental, and social costs, the strengthening of economic competitiveness, and the reduction of poverty (SDG1, SDG2, SDG8, and SDG9), but also contributes to environmental protection and minimizing the negative effects of production and consumption (SDG13, SDG14, and SDG15).


Climate change, which is closely linked to the extreme need for energy and food, is a pervasive threat affecting all segments of society in all countries. Fighting climate change is considered one of the most significant challenges of today because climate change directly affects achieving sustainable development, and higher education institutions should be pioneers in raising awareness of the seriousness of this problem and its consequences that will most affect the poorest, which can be achieved through research and education, and by providing innovative green solutions that use renewable energy sources.

SDG 13 applies to all other SDGs because if no action is taken, climate change can exacerbate storms and natural disasters and cause threats such as food and water scarcity (SDG2 and SDG6). And in this case, climate change will most intensely affect the poorest (SDG1) and it will affect both the land (SDG15) and the sea (SDG14). However, innovation (SDG9) and development of clean energy (SDG7) can help mitigate the impact of climate change on the economy and society as a whole, reduce the vulnerability of ecosystems and the society to the negative impact of climate change, and increase the ability to recover from climate change.

UNIRI encourages, actively supports and implements a number of initiatives that contribute to raising awareness of the seriousness of climate change and its consequences, including yet another tree planting project on the University campus; encouraging the use of public transport instead of cars with the aim of reducing environmental pollution; The Faculty of Economics and Business continuously monitors and reports on its own ecological footprint; the Department of Physics held a round table on climate change; the University of Rijeka participates in the KLIMOD project as part of a scheme to strengthen applied research for climate change adaptation measures; the Faculty of Maritime Studies is participating in the projects Development of system for control and protection ports from introduction of invasive species and Development of a system of control and protection of ports from the introduction of invasive species – ProtectAS; finally, the students of the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management participated in an afforestation action on Učka mountain in cooperation with the Ecological Society Žmergo, while the staff held a working meeting as part of ZERO WASTE project.



Aware of the threats of climate change, land-based pollution, destruction of coastal ecosystems, invasive species of coastal development, overfishing, bycatch and other negative effects, the Faculty of Civil Engineering and the Department of Physics are implementing the Contract on the analysis of water potential and dynamics of water exchange at the water supply source Učka with Hrvatske Vode.

Through its activities, UNIRI significantly contributes to the protection and sustainable use of oceans, seas, and marine resources. The KLIMOD project, as part of a scheme to increase the implementation of applied research in climate change adaptation measures, includes conducting applied scientific research and developing a computational model of pollution flow and spread in open watercourses and coastal sea areas, with river reception inlets, torrents and industrial and sewage discharges. In addition, it includes the development of an Artificial Intelligence based prediction model of microbiological contamination and the integration of microplastics pollution spread models into the overall model. The computational model is customized for the supercomputer environment, which allows the implementation of high-resolution simulations to implement measures to mitigate the effects of climate change in priority vulnerable and transversal areas. The project has resulted in the following publications:


The Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management is a partner in an international AdriAquaNet project – Enhancing Innovation and Sustainability in Adriatic Aquaculture, which aims to contribute to mitigating the adverse effects on coastal ecosystems, the effect of invasive species on coastal development, overfishing and bycatch, and other adverse effects. Moreover, as part of the CASTWATER project in cooperation with the Institute for Agriculture and Tourism, the Faculty held a workshop titled Sustainable tourism water management in coastal areas. The Faculty also publishes Zero Waste Guidelines for Events and Festivals to reduce pollution and other negative effects of tourism, festivals, and industry events and is also a partner in the ZERO WASTE BLUE – Zero Waste Blue sport events for the territorial development project, together with the City of Opatija, Zadar County Development Agency ZADRA NOVA, Dubrovnik – Neretva County, ERVET Emilia-Romagna Valorizzazione Economica Territorio SpA (Italy), Emilia-Romagna Regione del Veneto (Italy), Veneto Innovazione Spa (Italy), Regione Molise (Italy) and Comune di Ancona (Italy).


