The University of Cumbria’s quality education has been ranked in the top ten of universities worldwide, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, the only global performance tables that assess universities’ impact against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The university ranked 8th out of a total of 676 participating institutions worldwide and first in the UK for Quality Education SDG, which measures universities’ contribution to early years and lifelong learning, their pedagogy, research and their commitment to inclusive education.
In other notable categories, the university’s gender equality credentials were recognised when it came joint 81st out of 547 participating institutions for ‘Gender Equality’ and 69th out of 268 institutions in ‘Life on Land’.
Overall, and as a relatively young university making its first submission to these rankings, it achieves an overall rank in the 201-300 range of 766 institutions, firmly residing in the top 40% of institutions worldwide.
THE believe that universities represent the greatest hope of solving some of the world’s biggest challenges.
The THE Impact Rankings are designed to shine a light on the commitment of universities around the world to making a positive social and economic impact within their communities and globally, through their work towards achieving the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; from providing inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting good health and wellbeing, to ensuring gender equality and taking action on climate change.
By participating universities demonstrate the important role they’re playing in championing a better and more sustainable future.
Professor Julie Mennell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cumbria, said: “As a university focused on serving our region’s needs many of the metrics within traditional (UK) rankings do not necessarily reflect our work or involvement within the communities that we serve or the impact we have globally through our local, national and overseas partnerships.
“Given the university’s mission and values, we felt it was important to participate in these specific rankings to more accurately highlight the world class outcomes achieved by our students and staff”
“Against the backdrop of the current worldwide crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an opportunity for universities around the world to collaborate and help to refocus the global economic agenda on sustainable development in its truest sense.
“The University of Cumbria is committed to creating a sustainable legacy and joining our colleagues around the world in championing a brighter and more equitable future”.
Many of the university's key strategic partners have come forward to offer their congratulations and response to the news.
Sam Plum, Chief Executive of Barrow Borough Council said: “It comes as no surprise to me that the university has been ranked so highly for impact against the sustainable development goals.
“Through the work of Julie and her whole team it really is a world class institution which we’re proud to have in Cumbria. It’s fantastic, and rightly deserved, that the impact is being recognised in this way. “
Cllr John Mallinson, Leader of Carlisle City Council said: “Congratulations to Julie and all the staff at the University of Cumbria. We’re proud to be a University City and we’re delighted that their hard work has been recognised at an international level. It’s a truly remarkable achievement.”
The university participated in five SDGs and achieved a top 100 ranking in three of them; ‘Quality Education’, ‘Gender Equality and ‘Life on Land’.
Janet Garner, Academy Principal, BAE Systems Submarines Academy for Skills and Knowledge said: "To have a higher education institution in the region recognised for their sustainability approach is a fantastic achievement. It clearly demonstrates the forward thinking work of the University of Cumbria and their contribution to our community and beyond."
Lord Inglewood, Chair of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an excellent development from the University of Cumbria and a very well-deserved success for all of the team.
“Their work towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are to be welcomed and fit squarely to the LEP’s commitment on inclusive growth and sustainable development.”
This second edition of the THE Impact Rankings, which launched in 2019, and included 766 universities from 85 countries.
Top of the list was New Zealand’s University of Auckland, while three Australian universities complete the rest of the top four: University of Sydney, Western Sydney University and La Trobe University.
Japan is the most-represented nation in the table with 63 institutions, followed by Russia with 47 and Turkey with 37.