UP ranked 69th globally in 2023 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings measuring work towards UN Sustainable Development Goals

Posted on June 01, 2023

The University of Pretoria (UP) has improved its position in the 2023 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, rising to position 69 (up from the 101-200 band in 2022) out of 1 705 universities in 115 countries. This climb up the rankings comes despite increased competition – the number of participating universities grew from 1 410 in 2022 to 1 705 in 2023. In 2023, UP maintained its 2nd position in South Africa. At the continental level, UP is now ranked 2nd (3rd in 2022). Each university’s overall score and rank are determined by its combined performance in its top three SDGs (each counting 26%) and SDG 17 (“Partnerships for the goals”, 22%).

The THE Impact Rankings measure actions taken by higher education institutions around the world toward achieving the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). According to the UN Development Programme, “The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.” UP submitted more than 100 pieces of evidence highlighting institutional operations, policies, research and strategy involving collaborative work by dozens of departments and units across the university.

This year’s THE Impact Rankings, released on 1 June 2023, are the fifth annual ranking. Carefully calibrated indicators for each participating university are measured to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach, and teaching. A detailed breakdown of the ranking’s methodology can be found here.

UP is also:

  • Ranked in the Top 20 universities in the world for two SDGs, with a notable 4th place in the world (out of 960 ranked universities) for SDG 8, “Decent work and economic growth” (maintaining its top 50 global placement for SDG 8 from 2022) and 14th place for SDG 5, “Gender equality” (first appearance)
  • Ranked in the Top 100 universities in the world for five SDGs: SDG 10, “Reduced inequalities” (number 76); SDG 15, “Life on land” (number 81); SDG 9, “Industry, innovation, and infrastructure” (number 91); SDG 17, “Partnerships for the goals” (number 92); and SDG 16, “Peace, justice, and strong institutions” (number 97).
  • Ranked in the Top 200 universities in the world for two SDGs, and improved its global rank for these two SDGs: SDG 3, “Good health and wellbeing” (101-200); and SDG 4, “Quality education” (101-200).
  • Overall, UP improved its global position in five SDGs (3, 4, 8, 10, and 16), and ranked for the first time in SDG 5 with outstanding performance. Out of 9 submitted SDGs, UP is ranked in the Top 100 in the world for 7 SDGs (4 in 2022).
  • In South Africa (SA), UP improved its domestic rank in 6 SDGs (3, 4, 5, 8, 10, and 16) compared to 2022. UP is ranked 1st in SA 5 SDGs (5, 8, 9, 15, and 16). UP is ranked 2nd in SA in 4 SDGs (3, 4, 10, and 17).
  • In Africa, UP is ranked 1st in 3 SDGs (5, 8, and 15) and is ranked 2nd in 3 SDGs (9, 10, and 16). Also, UP is ranked 3rd in SDG 17.

UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe congratulated the UP community on achieving remarkable milestones. “Once again UP has proved to be one of the leading universities not only in Africa but also in the world for impact towards the SDGs,” he said.

“This is a collective achievement for our academic and professional staff, students, and partners at all levels – thank you and well done to everyone involved. UP plays a leading role in tackling the SDGs in four ways: research impact, learning and students, public engagement activity, and responsible campus operations. This most recent result is testament to the consistent way we have embedded social responsibility across all levels of the university. It is clear that African universities are taking a lead in improving social realities, and UP takes pride in its contribution towards this and continuing its mission to make UP the university of choice, anchored in Africa and dynamically shaping the world. Although rankings are not the best and only way to measure universities’ contribution to society, this ranking aligns with UP’s strategy to deliver greater societal impact and to contribute to sustainable futures for humanity and our planet.”

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