This study by Chunyuan Zhou Henry Etzkowitz invents a Triple Helix of university-public-government for sustainable development, as a complement to the Triple Helix of university-industry-government for innovation. Twinning the two retains the dynamic properties of a tertius gaudens in the framework which addresses environment, resource protection, social change and equality issues. Adding a risk space and raising the “Triple Helix Spaces” concept to the world level are also proposed as a methodology to fulfill related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through joint projects transcending national borders.

A project for collaborative world region development of advanced solar photovoltaics is then suggested as an exemplar. Achieving the UN SDGs requires education institutions, governments, non-government organizations and individuals to commit to collaborations, adopting dynamically interacting triple helices to unite innovative development and sustainable development. Debate over expanding the Triple Helix model has focused on whether the fourth and fifth helix might improve or disrupt the triadic model. Although a four-actor system is far away from satisfaction, an expanded model is required to incorporate the critical issues of reconciling innovative and sustainable development. Harnessed together, the Triple Helix twins provide a framework for SDGs attainment.

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