Four UK universities make it into top 20 in global university sustainable impact ranking


FOUR UK universities reached top scores in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings that compared how higher education institutions across the world have performed in terms of social and environmental impact.

The Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on the local, national and international impact of the University’s education, research, operations and public engagement activity.

The Overall Ranking listing compares universities around the globe across three broad areas: research, outreach and stewardship.

Manchester University scored the highest in the UK, placing 8th globally with an overall score of 95.6.

The University’s three top contributing SDGs were Partnerships for the Goals (SDG17), Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG9), and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16).

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility, commented on the news: “It’s really pleasing that we’ve maintained our position as the top university in the UK for social and environmental impact, despite more universities than ever entering the ranking.

“The SDGs were developed to combat some of the most pressing challenges facing the world and its population.

“These rankings put us at the forefront of finding solutions to remedy these problems – be that climate change, poverty or contemporary challenges such as COVID-19.”

King’s College London followed right behind with a global ranking of 9th and an overall score of 95.4.

The College’s top three contributing SDGs were Partnerships for the Goals (SDG17), Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG11) and Good Health and Well-Being (SDG3).

Leeds placed joint third in the UK and 11th globally with Newcastle University, with an overall score of 94.1 respectively.

Top three contributing SDGs for Leeds University were Partnerships for the Goals (SDG17), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG12) and No Poverty (SDG1).

Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University, Sir Alan Langlands, commented on the news: “I am proud that the University of Leeds has been recognised as contributing in such a profound way to the vital challenges encapsulated in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Achieving 11th place in the global rankings is a truly remarkable achievement; and is testament to the commitment, creativity and sheer hard work of our staff and students in every aspect of sustainability.”

Top three contributing SDGs for Newcastle’s placement were Partnerships for the Goals (SDG17), Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG9) and Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG11).

Professor Julie Sanders, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Newcastle University, commented: “I am immensely proud of the massive University-wide effort and commitment to issues of social and climate justice that this THE placing recognises.

“The UN SDGs will be central to the ways in which all universities will strive to address the worldwide ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is terrific that Newcastle University can and will make a global contribution in this way.”

Times Higher Education Impact Ranking 2020 included 766 universities from 85 countries, with Japan the most-represented nation in the table with 63 institutions, followed by Russia with 47 and Turkey with 37.

The global first place was achieved by New Zealand’s University of Auckland, while three Australian universities formed the top four: University of Sydney, Western Sydney University and La Trobe University.