A UN think tank leveraging collective intelligence and digital technologies for sustainable development


The United Nations University Institute in Macau (UNU Macau) is a United Nations (UN) global think tank conducting research and training on digital technologies for sustainable development, encouraging data-driven and evidence-based actions and policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Part of the UN family, and being one of the 13 institutes of the United Nations University (UNU), UNU Macau works collaboratively to explore how digital technologies can be leveraged for sustainable development, addressing key issues expressed in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

The Institute, which remains a neutral body within the UN system and exercises its academic freedom to bring forward research evidence for decision-making, collaborates with diverse local and global partners to co-design research agendas on digital technologies for sustainability. It disseminates research outcomes through capacity development, with a focus on the Global South, to strengthen the research-policy-practice nexus.  

Research and Training

Through its multidisciplinary research team, the Institute examines the role of digital technologies in addressing global issues from a systems thinking perspective, supported by a participatory approach. This enables a holistic understanding of issues, in which diverse voices and experiences are included. 

UNU Macau and its team of experienced researchers and professors also offer a variety of training programmes that will continue to be updated as new issues and technologies emerge. Our current training offer includes a variety of courses under themes including “Smart usage of digital technologies for SDGs”; “Data for a sustainable digital future”; “Ethics of AI”; “Modelling for policy making & Computational Behavioural Science”; and “Digital behaviour and wellbeing”.  

UNU Macau strives to: 

  • Be a global leader in policy-relevant research on Information and Communication Technologies for Development; 
  • Apply high ethical standards for its research and capacity development for the Global South in line with UN principles; 
  • Be a trusted partner with academic rigour, creating local and international impact;
  • Become a go-to think tank for the UN system and Member States to support evidence-based decision-making on global pressing issues related to digital technologies; 
  • Be a credible network energizer, bringing together the UN system, Member States, academia, private sector, and civil society, to co-create research and capacity development solutions on human-centred digital technologies. 


Where We Are 

UNU Macau is located in Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), China, and it is the only UN entity in the city. Our office is in Casa Silva Mendes, a heritage building built in 1905, which once belonged to Manuel da Silva Mendes, a renowned writer and art collector. 

While Macao is well-known for its gaming industry, it is one of the most dynamic regions in Asia, where technological innovations have become an integral part in driving social and economic development. A large ecosystem of private sector companies and technological start-ups are just a short distance away. Macao’s proximity to Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR and Asian countries such as Japan, Korea or Vietnam, provides an exciting opportunity for researchers and experts to maximize the impact of their work in the world’s fastest-growing region. 

UNU began its presence in Macao in 1992 with the establishment of the United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST), supported by the authorities of the People’s Republic of China, Portugal and Macao.