Of all SDGs, only SDG14 Life below Water and SDG 15 Life on Land observe the ecosystem from a broader perspective. At a time when biodiversity is a major challenge and life on land is a valuable resource, appropriate efforts must be made to ensure that we preserve it for future generations. As regards this segment, higher education institutions are to take responsibility which implies a broader context than the local environment in which they operate, in terms of contributing to sustainable forest management, combating desertification, stopping land degradation, and protecting biodiversity. Contributing to this goal also means contributing to other, complementary goals, because the ecosystem and biodiversity are the starting point for adaptation to climate change (SDG13). A necessary precondition for life on land is clean water (SDG6) and clean energy (SDG7), while life on land and the aquatic world (SDG14) are interconnected and synergistically contribute to reducing hunger (SDG2) and poverty (SDG1).

Sustainable forest management, combating desertification, stopping and reversing land degradation, and preventing further loss of biodiversity have been identified as indispensable on the road to sustainable development. UNIRI encourages, actively supports, and implements several initiatives to contribute to this goal, including tree planting actions on the University campus and the afforestation action on Učka mountain in cooperation with the Ecological Society Žmergo, the postgraduate doctoral study in Engineering Sciences, in the fields of Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Fundamental Engineering Sciences and Interdisciplinary Engineering Sciences at the Faculty of Engineering, the activities of the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management within the ZeroWaste project, the cooperation between UNIRI and the city of Crikvenica and the contract on conducting a Study on the sustainability of tourism development and carrying capacity with the city of Crikvenica action plan and the participation in the FOST INNO project.



SDG16 and SDG17 are key prerequisites for the realization of all other SDGs. Therefore, strong, inclusive, and efficient institutions, including higher education institutions that provide quality higher education (SDG4), in addition to health (SDG3), an equitable economic policy (SDG8), and environmental protection (SDG13, SDG14, and SDG15), are key to achieving other SDGs.

UNIRI is a strong institution that supports peace and justice and contributes to creating a peaceful, inclusive and just society, which is reflected in all levels of all business aspects under the Statute of the University of Rijeka (Art. 60.) which ensures the representation of all scientific-teaching and artistic-teaching constituents of the University and various fields of science and art. The activities that contribute to this goal include supporting the Student Union of the University of Rijeka and other student associations of all constituents; supporting the University of Rijeka Council as the body concerned with the development of the University and its interaction with the society in which it operates, which discusses and confirms strategic and development decisions of the Senate, monitors the execution of the University’s duties, the legality of its work, the rational use of human and material resources and the implementation of Senate decisions. The Council consists of representatives of university scientists or teachers, students, the Ministry of Science and Education, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, and bodies of local self-government units.

UNIRI was the first university in the Republic of Croatia to sign the Declaration on Accession to the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, thus accepting the initiative of the European Commission, which adopted these documents in 2005 intending to improve employment opportunities, increasing the value of research careers as vital elements of the strategy to stimulate economic growth and employment and establishing the European Research Area. In addition, we were the first to sign the Declaration on Participation in the ‘Human Resources Strategy Group’ of the European Commission.

Promoting the values of peace, dialogue, tolerance, and international solidarity is also reflected in the exhibition titled Culture of Memory and the Spanish Civil War and the online forum The System of Ethics in Science and Higher Education: From Promising Starting Points to Directed Marginalization held as part of the Rijeka Science Festival. The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is actively participating in the Rijeka Healthy City and Healthy Countyinitiative, and respected members of the academic community are involved in all segments of the work of local and regional government (e.g. Faculty of Maritime Studies – Port of Rijeka Authority); various research (Nena Rončević – national Project Manager of the PIAAC – Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, an international OECD project which aims to continuously monitor the development of skills in adulthood and is implemented by the Agency for Vocational and Adult Education; appointed by the Ministry of Science and Education); (Vera Vlahović-Palčevski – Education Officer in ESGAP (ESCMID Study Group for Antimicrobial Stewardship, ESCMID – European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases); The Faculty of Medicine – cooperation with the City of Rijeka regarding translational research in order to find new biomarkers for target therapy to study the following diseases: breast cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, head and neck tumours, lung cancer, gynaecological cancer, urothelial and male reproductive cancers and biosamples as part of the research on miscarriage and induced abortion).

