Sustainable Development Goal 9

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Social equality and economic prosperity depend on investments in infrastructure. But even basic services such as electricity, sanitation, and water remain out of reach for billions of people, creating barriers to the industrial and technological progress that drive developing country success. Building sustainable resource value chains will require the freedom to innovate that only robust infrastructure can provide.

UNU focuses on strengthening development linkages that catalyse innovation, foster equal resource benefits, and build resilient urban systems. Our research at the roots of industrial production charts policy options to help transform resource extraction sectors into engines of sustainable economic growth. Our work in cities is helping to ensure that rapid urban expansion can mitigate risks from climate change, and provide safe housing and a secure network of services for all.


Leticia dos Muchangos

Leticia dos Muchangos


"Many African countries have made tremendous economic progress in recent years, but only a few have managed to achieve inclusive growth. Mozambique, where my work is concentrated, is not among those. Through my research at UNU, I want to find ways to ensure that disadvantaged groups can benefit fully from economic growth."

Simone Sandholz

Simone Sandholz


"Critical infrastructure — like electricity, telecommunications, transportation, and water supply — plays a key role in determining a society’s vulnerability to natural hazards. I’m passionate about helping communities rebound quickly after natural hazards strike. My research at UNU aims to determine what levels of these critical services societies need to survive and thrive in the aftermath of natural hazards – based on population and demographics."

Carlo Pietrobelli

Carlo Pietrobelli


"Industry is an essential driver of sustainable development. But in developing economies, firms need more innovation and stronger technological capabilities. My research at UNU strives to promote these firms’ efforts to benefit from global value chains, and to boost innovation in developing countries."


Industry in Africa has declined well below the level needed for rapid structural change, and foreign investment is overwhelmingly in oil, gas, and minerals. This project focuses on three drivers — exports, capabilities, and clusters — that together determine the global pattern of industrial investment.​

To survive and thrive, society needs basic services such as electricity, transportation, water, health care, and telecommunications. But these services are often unavailable after disaster strikes. To better inform disaster preparedness plans, this project determines what levels of critical services societies need to survive in the aftermath of natural hazards.

Natural resource wealth needs to be carefully managed if inclusive growth is to be achieved in low- and middle-income countries. This project focuses on the implications of natural resources and their management for economic development, aiming to find ways in which resource wealth can be managed successfully in developing countries.