University Judged Highly for Contributions Towards UN Sustainable Development Goals


The University of Southampton has been ranked 12th best out of 500+ universities worldwide for its contribution to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The Times Higher Education‘s (THE) impact rankings assess universities around the world against the UN’s SDGs. Set in 2015 as the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs are 17 categories of goals set by the UN to be achieved by the year 2030. These categories include but are not limited to ‘No Poverty’, ‘Gender Equality’ and ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’. Within each category are specific targets for the world as a whole to achieve – for example, under the ‘No Poverty’ category, there’s the target of eradicating extreme poverty entirely from the world, this being defined as people living on less than $1.25 a day.

In this first edition of such a ranking of universities, THE are assessing higher educational institutions according to 11 of the 17 SDG category areas:

  • SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
  • SDG 4 – Quality education
  • SDG 5 – Gender equality
  • SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 9 – Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
  • SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
  • SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
  • SDG 13 – Climate action
  • SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals

The University of Southampton placed as the 3rd best UK university and 12th best overall in the new ranking with an overall score of 93.1 out of 100. The University scored 90.1 on SDG 17, 86 on ‘Climate action’, 80.4 on ‘Responsible consumption and production’ and 79.8 on ‘Decent work and economic growth’.

The University tweeted the news of its high ranking, before highlighting a tweet paying tribute to the sustainability work of biological sciences students:

Any university’s final score is reached by combining SDG 17 and their three best scores from the remaining categories. A university’s performance in SDG 17 earns it 22% of its overall score, while the other SDGs each carry a 26% weighting. The scores are scaled in each SDG so that the highest score from an SDG evaluation is 100. Most of the data used to assess universities was based on the time period of January-December 2017.


Editor 2018-19 | International Editor 2017/18. Final year Modern History and Politics student from Bedford. Drinks far too much tea for his own good.

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