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Top universities in the world for global impact 2023

Explore the top 100 universities making a global impact in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 

    June 1 2023
    Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings.


    From the crisis of plastic in the oceans to gender disparities in pay, the world’s biggest concerns are more and more in the minds of consumers and corporations. And no one understands the importance of tackling these better than universities and students.

    But which universities are incorporating these global issues into their governance? And how can we measure the real impact that universities are making on their students and wider communities?

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    Times Higher Education has put together the Impact Rankings to shine a light on those institutions that are working hard to tackle global issues such as gender inequality, quality education for all, climate change and achieving peaceful societies and economic growth. 

    To put together the rankings, we mapped how universities around the world are committing to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a global call to action to tackle poverty, climate change and inequality.

    Universities were invited to submit data on how they were progressing on the SDGs. More than 1,500 universities submitted data this year across the SDGs. You can read more about the methodology here.

    This ranking is a crucial resource for students choosing universities because it moves away from assessing universities on their research output and focuses instead on the impact that universities are having on some of the world’s most pressing issues. 

    Top five universities in the Impact Rankings 2023

    1. Western Sydney University

    Western Sydney University tops the ranking for the second year running. 

    The university scored particularly highly for SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) and SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals). 

    The university has prioritised research in areas relating to SDG 4 (quality education), SDGs 13,14 and 15 (relating to environment and sustainability), SDG 3 (good health and well-being) and SDGs 11 and 12 (sustainable cities and communities, and responsible consumption and production). 

    A series of key initiatives have also been introduced on campus to increase its sustainability, including implementing a pilot solar-powered car park on the Kingswood Campus, offsetting the carbon footprint of international travel and installing more electric-vehicle charging stations on campus. 

    2. University of Manchester

    The University of Manchester moves up this year from number nine to take the second place. 

    The UK university has demonstrated its commitment to the SDGs through a range of research institutes and centres, including the Manchester Environmental Research Institute, the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research and the Sustainable Consumption Institute, among others. 

    On campus, the university has implemented the Living Campus plan, which aims to address the challenges of growing an urban campus while encouraging the local biodiversity. The Student Union has also set a target for the university to become plastic-free by 2025. 

    3. Queen’s University

    Queen’s University scored particularly highly for SDG 2 (zero hunger) and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).

    The university has created Sustainable Queen’s, a community that brings together university and local partners to tackle climate change and promote sustainability in Kingston. 

    There are a range of ways for students to get involved including student clubs, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth, and a range of academic programmes centred around sustainability and climate action. 

    Research institutes at the university are looking into a range of sustainable solutions in many areas including finance, water and energy. 

    Top universities for tackling gender equality
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    Best universities for reducing inequalities

    4. Universiti Sains Malaysia

    Universiti Sains Malaysia is the only university in Asia to feature in the top 10 of the Impact Rankings. 

    It also scored highly in SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and joint first for SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals). 

    The university has introduced a range of sustainable initiatives on campus including an undergraduate minor in sustainability and a postgraduate research programme as part of the Centre for Global Sustainability Studies. 

    5. University of Tasmania

    The University of Tasmania is the second university from Australia to feature in the top five of the 2023 Impact Ranking. 

    It also takes first place for SDG 13 (climate action).

    The university has been carbon neutral-certified since 2016. There is also a Sustainability Committee made up of senior leadership and student representatives at the university. The committee aims to identify and share actions that embed sustainability into university life. 

    There is also a range of green initiatives on campus such as the waste-minimisation action plan and the sustainable transport plan. 

    Impact Ranking 2023: Top 100 

    Impact Rank 2023 University Country/region
    1 Western Sydney University Australia
    2 University of Manchester United Kingdom
    3 Queen’s University Canada
    4 Universiti Sains Malaysia Malaysia
    5 University of Tasmania Australia
    6 Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
    =7 University of Alberta Canada
    =7 RMIT University Australia
    =9 Aalborg University Denmark
    =9 University of Victoria Canada
    =9 Western University Canada
    12 University of Auckland New Zealand
    13 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
    =14 Université Laval Canada
    =14 University of Technology Sydney Australia
    =14 Yonsei University (Seoul campus) South Korea
    17 Chulalongkorn University Thailand
    =18 University of Exeter United Kingdom
    =18 UNSW Sydney Australia
    20 University of Indonesia Indonesia
    21 Monash University Australia
    22 Hokkaido University Japan
    23 University of Bologna Italy
    =24 National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Taiwan
    =24 Newcastle University United Kingdom
    =26 University of British Columbia Canada
    =26 Michigan State University United States
    28 University of Newcastle Australia
    =29 Bournemouth University United Kingdom
    =29 University of Coimbra Portugal
    =29 University of the Sunshine Coast Australia
    32 National Autonomous University of Mexico Mexico
    33 McMaster University Canada
    =34 University of Calgary Canada
    =34 University of Galway Ireland
    =36 University of East Anglia United Kingdom
    =36 University of Strathclyde United Kingdom
    38 Mahidol University Thailand
    39 Macquarie University Australia
    =40 Penn State (Main campus) United States
    =40 York University Canada
    =42 Kyung Hee University South Korea
    =42 Kyungpook National University South Korea
    =42 University of Montreal Canada
    =42 University of Sheffield United Kingdom
    =46 University of Johannesburg South Africa
    =46 KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden
    =46 University of Surrey United Kingdom
    =49 Kyoto University Japan
    =49 University of Leicester United Kingdom
    =49 University of Sussex United Kingdom
    =52 Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham India
    =52 Cardiff University United Kingdom
    =52 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
    55 University of Waterloo Canada
    56 University of Essex United Kingdom
    57 La Trobe University Australia
    =58 Istanbul Technical University Turkey
    =58 University College Cork Ireland
    =58 Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand
    =61 University of Reading United Kingdom
    =61 University of Wollongong Australia
    63 University of Otago New Zealand
    =64 Auckland University of Technology New Zealand
    =64 Bangor University United Kingdom
    66 Manchester Metropolitan University United Kingdom
    =67 National Taiwan University (NTU) Taiwan
    =67 University of Saskatchewan Canada
    69 University of Pretoria South Africa
    70 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
    71 Dublin City University Ireland
    =72 Griffith University Australia
    =72 Oklahoma State University United States
    =74 Brunel University London United Kingdom
    =74 Central Queensland University Australia
    =74 Chiang Mai University Thailand
    =77 University of Canterbury New Zealand
    =77 Durham University United Kingdom
    =79 Charles Sturt University Australia
    =79 University of Guelph Canada
    =79 University of Liverpool United Kingdom
    =79 Northumbria University United Kingdom
    =83 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
    =83 National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University Taiwan
    85 Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
    =86 University of Greenwich United Kingdom
    =86 University of Limerick Ireland
    =86 Massey University New Zealand
    =86 Nottingham Trent University United Kingdom
    =86 Simon Fraser University Canada
    91 Politecnico di Milano Italy
    =92 University of Canberra Australia
    =92 Monterrey Institute of Technology Mexico
    =92 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University United States
    =92 University of Waikato New Zealand
    96 Iowa State University United States
    =97 Khon Kaen University Thailand
    =97 Shanghai University China
    99 University of Toronto Canada
    =100 Dalhousie University Canada
    =100 Florida International University United States
    =100 University of Plymouth United Kingdom

    View the full Impact Ranking here 

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