Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2019: WUN-universities walk the talk on SDGs

WUN member the University of Auckland tops the pioneering THE ranking 2019 that assesses the social and economic impact of universities based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The rankings show, for the first time, how the global higher education sector is working towards 11 of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include academic freedom policies, efforts towards gender equality and action against climate change. This novel way of evaluating university performance highlights the fundamental role universities have in implementing the SDGs through their teaching, research, operations and leadership.

University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon says he is delighted the University’s work in this area has been acknowledged internationally. “Universities have an important role to play in generating the knowledge and capacity necessary to achieve these [UN] objectives. Correspondingly, they are valuable to universities because they enable us to frame our research, teaching, operations, capacity building, networks and partnerships in a way that enables the contributions we make to be universally recognised and understood.”

The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is proving its value in this arena through its global partnership of 23 partner universities in 12 countries, which brings together global perspectives from six continents to bear on mutual global challenges. WUN’s research agenda is informed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and drives international, interdisciplinary research that extends far beyond the capacities of individual local institutions.

Initiatives that respond to the UN’s call for action are arising throughout our network. In February 2019, the University of Bergen (UiB), organised the second National SDG Conference, a major conference on the role of Norwegian universities in relation to the SDGs. More than 300 delegates, including representatives from other WUN members, took part in the two-day conference, which addressed the inequality of knowledge.

Through international collaboration, WUN will continue to create new knowledge, nurture emerging research talent and ultimately transform the world for the better. In line with its mission and vision, we see WUN well-represented in the new rankings, with no less than eight members in the Top 100 and three members – Auckland, Southampton and Sydney – in the Top 25.
We congratulate the University of Auckland, the University of Southampton, the University of Sydney, the University of York, the University of Bergen (UiB), University College Dublin (UCD), National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) and Tecnológico de Monterrey (TEC) on their top positions in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2019.
This outcome demonstrates that WUN members are committed to accelerating their contributions the SDGs and highlights their strengths in good health and well-being, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, and partnerships for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Professor Peter Lennie, WUN Executive Director, says “The ethos of the SDGs is firmly embedded in the WUN mission, and expressed very clearly in our research priorities, so it is very gratifying to see our members recognized for their strong and broad commitment to serving society.”

Read more about the University Impact Rankings 2019.

View the University Impact Rankings 2019 methodology.