The University of Auckland has risen in the 2022 Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings – moving to sixth globally from ninth equal in 2021. This is the fourth year the international ranking has been held, with Auckland ranked first in the world in the first two years.
The global University Impact Rankings measure how universities around the world are working towards the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include quality education, good health and well-being, and gender equality. Retaining a position in the top ten reaffirms the University’s strong commitment to the SDGs, many of which align with the University’s strategic plan, Taumata Teitei.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dawn Freshwater, said this is an outstanding accomplishment, particularly given the increasing importance being placed on the measures by organisations around the world. “Improving our position in the top ten reaffirms the University of Auckland’s strong commitment to sustainability and making a positive social impact through our partnerships, research, teaching, operations, community engagement and knowledge transfer,” she said.
“These rankings measure achievement and impact against targets that the world has collectively agreed are crucial for the future of our planet and societies and demonstrate how very relevant universities can and should be.
"As our own strategy highlights, our contribution – at a local, national, and international level – should be about making the world a better place.”
This year, the University of Auckland placed in the world’s top 10 percent in all 17 SDGs of the 1,406 participating universities, with three SDGs in the top 1 percent and a further 10 in the top 5 percent. Top ten scores were achieved in SDG2 Zero Hunger (4th); SDG3 Good Health and Well-being (10th); SDG5 Gender Equality (10th); and SDG15 Life on Land (4th).
Notably, there was also a significant improvement in SDG9, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, a highly competitive SDG usually dominated by well-funded universities in the global north.
Speaking at the Times Higher Education Innovation and Impact Summit last week, Professor Freshwater said a successful innovation and impact ecosystem is dependent on multiple factors.
“At the University of Auckland, our impact and innovation draws on contemporary and future focused philosophical, ideological, economic and geographical contexts that align with our mission, blending social innovation with excellence in research and education in a values led and inclusive environment.”
During the summit, the University of Auckland hosted a half-day forum focusing on progress made towards achieving SDG4, Quality Education. Leaders from around the world considered the practical steps universities can take to influence their impact on communities in providing education for all.
The success in the THE University Impact Rankings comes on top of the news the University now has 12 subjects in the top 50 in the world, in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Subject Rankings announced earlier in April. The United Nations SDGs came into force in 2016 and set a 15-year agenda for all countries to end poverty, fight inequalities and build peaceful, just and sustainable societies.