Aberdeen climbs into UK top 10 and World Top 50 in new Impact rankings

Aberdeen climbs into UK top 10 and World Top 50 in new Impact rankings

The University of Aberdeen has been named within the top 10 universities in the UK and top 50 in the world in the new Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

Aberdeen has risen 8 places to rank 10th in the UK and 22 places to 48th globally out of nearly 2,000 institutions included in the rankings which aim to capture universities’ impact on society based on their success in delivering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The success represents the University’s strongest performance in the rankings since they were introduced.

The University submitted data for all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The rankings use data from four of the goals to formulate each institution’s overall ranking (one of which must be SDG 17 – Partnership for the Goals).

Aberdeen’s rank was based on the following goals:

  • SDG 17 – Partnership for the Goals (ranked 75th globally)
  • SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities (17th globally)
  • SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production (56th globally)
  • SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (67th globally)

Professor Karl Leydecker, Senior Vice-Principal at the University of Aberdeen welcomed the new rankings.

“The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals provide a comprehensive and globally recognised framework for addressing critical social, economic, and environmental challenges.

By aligning with the SDGs, the University of Aberdeen is demonstrating its commitment to sustainable development, enhancing our social responsibility, and contributing to global efforts to improve well-being, reduce inequality, and protect the environment – values that are reflected in our Aberdeen 2040 themes of Inclusive, Interdisciplinary, International and Sustainable.

“Our fantastic performance in this year’s Times Higher Education Impact Rankings speaks to our achievements in these areas and is testimony to the hard work of everyone at the University who has contributed to this success.

“Whether it’s highlighting the inequalities experienced by workers in the Bangladesh garment industry; hosting important climate assemblies for our local communities or using cutting edge genetics techniques to identify populations at greater risk of breast cancer – to name just a few projects - it’s clear research at the University of Aberdeen is tackling the major issues facing global society today.”

Read a breakdown of the University of Aberdeen’s performance on the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings page.


About the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

There are 17 SDGs, which were adopted by the UN in 2016 to provide a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way. These 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; fostering innovation; reducing inequalities; building sustainable cities and communities and achieving responsible consumption and production; tackling climate change; managing sustainably life below water and life on land; promoting peaceful societies; and revitalising global partnerships.

Read our report highlighting key projects addressing the UN SDGs

Aberdeen – SDG research in action

Fair trade award for Aberdeen academic shining a light on worker injustice
(UN SDGs 1, 8, 10 and 12)


Professor Muhammad Azizul Islam was honoured for his work improving the lives of garment workers in Bangladesh with a prestigious national fair-trade award.

Bangladesh is the second largest garments exporter in the world, providing millions of garments to the UK market. Research funded by the University through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) exposed large numbers of high street fashion brands are using factories that struggle to pay workers the Bangladeshi minimum wage of £2.30.

The survey, carried out by the University of Aberdeen and trade justice charity Transform Trade, also found that over 50% of suppliers experienced unfair purchasing practices including failure to pay and discount demands, which led to forced overtime and harassment of workers.

After witnessing the tough life faced by workers in Dhaka as a child, Professor Islam has dedicated his life’s work to improving the lives of garment workers.

His research, education, and campaigning aim to give a voice to millions of unheard workers and enable policy change to ensure profits are not made at the expense of people. In recognition of this work, Professor Islam was named the winner of the Fair-Trade and Sustainability category in the Scottish Fair-Trade Awards 2022.


Funding boost for North-East Climate Assemblies
(UN SDGs 11, 16 and 17)

Researchers from the University’s Just Transition Lab and local partners were awarded £386,152 by the Scottish Government’s Just Transition Fund for a project to take forward a series of climate assemblies across the north-east.

The project, led by the North East Scotland Climate Action Network (NESCAN), alongside the University, Aberdeen for a Fairer World, and tsiMORAY, funded a series of forums in which local people were given a say on what a just energy transition looks like for communities in the region.

Involving an interdisciplinary team of researchers, the project sought to establish the region as a leader in community engagement around the energy transition. Professor Tavis Potts (Geosciences), Dr Daria Shapovalova (Law), and Dr John Bone (Sociology) were part of the project.

They examined how community climate assemblies work in different parts of the world, applied this knowledge to a series of local assemblies with community stakeholders, and concluded with a multi-stakeholder event that drew the activity together, connecting local policy makers, planning, civil society and business, with a focus on practical action

 

Research reveals Orkney cancer gene link
(UN SDGs 3 and 5)

A study published in the European Journal of Human Genetics has linked a gene variant that causes a higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer to an historic origin in Westray, Orkney.

Most breast and ovarian cancers happen due to chance damage to genes. However, some cases are caused in part by inherited alterations which increase the chances that women will get one or both conditions. One of the most common of these predisposing genes is BRCA1.

Around one in 1,000 women across the UK have a BRCA1 variant giving them a high lifetime chance of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Over many years, the North of Scotland NHS genetics clinic team found the same specific single variant in the BRCA1 gene repeatedly in women from Orkney with breast and/or ovarian cancer.

The genetics team used clinical genealogy to show that the patients with the variant linked into one large family with an origin in the Orkney outer isle of Westray. Professor Zosia Miedzybrodzka, Professor of Medical Genetics at the University, is Director of the NHS North of Scotland Genetic Service based within NHS Grampian in Aberdeen and has run the Orkney genetic clinic for over 20 years.

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