In addition, the Intersectoral Council of the University of Rijeka for interreligious dialogue and diplomacy was established, a collegial body of the Rector which aims to strengthen interreligious cooperation, with an emphasis on increasing international cooperation, social engagement, and social sensitivity. The Council consists of representatives of the University of Rijeka, representatives of religious communities, and diplomats who will encourage interreligious dialogue and international cooperation and raise awareness of community issues that the Council deals with through a series of public events, forums, round tables, and other activities.

Lastly, the University and the Universitas Association held a panel discussion titled How to choose a rector – the needs and possibilities of election review, which emphasizes the importance of the manner of electing the rector, because it is important to have good institutions with good leadership.


In response to the growing demands for universities to be open to society and show their impact on society, thus strengthening the global partnership for sustainable development, UNIRI is a partner in the Steering Higher Education for Community Engagement – SHEFCE project, which is an extension of the TEFCE project. The long-term goal of the SHEFCE project is to contribute to increasing community engagement in European universities, in the form of partnerships with local and regional stakeholders in addressing societal challenges. The specific objective of the project is to build the capacity of universities, policy makers, and stakeholders to include joint engagement in higher education in Europe. As a project partner, the University of Rijeka participated in creating a framework for reflection on current and future work on initiating, promoting, and strengthening the engagement of the HEI in the community. The TEFCE institutional report is available here.

UNIRI nurtures and develops strategic partnerships with companies, especially with JGL in the new study programme Pharmacy and developing an innovation ecosystem between the University of Rijeka and JGL. Moreover, it is working on improving the preconditions for launching collaborative projects, strengthening interdisciplinary research and development centres, and developing integrated institutional support for knowledge transfer, thus contributing to the closely related SDG16 and SDG17.

The Faculty of Dental Medicine is part of the National Commission Dental Medicine, while UNIRI contributed to the implementation of the Mythical Park in cooperation with local governments, and is a partner in the ZERO WASTE BLUE – Zero Waste Blue sports events for territorial development and the Projekt Riviera4Seasons2 projects.

On behalf of UNIRI,  the University of Rijeka Foundation opened applications for the fifth student case study competition Realizator 2020, an example of good practice of connecting the university and the business community, while cooperation with NGOs is reflected in the cooperation with the SMART Association – a workshop was held in 2019 within the Sustainable Development Academy, and in 2020 non-formal education programmes in sustainable development were developed, all within a single activity of the SMART Association.

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences is participating in 2 projects concerning sustainable development; Bojana Ćulum Ilić is the leader of the Croatian Science Foundation project Formal Education in Service of Sustainable Development, while Siniša Kušić is the leader of the UNIRI project Andragogical staff and Adult Education for Sustainable Development (ADOOR).

UNIRI constituents offer the following courses and study programmes related to sustainability: an undergraduate study in Sustainable development management, graduate study in Sustainable tourism development, and postgraduate study in Sustainable development management at the Faculty of Humanities and Hospitality Management; compulsory and elective courses within the undergraduate and graduate study: Environmental physics, General ecology, Waste management, Water management, Ecology of terrestrial systems, Water ecology, Physical modeling of the environment, Marine physics, Geohazards, Instrumental methods in environmental physics, Environmental microbiology, Environmental impact assessment, Environmental Protection, Waste disposal at the Department of Physics.

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