April 23, 2020 @ 11:13 by Richard Dawson
Newcastle University has been ranked 11th in the world for its impact on society and leadership in sustainability.
The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings published yesterday (April 22) show that Newcastle placed 11th out of 766 universities globally, improving on its position of 23rd in last year’s rankings.
The recognition represents a significant milestone in the university’s work towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs are the shared global blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet and comprise 17 different goals, each of which are aimed at making the world a better place.
Under SDG 11 ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’, Newcastle was ranked sixth in the world in recognition of the impact of its research into sustainability, support for the culture, arts and heritage sectors and sustainable practices.
The university also ranked eighth in the world under SDG 12 ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, thanks to a number of initiatives on things like ethical sourcing of food and supplies, waste disposal and efforts to minimise use of plastics.
Other areas where Newcastle ranked highly were SDG 17 ‘Partnerships for the Goals’, SDG 9 ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’ and SDG 7 ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’.
The news follows Newcastle University’s decision to join a number of organisations in the UK in declaring a climate emergency, as well as a university-wide commitment to embed the United Nations’ SDGs into university activity.
Professor Julie Sanders, deputy vice-chancellor at Newcastle University, said: “I am immensely proud of the massive University-wide effort and commitment to issues of social and climate justice that this Times Higher Education placing recognises.
“It is especially pleasing to be positioned so highly in the Sustainable Cities and Communities category as this reflects outstanding work, in our research and in work with our students and with partners, in areas such as health and wellbeing, cities and place, and culture and creative arts.
“The UN SDGs will be central to the ways in which all universities will strive to address the worldwide ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is terrific that Newcastle University can and will make a global contribution in this way.”
The University’s commitment to sustainable development encompasses action across education, research and stewardship, including work which has recently seen it divest all endowment funds from companies making revenue from fossil fuel extraction.
The Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings capture universities’ impact on society, based on institutions’ success in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.