Aligning community outreach initiatives with SDGs in a higher education institution with artificial intelligence

Elsevier, Cleaner and Responsible Consumption, Volume 12, March 2024
Borsatto J.M.L.S., Marcolin C.B., Abdalla E.C., Amaral F.D.

Purpose: Considering the role of community outreach of a Higher Education Institution (HEI) in promoting sustainable regional development, based on the objectives of the UN 2030 Agenda, the present study aims to verify, with the usage of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool, the alignment of community outreach actions of an HEI to the SDGs and identify its actions with the greatest impact. Design/methodology/approach: The study is descriptive through a case study at a university in Brazil. Documentary analysis was carried out using data on more than 15,000 community outreach projects developed from 2009 to 2022, using natural language processing (NLP). In addition to the descriptive aspects, combining NLP with statistical techniques allowed us to discuss the alignment between community outreach projects and the SDGs from a longitudinal perspective. Findings: The results demonstrated that the main SDGs in community outreach actions are SDG 17: Partnerships and Means of Implementation; SDG 4: Quality Education; SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production and SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. These results are prominent because community outreach aims to establish a dialogical relationship between society and the university, conceiving the exchange of knowledge based on the actions developed and sharing knowledge with those involved in community extension. Originality: The use of AI technologies to identify and monitor data on community outreach actions in HEI towards the SDGs, and to propose ways to share this information with internal and external stakeholders of the institution.