Ranked By Sustainability

New ranking system assesses how well universities meet the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Ranked By Sustainability

McMaster University’s main campus in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION (THE) has published its first University Impact Rankings, which assess universities’ performance against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The main ranking includes 462 institutions from 76 countries, while the full ranking includes 551 institutions from 80 countries. To be included in the ranking, universities had to actively volunteer and share an extensive range of data.

Schools in THE’s top ten include the University of Auckland in New Zealand, McMaster University in Canada, the University of British Columbia in Canada, the University of Manchester in the U.K., King’s College London in the U.K., the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, the University of Montreal in Canada, the University of Bologna in Italy, and the University of Hong Kong.

Data on 11 of the 17 SDGs were collected from universities and Elsevier, and the metrics for the rankings were developed in partnership with the consultancy firm Vertigo Ventures. Eleven tables show how individual universities perform on those specific SDGs. For instance, the University of Auckland scored high on SDGs such as health and well-being, partnerships, and gender equality.

According to Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at THE, universities’ enthusiastic response to the impact rankings shows that schools are seeking another way to define excellence. He adds, “This new exercise puts all universities on a level playing field, as reflected in the results, which include all types of institutions from big-name research powerhouses to local institutions in developing countries.”

View the results.