Social Responsibility and Sustainability

University ranked 36th in the world for SDG impact

The University has been ranked 36th in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

Ranked 36th graphic

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The University of Edinburgh has been ranked in the top four per cent of institutions worldwide.

The University ranked second in Scotland, eighth in the UK, fifth among the Russell Group universities and fourteenth in Europe.

The SDGs where the University was judged to have the most impact were:

  • SDG 1: No Poverty
  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

The University also scored highly for its Partnership approach in working towards the goals (SDG 17), for helping to improve Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16) and for contributing to Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11).

Our score 

Overall score 91.1 out of 100
Overall rank Ranked 36th out of 1,115 universities
Participation

We achieved top quartile scores for 13 out of the 14 SDGs we submitted data for. There are 17 SDGs in total.

Notable SDG rankings
Sustainable Development Goal 1: No poverty

SDG 1: No Poverty

Ranked =33 out of 591 institutions who submitted evidence, with a score of 75.2 out of 100

 

Sustainable development goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Ranked 22 out of 680 institutions,  with a score of 98.7 out of 100

 

Sustainable development goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Ranked 27 out of 503 institutions,  with a score of 82.7 out of 100

2020 score

The University was ranked 30th in 2020 with an overall score of 91.8 out of 100.

While the University's rank and score are slightly lower than last year, our position has improved relative to the number of institutions taking part.

In 2020, 766 universities took part in the rankings, with Edinburgh out-performing 96% of them. In 2021, 1115 universities took part, with Edinburgh out-performing 96.7% of them.

The University of Edinburgh has a clear and bold ambition to address the greatest challenges of our time through our teaching, our operations and our research.  This commitment includes embedding delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the heart of our institutional strategy.  Therefore, we are delighted to see this commitment reflected in our ranking in the top tier of the THE Impact Awards for 2021.  In this crucial year for international negotiations and actions to address the interlinked climate and biodiversity crises, we will continue to grow our momentum and partnerships to deliver positive change for society and the environment, locally and globally.

Professor Sandy TudhopeUniversity Lead on Climate Responsibility and Sustainability

Our impact

The University's research, stewardship, outreach and teaching were assessed, including outputs from 23 of the University's research centres. Here are some examples of our impacts.

Homeless Health project
Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health

SDG 1: No Poverty

The Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health (CHIH) is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and local partners in Scotland to improve the health and wellbeing of people who experience homelessness.

It brings together people with lived experience of homelessness, those working in the NHS, third sector, policy, local government and academia to work together to develop learning, teaching and research to improve the health and wellbeing of people who experience the worst health outcomes in society.

Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Edinburgh Innovations has launched more than 500 startup and spinout companies since 1967. It helps staff and students to take their ideas from concept to real-world impact, and ensures that the commercial potential of new ideas, research and inventions can be fully realised.

Many recent spinout companies are directly progressing the SDGs.

Spinout companies

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

The University will become zero waste by 2030, with policies to reduce plastic use, increase reuse and recycling, and to ensure the food we source keeps food systems within environmental limits while supporting sustainable livelihoods.

Social and Civic Responsibility Report 2019-20: our waste

Related links

THE Impact Rankings 2021: results announced (external link)

University's Social and Civic Responsibility Report 2019-20

COP26 and the University of Edinburgh