According to the recently released Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2020 report, New Zealand universities are leading in areas of research, outreach and stewardship. While the University of Auckland has retained its number one rank for international sustainability rankings, Lincoln University ranked ninth out of 290 institutions against United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Victoria University of Wellington featured in the top 50.
Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2020 measures 850 institutions from 89 countries worldwide on their contribution to the 17 United Nations (UN) Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), which cover areas such as health and wellbeing, reducing inequality, climate action, clean energy, protecting ecosystems, and peace and justice.
University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dawn Freshwater said that she was very proud of the result, which she says reflects the world-class outcomes achieved by staff of the University of Auckland.
“The Impact Rankings’ focus on sustainability has become even more relevant as we consider what a post-Covid world might look like, and how this enforced ‘pause’ might be used as an opportunity to reshape economies in more sustainable ways,” she said.
Focus on the challenges facing food production landed Lincoln University in the top 10 global ranking in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. Lincoln ranked ninth out of 290 institutions against SDG 2, zero hunger, scoring highly for research and graduates in agriculture.
Lincoln University’s research centres focus on areas such as sustainability and land use for food production, as well as food innovation and international development. Lincoln also has strong relationships and collaborations with community groups, indigenous organisations and agri-businesses. Acting Vice-Chancellor, Lincoln University, Professor Bruce McKenzie, said, “The rankings reflected Lincoln’s land-based specialisation, and commitment to the area in research and teaching, and around campus, through sustainable projects such as installing a solar array.”
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand’s university based in the capital city has showcased its leadership in the area of sustainability; which have resulted in its ranking among the top 40 universities in the world for the social impact of universities. The University is not only ranked 36th overall but is also among the top 10 Australasian universities. In addition, it is also the 11th among participating universities for its contribution to and performance towards achieving two of the SDGs, covering Affordable and Clean Energy, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University Wellington, Professor Grant Guilford says the results reflect the University’s commitment to sustainability and making a positive social impact through its research, teaching and knowledge transfer. Andrew Wilks, the University’s Director of Sustainability, says: “We have been championing a sustainable future for many years through our teaching, research, community engagement and operations. The THE impact ranking has captured some of our contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals and highlighted the global leadership demonstrated by New Zealand universities.”
The global ranking was launched in 2019 to measure the broader impact of universities. It highlights the work being delivered by universities within their communities, demonstrating the differences they can make to the world against measures such as providing inclusive and equitable quality education, achieving gender equality, and championing environmental sustainability. Universities are assessed against each of the 17 SDGs, which were adopted by the UN in 2016 to provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way.