Insights on the HEI sector working towards sustainable development

Results of the pilot Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings – in which more than 500 universities around the world participated – will be announced on Wednesday 3rd April 2019 at 3pm GMT at the THE Innovation & Impact Summit at Daejeon, South Korea. Vertigo Ventures’ (VV) CEO and founder, Laura Tucker, will be joining THE leadership and data scientists to present a guide to the full framework and metrics chosen for the University Impact Rankings, as well as, sharing the full results of the new rankings, insights on key trends and exploring the conditions that support strong impact.

VV are working as chief advisors to THE on the University Impact Rankings which aims to measure institutions’ success in delivering the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We see the Impact Ranking a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and showcase the excellent work institutions undertake and the range of ways in which they contribute to local, national and global societies and economies. We have aimed to be as inclusive as possible, keeping the broadest participation criteria and opening this to any higher education institution in the world. As a result, THE has received data submissions from 560 universities around the globe with a very broad representation of countries.

In addition to working on the THE University Impact Rankings 2019, over the last few months, the VV team analysed THE World University Rankings 2019 top 100 higher education institutions (HEIs) in terms of their operational footprint as well as the sustainability impact of their teaching and research. Taking the 17 SDGs as a benchmark, our report, titled Insights into the Global Top 100 HEIs Practices in Achieving the UN SDGs, analysed publicly available data from the 100 institutions covering how they manage a variety of sustainability issues such as, policies in alignment with SDGs, governance, and curriculum development in alignment with SDGs.

Our key findings include:

  • Only 9 of the top 100 HEIs have incorporated all 17 SDGs into their operating philosophy and practice, and just 3 HEIs incorporate all 17 SDGs into their curriculum development;
  • HEIs across the world are paying more attention to their own energy requirements, reducing energy consumption and increasing the use of renewable energy more than any other sustainability aspects;
  • Less than half of the THE World University Rankings Top 100 HEIs have published sustainability report in the last three years; and
  • On SDGs in curricula, only 43 HEIs have implemented education for SDGs into one or more courses offered in undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

To read the full report please click here.


Over the week, we will be tweeting live from THE Innovation & Impact Summit at Daejeon, South Korea. Follow us on twitter for insights and updates on THE University Impact Rankings 2019.

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