UP soars in 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

Posted on May 03, 2022

According to the latest Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings (2022), released this week, the University of Pretoria (UP) has been named South Africa’s second-best (joint second) and Africa’s third-best (joint third) university. The rankings are based on the 17 SDGs, which are designed to address the most serious and critical global challenges in the world. The SDGs offer an integrated framework for ensuring that global development balances social, economic and environmental sustainability.

UP also featured among the global top 50 and top 100 universities in terms of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year, a record number of 1 406 universities (up from 1 240 in 2021) from 106 countries/regions featured in the Impact Rankings, which offer a way to gauge a higher education institution’s performance on the international stage in terms of the widely adopted SDGs. A university’s overall score – and thus rank – is determined by its combined performance in its top three SDGs (each weighting 26%, with SDG 17 weighting 22%). Using calibrated metrics and indicators across four key areas – research, teaching, outreach and stewardship – the rankings assess hundreds of quantitative and qualitative evidence that tangibly measure the impact of higher education institutions in addressing urgent global challenges.

UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe congratulated the University community for achieving these remarkable results. “I am incredibly proud of the UP community for this outstanding performance,” he said. “The ranking recognises the sustained impact we are having in our local and global communities, but also serves to inspire future action, fuelled by our collective intellectual curiosity.”

UP is ranked among the top 50 universities in the world in terms of SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth: position 44) and SDG 15 (Life on Land: position 30). In addition, the University is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world in SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: position 88) and SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals: position 86).

The University has also retained its position (201 – 300) in SDG 3 (Health and Wellbeing) and SDG 4 (Quality Education), and improved its position in SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: 101 –200). When it first participated, UP was ranked between 101 and 200 in SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

In addition, UP is ranked first in South Africa in SDGs 9 and 15 and second in SDGs 3, 16 and 17.


Global rank

Domestic rank

SDG 15: Life on Land



SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure



SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals



SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth



SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

101 –200


SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities



SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing



SDG 4: Quality Education




Eighty African universities in 10 countries featured in the Impact Rankings. Commenting on the performance of African universities, Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer at the THE World University Rankings, stated: “As the Impact Rankings focus on social and economic impact, through universities’ contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, we can recognise niche strengths and uncover real pockets of excellence across the African continent.” It is clear that African universities are taking a lead in improving social realities and UP takes pride in its contribution towards this.  

Prof Kupe said that UP launched the Sustainable Development Solutions Network this year, the objective of which is to mobilise and support South African universities and other leading research institutions to promote the SDGs in South Africa as well as South Africa’s contribution to the SDGs globally. "The impressive outcomes for UP from this ranking demonstrate that our strategic plan to achieve greater societal impact by addressing pressing local and global challenges is working. I am proud of our University community for actively participating in creating sustainable better futures for our country and continent and the world. We will redouble our efforts not just to score on the ranking but to make a decisive difference in defeating the challenges we face to earn the bright futures we deserve.”

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