THE Impact Rankings 2023 results

THE Impact Rankings 2023 results

Update on the University's performance in the THE Impact Rankings 2023

Dear colleagues,

In this fifth annual edition of the ranking, which assesses universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the University has ranked 70th in the world, and 18th in the UK, a very positive rise from a global rank of 101-200 and outside the top 20 in the UK last year. 

It is particularly pleasing to note that, in addition to ranking in the top quartile globally for all 17 SDGs, we have ranked 1st in the UK and 4th in the world for SDG17: Partnership for the Goals, with a full score for metrics measuring our external policy and strategy engagement relating to the SDGs, our commitment to educational provision and outreach around the SDGs, and for our annual SDG report.

As in previous editions, the University is ranked for its three strongest (scaled) SDGs along with SDG17 which is mandatory. The University ranks top 31 in the world for all four of these counting SDGs, and top ten in the UK for all but one:

  • SDG17: Partnership for the Goals (4th globally, 1st in the UK)
  • SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (=17th globally, 7th in the UK)
  • SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production (29th globally, 17th in the UK)
  • SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities (31st globally, 5th in the UK)

The University has been ranked within the top 100 in the world for a further five SDGs: 

  • SDG10: Reduced Inequalities (=18th globally, =7th in the UK and 1st in Scotland)
  • SDG13: Climate Action (30th globally, 8th in the UK and 1st in Scotland) 
  • SDG6: Clean Water and Sanitation (57th globally, 5th in the UK and 1st in Scotland)
  • SDG2: Zero Hunger (=59th globally, 7th in the UK and 1st in Scotland)
  • SDG15: Life on Land (87th globally, 24th in the UK)

Six SDGs are ranked between 100-200 in the world and two in the 201-300 band, although all are in quartile 1 globally.

This year’s excellent result highlights the considerable progress the University has made in furthering the SDGs. These are all activities which link directly with Aberdeen 2040, and further evidence the good progress that has been made in delivering our sustainability ambitions as set out in the Strategy, namely:

  • To encourage everyone in our community to work and live sustainably
  • To educate all our students and staff to be leaders in protecting the environment
  • To excel in research that addresses the climate emergency, enables energy transition and the preservation of biodiversity
  • To achieve net zero carbon emissions before 2040

Our performance this year is particularly pleasing given the continuing expansion of the number of ranked institutions (now 1,591 globally and 57 in the UK), together with the introduction this year of more probing questions to increase differentiation between universities. Moreover, our result is, for the first time, based on a rolling average of scores over two years, which explains why we are not ranked even more highly this year given the very high ranking for our four counting SDGs. 

As you will remember, we also achieved an excellent result in the inaugural QS World University Sustainability Ranking in October last year where the University of Aberdeen was ranked 64th in the world and 17th in the UK. It is encouraging to be ranked in the top 70 in the world and top 20 in the UK in both of these rankings.

Today’s result is a testament to the hard work of our staff and student community in delivering our Aberdeen 2040 Strategy, including our Sustainable commitments. 

You can access a full analysis of the THE Impact Ranking results via the Planning webpages, while the University’s Sustainable pages contain more information about our activities in the area of sustainability, including our annual Sustainability Report. You are also invited to view a new short video introducing the Sustainable Development Goals and our commitment as a University to address them.

Best wishes


Karl Leydecker

Senior Vice-Principal

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