University in top quartile in worldwide rankings linked to UN Sustainable Development Goals

Two people with water

The impact of the University of Strathclyde has been ranked as among the best in the world by a global performance table that assesses institutions against the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Strathclyde is ranked 70th overall out of 766 institutions worldwide in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2020 which show how the global higher education sector is working towards the 17 United Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Top 20

The University is in the top 25 per cent of institutions worldwide for 14 of the SDGs, including being ranked in the worlds top 20 for its’ work on Clean Water and Sanitation (10th), for Reduced Inequalities (12th), Life on Land (19th) and Decent Work and Economic Growth (20th).

Strathclyde was also recognised in the top 50 for its impact on Life Below Water, Responsible Consumption and Production, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, Sustainable Cities and Communities and No Poverty, and in the top 100 for Affordable and Clean Energy and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

The University was placed in the top 100 Globally for 11 out of 17 SDGs. In the UK it was first for Clean Water and Sanitation, fourth for Decent Work and Economic Growth and fifth for Reduced Inequalities.

Environment & inequality

The rankings, now in their second year, focus on the dual issues of protecting the environment and addressing inequality through sustainable development and institutions were required to submit data towards one compulsory category - Partnership for the Goals - and at least three further categories.

Strathclyde chose to submit results for all 17 SDGs as a statement of its commitment and prioritisation of the goals in its 2025 Strategy. The University improved its overall score from 2019 by 2.2 points, from 83.8 to 86 points.

New Zealand’s University of Auckland topped the rankings, while Australia’s University of SydneyWestern Sydney University and La Trobe University completed the top four. The University of Manchester was the top ranked UK university at number 8 in the league table.

 Principal facing camera

Strathclyde’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, said: “The University of Strathclyde has at its heart socially progressive values and we want to encourage a more equal society and ensure opportunities for all.

Sustainability is at the heart of our strategy through our commitment to deliver against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and we are delighted to be recognised for this work through the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings.

“Our academics are engaged in pioneering research which can help to solve global challenges and create technologies that can be harnessed for use in our daily lives

“There is extraordinary work taking place at Strathclyde which is already having a real world impact, from providing affordable and clean energy to ensuring clean water for all.

“We make important contributions to the climate emergency we face and have acted to identify solutions, including with the One Ocean Hub project led by Strathclyde, which aims to transform our response to the urgent challenges facing our ocean.”

The University was also ranked in the top 25 per cent for its impact on Zero Hunger, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Climate Action and Partnership for the Goals.

Other work around the SDGs includes to tackle dementia/Alzheimer’s with MindMate, an app that helps the baby boomer generation to reduce the risk of cognitive decline, while the Legbank project aims to increase access to affordable prosthetics services for people in developing countries.


Other examples of Strathclyde’s work in the goals include the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering’s research and outreach activity on developing off-grid energy solutions involving solar PV systems, and the installation of in rural communities in Malawi, The Gambia and India.

The University’s flagship ‘Vertically Integrated Projects for Sustainable Development’ engages students of all disciplines in collaborative, research-based learning centred around the Sustainable Development Goals.

 The SDGs were adopted by the UN in 2015 to provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way and include ending poverty and hunger, promoting good health and well-being and quality education, achieving gender equality and economic growth, providing access to clean water and sanitation and affordable and clean energy and tackling climate change.