Leicester tops UK ranking for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals category

New rankings have put the University of Leicester at the top of the UK tree for higher education (HE) institutions committed to working towards peace, justice and strong institutions.

The Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings grade more than 2,100 HE institutions from around the world by their contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Leicester has been ranked first in the United Kingdom for Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, which promotes peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Leicester’s submission highlighted the strides the institution is making to work with central government policy makers and its role in the formation of the Universities Partnership, which sees the county’s three universities and local authorities work together to drive economic growth and tackle social challenges across the region.

Some examples from the submission include:

The 17 SDGs are an urgent call for action by all countries in a global partnership to end poverty and other deprivations – including improving health and education, reducing inequality, and increasing economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve the world’s oceans and forests.

THE University Impact Rankings are the world’s first global attempt to measure and document evidence of universities’ impact on society and the environment, in addition to output from research and teaching performance.

This year saw a record 2,152 higher education institutions submitting data to participate in the rankings – 447 more than last year.

Overall, the University of Leicester was ranked 72nd in the world. Aside from topping the UK rankings for Goal 16, it also scored highly for goals 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption), 15 (Life on Land) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), demonstrating its academic and operational commitment to value the Earth’s resources and address all inequalities and to reduce discrimination.

Professor Sarah Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Head of the College of Science and Engineering and Chair of the Environmental Sustainability Strategy Board, said: “I am delighted that we are first in the UK for promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. There are numerous examples where our activities promote Goal 16: from our Law School students providing free legal advice Leicester residents, through to how the research we undertake directly impacts policy and where our academics are working directly with parliament to ensure policy-based research is being used effectively. This ranking recognises that we are delivering on our values and principles to make a difference.”

The University of Leicester was one of the first universities in the UK to sign the SDG Accord, which is a commitment made by academic institutions to one another to do more to deliver the Goals across all operations and beyond, and to annually report on SDGs progress. Further to recent success in the THE Impact Rankings, the University was also among the first to map its academic contribution to the SDGs.