Queen’s ranks first in Canada & fifth in the world in global impact rankings

Times Higher Education 2021 Impact Rankings illustrate Queen’s role in advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Today, the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings revealed that Queen’s University has placed first in Canada and fifth in the world in its global ranking of universities that are advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within and beyond their local communities. The rankings measured more than 1,200 post-secondary institutions and focused on the impact made in 17 categories measuring sustainability.

Established in 2019, THE Impact Rankings assess a university’s societal impact based on the UN’s SDGs, a set of goals outlining a universal call to action to protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. Using carefully calibrated indicators across four broad areas – research, outreach, teaching, and stewardship – THE Impact Rankings are a recognition of those who are working today to build a better tomorrow.

“At Queen’s we believe our community – our people – will help solve the world’s most significant and urgent challenges through our intellectual curiosity, passion to achieve, and commitment to collaboration,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “We are humbled to be recognized in this way for the impact we’re having in our local and global communities, but we recognize how much still needs to be done. We are, however, pleased to know we are on the right track, and have our eyes set even more firmly on the future.”

Queen's University’s community of students, researchers, staff, and alumni all contribute to making a positive impact as measured by the UN’s 17 SDG criteria. THE Impact Rankings acknowledged Queen’s as:

  • 1st worldwide for SDG 1 ‘No Poverty,’ and SDG 16 ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’. This was exemplified by Promise Scholars, a program designed to reduce financial barriers and increase access to Queen’s for local, first-generation students. The university also helps the next generation of policy makers through programs and research led by the School of Policy Studies, in addition to significant collaboration with all levels of government.
     
  • A leader in advancing programs that promote equal access, equity, and diversity, because of initiatives like: the Queen’s Equity Locator App, a map of accessible and gender neutral spaces, and specialized pathway programs for Indigenous and Black students.
     
  • Queen’s supports air, land and water ecosystems through initiatives such as Queen’s Climate Action Plan, which is committed to climate neutrality by 2040;  the Queen’s University Biological Station, one of Canada’s premier scientific field stations; and the Beaty Water Research Centre, which fosters interdisciplinary research and outreach in water governance, sustainability, and protection.

Queen’s scored highly across a number of SDGs, including in SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities), and SDG 15 (Life on Land), where Queen’s placed in the top 10 worldwide. For both SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), Queen's ranks first in the world.

These impressive results reflect the cross-university collaboration and partnership of over 70 units across faculties, portfolios, and departments that contributed to or were represented in the evidence.

“Canada’s universities are actively demonstrating the fundamental role they will play in helping solve some of the world’s greatest challenges as outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” says Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer, Times Higher Education. “In a year that has seen record levels of participation in the Impact Rankings, with 1,240 universities from 98 countries and regions, it is wonderful to see the success of Queen’s University in helping to ensure a sustainable future for global society.”

Other highlights from the more than 600 pieces of evidence submitted illustrate Queen’s contributions to an inclusive, diverse, and sustainable future, including:

“Building on this track record of sustainability, while accelerating development and partnerships at home and abroad, Queen’s will stay focused on developing the leaders of tomorrow to advance global initiatives and make a lasting imprint on our communities,” says Principal Deane, who wrote on how the SDGs can help inform and shape the future of the global academy.

Note: This article originally appeared in the Queen's Gazette.