University of Auckland holds top ten spot in global University Impact Rankings

The University of Auckland has retained its place in the top ten of the international Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings 2021.

The rankings, which were launched in 2019, measure the achievement of universities around the world against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said that the rankings were unique in that they measure achievement and impact against targets that the world has collectively agreed are crucial for the future of our planet and societies.

“The Impact Rankings demonstrate how universities like Auckland can play a key role in thought leadership, in germane research, and in sustainable operations,” she said.

“Through our partnerships, research, teaching, operations, community engagement and knowledge transfer we can and do contribute to, quite simply, making the world a better place.”

The SDGs were launched in 2016 and set a 15-year agenda for all countries to end poverty, fight inequalities and build peaceful, just and sustainable societies. Categories where the University of Auckland performed particularly well include Peace, justice and strong institutions (6th), Good health and wellbeing (8th), and Decent work and economic growth (9th).

Professor Freshwater said the University was very proud of this year’s overall 9th= position, despite not retaining the top place it had held for the first two years of the ranking (2019 and 2020).

“For the first two years of the rankings, Auckland led the world. We have taken a leadership opportunity and shared our work with colleagues internationally, helping many universities with their own work to measure progress against the SDGs. We are thrilled by the growth in participating universities and delighted that we have retained a spot in the top ten,” she said.

“We continue to demonstrate the value we give to sustainability in its broadest sense and will continue to champion these rankings, and more importantly, what sits behind them. As we look to move into a post-Covid reality we know that this is even more important and relevant.”

Professor Freshwater said it was inspiring to see the growing number of universities who see the rankings as a valuable tool to measure their international contribution.

“This is an area that is being increasingly taken very seriously in strategic planning around the world. Certainly, the SDGs are one of the driving influences behind Taumata Teitei, Auckland’s new strategy and vision.

“We welcome the increasing enthusiasm that universities and the international Higher Education sector as a whole has demonstrated in participating in the Impact Rankings. We look forward particularly to working with our New Zealand colleagues to develop and enhance the contribution made in this area by the universities of Aotearoa,” she said.

The 2021 rankings were announced on Wednesday 21 April 2021 at the THE Innovation and Impact Summit, an online conference focusing on the value of international research and collaboration. It is being hosted by the University of Auckland in partnership with Pennsylvania State University.


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