Innovative Research Universities (IRU) members have been praised for their global impact after making the top four of this year’s Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings.
The rankings chart universities’ impact against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide a measure of social and economic impact “from climate action and gender equality, to good health and wellbeing”.
Western Sydney University has been judged to have the third-highest SDG impact in the world, while fellow IRU member La Trobe University came fourth in the rankings.
IRU member Charles Darwin University also made the top 100, finishing 99th in the overall rankings.
University of Auckland held onto the top spot for the second year in a row, with Australia’s University of Sydney coming second place.
IRU member James Cook University was also recognised in the rankings, topping a Sustainable Development Goals sub-category on partnerships.
The results are a big achievement for Australian universities, particularly as no Australian university appeared in the top 10 in the 2019 rankings.
THE says its Impact ranking is the first university ranking to use these criteria rather than traditional metrics such as reputation and research prestige.
More than 850 universities from 89 countries were assessed as part of THE’s rankings process.
IRU Executive Director Conor King said:
“This is an impressive result for IRU universities and a testament to the incredible real-world value of their research.
“It’s great to see Australian universities internationally recognised for their positive social and economic impact.”