Tackling global issues: University of Reading performs strongly in THE Global Impact Rankings
Release Date 21 April 2021
The University of Reading has achieved a strong ranking in its first appearance in the Times Higher Education Global Impact Rankings.
Reading ranked 101-200 out of 1,115 institutions in the world who took part, and 21 among UK universities, with an overall score of 84.5. Reading also ranked in the top 30 in three categories.
The annual THE Global Impact Rankings, now in their third year, scores higher education institutions on their work towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs call for action to tackle global issues including poverty, inequality, and environmental threats such as climate change.
Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “This strong ranking reflects the research strengths and partnerships that we have built over many decades. It is proof of our commitment to engaging with the community, and our active approach to developing policies and procedures to support all students and staff, as well as adopting innovative practices to ensure our campuses lead the way on sustainability.
“As encouraging as this ranking is, we must not lose sight of the overall objective of the goals, which is to tackle problems faced by people all over the world. Our work does not stop here. We will continue to not only help improve the world’s understanding of global issues but to do something about them.”
Reading used its submission to highlight key areas of impactful research and institutional work on sustainability, including partnerships with the United Nations on climate change, the UK government on humanitarian aid, and local groups in Reading to support education and inequality.
Although institutions could submit evidence for as few as four SDGs, including the mandatory SDG17 on partnerships to support the SDGs, the University of Reading submitted evidence in all 17, reflecting Reading’s excellence and strength in depth across all areas of sustainability, and to provide a baseline marker to highlight areas to improve.
The overall score is calculated using the three highest-scoring sections, plus the mandatory SDG17.
Reading performed particularly well in three SDGs: SDG8 Decent Work and Economic Growth (ranked 21 out of 685), SDG10 Reducing Inequalities (ranked joint 28 out of 669), and SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production (joint 13 out of 503). These reflect success in offering secure contracts to employees, providing equal opportunities for students from all backgrounds, and efforts to make its campuses more sustainable.
The University also ranked strongly in SDG3 Zero Hunger (joint 34 out of 442), and in SDG13 Climate Action where it ranked 91 out of 566 institutions participating in the world, and 15 out of 33 in the UK.
The total of 1,115 institutions that participated in the 2021 rankings was 248 more than in 2020, with 43 institutions from the UK and Ireland taking part last year.
To continue its mission to support excellence, sustainability, community-focused and engaged university, the University of Reading will seek to improve its institutional-level partnerships, to build on the strong relationships held by individual departments and staff, as well as publicly sharing more information on action being taken against individual SDGs.
Reading is also planning further measures to strengthen its institutional support for the SDGs.
The University will also seek to sign the SDG Accord and commit to its associated actions. These include committing to do more to deliver the goals, reporting annually on progress, and sharing information with other institutions, both nationally and internationally.
Professor Mark Fellowes, Chair of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Committee, said: “Taking part in the THE Impact Rankings for the first time this year has confirmed that we are committed to taking action on sustainability, particularly in our impactful and excellent research, and shown us the areas where we can make improvements as an institution.
“In many areas, our work is just beginning. We are putting plans in place to bolster our commitments to supporting the UN’s sustainable development goals, to create a positive future for ourselves and future generations.”
- Look out for the University’s #PlanetPartners campaign highlighting how Reading forges global links to help sustain societies worldwide. See previous #PlanetPartners stories >>>