SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive & sustainable industrialization & fostering innovation is the purpose of Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9). This goal strives to build resilient infrastructure, promote responsible industrialization, & enhance research and technology capabilities.

Actions, stories, & resources related to SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals are shared in our latest Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report. They are shared below to illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit

Sustainable Development Goals Logo

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

The United Nations defines infrastructure as roads, information and communication technologies, sanitation, electrical power, and water. Goal 9 aims to build resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and innovative infrastructure. Even basic infrastructure has the potential to spark economic growth, social development, and climate action.

Auburn University is moderately engaged with Goal 9 across many categories of teaching, outreach, and research, with no less than 38 courses offered between 2019 and 2021. Auburn University engaged with SDG 9 most frequently through its teaching activities. One of Auburn University’s goals included in the 2019-2024 strategic plan describes Auburn University’s intent to provide “practical and innovative solutions to social, economic and environmental issues.” Innovative infrastructure can deliver on all three of those fronts – society, economy, and environment – to achieve both Auburn University’s goals while contributing to achieving Goal 9.

View our most recent Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report  for an overview of Auburn’s contributions to all the SDGs.

Actions at Auburn

The College of Architecture, Design, and Construction’s Environmental Design (ENVD) program focuses on the interconnected nature of all design and construction disciplines. Many courses provide students with the opportunity to initiate and complete a project focusing on community engagement and utilizing integration of research and collaborative methods. Students have the opportunity to enhance their education with skills in design and design thinking that foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Students who acquire an ENVD degree are adaptable in the real world, possess the ability to approach issues from many different angles, and offer innovative, constructive, and effective human-centric problem-solving methods in the built environment.

Environmental Design Student by poster sdg Photo courtesy of Magdalena Garmez
Logo for U.S. Green Building Council

The United States Green Building Council Auburn University Chapter (USGBC) is a student organization that seeks to provide students a platform to explore and promote sustainable building practices. Students are also able to obtain LEED accreditation through the chapter and participate in monthly service projects. The USGBC AU Chapter is an interdisciplinary organization, as all degree seeking students are encouraged to join and contribute their perspective on designing, building, and operating more sustainable buildings. This coalition of students is committed to the development of buildings that are more environmentally and socially responsible, and healthier for all people, making this level of performance standard practice for buildings everywhere.

The purpose of the Auburn University chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is to work with communities in developing countries to promote sustainable solutions to practical problems. EWB aims to build a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. EWB offers students hands-on learning experiences in conjunction with opportunities for service. While EWB conducts engineering projects, the organization is open to students of all majors. EWB teams work in Alabama, Bolivia, and Rwanda, developing sustainable solutions locally and globally.

Students in Engineers Without Borders with kids: Photo courtesy of Engineers Without Borders - Auburn University

The Center for Construction Innovation and Collaboration (CCIC) at Auburn University provides quality research across the built environment from an interdisciplinary perspective. The CCIC’s mission statement is to focus on “innovative approaches to construction-related problems and processes, including those involving construction education, while maintaining core values centered on sustainability and impact on built environments.” The center strives to promote academic excellence and facilitate a collaborative process to form strong relationships with students, industry, product manufacturers, and other academic institutions through innovations in construction products and processes.

Logo for the Center for Construction Innovation and Collaboration
House in rural studio

Associate Professor Rusty Smith of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction is the Associate Director of Rural Studio with research in both project-based teaching and learning as well as in equitable housing access and the design and construction of community-oriented infrastructure. By studying the intersections of housing affordability and socioeconomics, Professor Smith is able to examine poverty origins relative to housing, income, energy, food, health, and education resources. Over the past three decades, Rural Studio had evolved to include the planning, design, and construction of community projects; the development of more equitable, affordable, and accessible high-performance homes; and a comprehensive approach to addressing the low-wealth stressors that are unique to persistently impoverished rural communities.

College of Engineering’s NCAT is focused on evaluating and developing new technologies that make roads smoother, quieter, safer, longer lasting, and more economical. NCAT’s research centerpiece is a high-speed, full-scale accelerated asphalt pavement testing facility. NCAT’s research findings are used to improve materials, tests, specifications, and design policies. Agencies use this research to preserve their roadway networks and maximize their budgets. NCAT is committed to its mission of providing innovative, relevant, implementable research, technology development, and education that advances safe and economically sustainable asphalt pavements.

People laying asphalt SDG 9 Photo courtesy of National Center for Asphalt Technology

People & Stories

Research: Auburn University’s STARS Assessment

| SDG16, SDG9, STARS | No Comments
By Randy MartinAs we face a future that hasn’t looked like our past, research will play a key role in helping us chart our course. The work of researchers has already alerted us to our current woes, such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Going forward, it is essential that…

Director’s corner: Green Certified Buildings Are Good For You!

| Director's Corner, SDG11, SDG3, SDG9, Updates | No Comments
“We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.”  Winston Churchill  The M. Miller Gorrie Center received LEED certification in 2008. Photo credit: Jen Morse. Modern humans in modern surroundings spend almost all of their time indoors.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), North Americans, on average, spend…

Transportation Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG11, SDG12, SDG13, SDG3, SDG9, STARS, Updates | No Comments
by Randy Martin, Office of Sustainability If you have seen the dark smoke billow out of the exhaust of a tractor-trailer or have had your windows down behind an older vehicle that coughs its way forward, you’ve seen firsthand the pollution that a single vehicle can produce. Now imagine all of…

Transit-Oriented Development: Moving Southerners Around

| Guest Posts, SDG11, SDG9, Updates | No Comments
by Max Garcia, Sustainability Auburn Alumni Affiliate  I am a land use planner working and residing in St. Augustine, Florida that graduated from Auburn University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design. I have fond memories of Tiger Transit on Auburn’s campus, especially when a car was not…

HR Connection

| Guest Posts, SDG8, SDG9, Updates | No Comments
by Patrick Johnston, Human Resources  Need a ride to HR? Try Tiger Transit. Did you know that AU Human Resources is located inside the East Glenn Administrative Complex – just two miles east of campus? This year, we are on pace to have over 3,000 in-person visitors. Many of them are…

Explore the SDGs & AU