The 2024 University Impact Rankings, spearheaded by Times Higher Education, provided an overview of how universities worldwide are contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This analysis evaluates how these institutions integrate sustainability into their operations, highlighting their efforts in research, outreach, stewardship, and teaching.

What are the University Impact Rankings?

These rankings assess the effectiveness of universities in addressing the 17 SDGs, which include critical global initiatives such as combating climate change, promoting gender equality, and ensuring access to quality education. The methodology involves a comprehensive evaluation across various areas including research impact, outreach initiatives, and stewardship. This makes the rankings a unique tool to measure institutional commitment to addressing global challenges.

2024 Ranking Highlights

Leading the charge in the 2024 rankings is Western Sydney University, due to its exceptional contributions to SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), a distinction shared by several top Australian universities. This leadership is largely attributed to their comprehensive approach to water management research, practical initiatives in water conservation and reuse, and strong community and industry collaborations. These universities partner with local water businesses and engage in community-driven projects, significantly enhancing the effectiveness and impact of their sustainability efforts in water management.

Performance of Belgian Universities

In Belgium, several universities have also made notable strides in integrating SDGs into their operations and academic principles. These institutions have not only contributed to global sustainability efforts but have also achieved commendable positions in the global rankings:

  1. Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) stands out at 67th worldwide, excelling particularly in SDGs related to Industry, Innovation, Infrastructure, Responsible Consumption, Life on Land, and Partnerships for Goals.
  2. Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) ranks within the 101-200 range globally, with strengths in Sustainable Cities, Peace, Justice, and strong Institutional Partnerships.
  3. University of Liège appears in the 201-300 tier, recognised for its initiatives in Good Health, Zero Hunger, and Affordable Energy.
  4. Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is placed in the 301-400 category, focusing on Sustainable Cities, Climate Action, and again, strong Institutional Partnerships.
  5. University of Namur, though ranked between 601-800, shows dedicated efforts in promoting Peace, Gender Equality, Good Health, and Partnerships for Goals.

These results not only highlight the global engagement of Belgian universities with the SDGs but also their crucial contributions to addressing societal and environmental challenges through education and research

More Information
For further details on the 2024 rankings and to see where various universities stand, view the full Times Higher Education ranking here.

If you represent a university interested in participating in future rankings and showcasing your institution’s commitment to sustainable development, register your university for the next ranking cycle here.