Uppsala University ranked high in sustainability

Three students walking with bicycles over a bridge in Uppsala.

The new ranking measures universities’ efforts to move forward on sustainable development and has two components: environmental impact and social impact. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

Uppsala University takes 11th place out of 700 higher education institutions in the QS World University Ranking: Sustainability. According to the list, Uppsala University is the top institution in the EU, closely followed by Lund University. The University is highly placed in both environmental impact and social impact.

This is a new ranking focusing on sustainable development in higher education. The list is headed by the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. Uppsala University comes in 11th place and is the highest ranked higher education institution in the EU (though the University of Edinburgh is ranked fourth). Lund University is 12th on the list. The next Swedish institutions on the list are the University of Gothenburg in 28th place and KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 98th place.

“This is a completely new ranking that we were aware was on the way, but we did not know in advance what it would be based on or how it would be produced. Needless to say, we are pleased and proud about the result and hope to maintain a high position in the ranking in future, but as this is the first time it has been produced and we do not know what weight has been given to different indicators and what time series they are measuring, it’s difficult to say how stable the results will be from year to year,” says Emma Östlund, controller at the Planning Division at Uppsala University.

Measures environmental and social impact

The ranking is divided into two parts: environmental impact and social impact. The environmental impact component includes sustainable institutions, sustainable education and sustainable research. The social impact component includes equality, knowledge exchange, impact of education, employability and opportunities, and quality of life. Uppsala University scores well across the board.

  • In environmental impact, Uppsala University comes in 14th place overall. Our best sub-category is sustainable education, where we come in ninth place.
  • In social impact, Uppsala University is ranked 26th overall and comes first in the sub-category equality.

The results are based on factors including self-reported data from Uppsala University, research data via Elsevier and reputation measurements conducted by QS. Other sources of data are used to support the rankings, including the United Nations, the World Bank, Yale University and the Academic Freedom Index.

More than 40 experts involved

The new list from QS World University Rankings is a framework for showing measures taken by universities to tackle sustainability challenges. The fundamental premise is that universities can drive sustainable development forward, through research, teaching and social engagement. QS has engaged more than 40 experts in 20 countries in its steering group. Through their data partners at Elsevier, Yale University and the Academic Freedom Index, they have access to hundreds of representatives at universities throughout the world.

Annica Hulth

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