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Sustainable Impact Program: Teaching and Research Projects

The ZHAW supports its employees in achieving the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by co-funding research and teaching projects with grants.

With the second pillar, the SIP supports teaching and research projects at the ZHAW that contribute to raising awareness of the SDGs and their achievement. The projects can relate to education, research, knowledge transfer and services for the region or the ZHAW in the field of sustainable development - in the sense of a Real-Lab. As a rule, independent projects are given priority over preliminary projects in preparation for other project applications.

The call for projects takes place on a rolling basis. Successfully applied projects will be funded for a period of at least 12 months, preferably within one calendar year. Teaching projects will be funded up to CHF 15,000 and research projects up to CHF 30,000. The participating ZHAW Schools are expected to contribute at least 20 percent of the project’s total budget (i.e. the maximum SIP funding plus the School’s contribution) in order to anchor the culture of sustainable development in the individual Schools as well. At the end of the project, a report on the use of the funds and a contribution to the ZHAW sustainable blog will be required.

Submission deadlines 2023

Applications for new projects can be submitted until the following three submission deadlines:

  • 01.03. (funding decision will be made on 06.04.)
  • 14.06. (funding decision will be made on 14.09.)
  • 25.09. (funding decision will be made on 02.11.)

Which projects will be considered?

Teaching and research projects in the field of sustainable development that support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, the 17 SDGs or the ZHAW sustainability strategy will be considered. Other projects by ZHAW employees may also be accepted, provided that a scientific method is used in the implementation of the project (formulation of a hypothesis, methodological testing of the hypothesis, report, etc.). As a rule, independent projects are given priority over preliminary projects in preparation for other project applications.

Direct cooperation between staff and students is also possible, e.g. in the further continuation of a student research project or a thesis (which was also already supported by SIP Pillar I).

The funded projects are divided into three categories corresponding to the three dimensions of sustainable development: ecological, social, and economic. The projects are evaluated on the basis of the evaluation criteria below. The funded projects should be evenly distributed among the three categories with their core topics.

SIP projects can also benefit from collaboration with the Zurich Knowledge Center for Sustainable Development (ZKSD), a research-oriented cooperation platform for sustainable development between Zurich's cantonal universities. The ZKSD offers a networking venue for inter- and transdisciplinary networking and exchange as well as coworking spaces. For more information, please contact

Evaluation criteria

  • Impact for sustainable development: Potential of the project to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and possibly to contribute to the promotion of a culture of sustainability at the ZHAW.
  • Innovation: Novelty, originality, and scalability of the project in its own context.
  • Interdisciplinarity: Exchange, inclusion of or collaboration with representatives of other ZHAW Schools or universities, civil society, the private or public sector.
  • Diversity: Consideration of and reflection on diversity aspects in relation to project participants and target groups, e.g. recognition of different cultures, awareness of unconscious bias, existence of access privileges for the project, inclusion of intergenerational or gender perspectives.
  • Visibility: Dissemination and communication of the application (e.g. advertising, media, reports, and if relevant publications and knowledge transfer) internally and externally through channels relevant to the target groups.
  • Feasibility and efficiency: Feasibility of the project (project management) and management of the budget (use of funds).

Evaluation process

  1. The ZHAW sustainable team collects applications through project calls and then formally preselects projects according to the evaluation criteria. The exclusion criteria include: Lack of clear link to sustainability, absence of clear link between funding request and project design (no general start-up funding is granted), over-similarity with already funded SIP project (no repetitions), non-transparency or hard to follow budget plan. Support for entrepreneurial/start-up projects is offered through Impact Entrepreneurship (SIP Pillar III).
  2. The SIP Board evaluates the approved projects, draws up a ranking list and selects which projects are to be supported. If necessary or requested, the SIP Board can call in further experts from science, industry, or civil society for the evaluation.
  3. The ZHAW Sustainable Development Committee, as a microcosm of all the ZHAW, reviews and approves the final selection of projects to be supported.

For further questions on the application procedure, please contact Feedback and guidance on the content of the application is also possible.

Need some inspiration?

Be inspired by the teaching projects and research projects funded by the SIP so far.

Contact persons