Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

The Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings measure the progress of universities working to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The Impact Rankings are the first global attempt to measure university progress specifically around the SDGs adopted by all United Nations States in 2015. The SDGs provide an outline for improving outcomes for people and the planet by working together in a global partnership. Universities have a critical role in the achievement of the SDGs globally. Our unique position as creators and disseminators of knowledge and as key drivers of innovation, economic development, and societal wellbeing put us in a position to lead and effect change. 

UNSW ranked =18th in the world out of 1,591 participating institutions, up from =55th in 2022. The University secured 10 top 100, 9 top 50 places and 3 top ten places – our best result to date.

UNSW Sydney ranked 18th in the 2023 THE Impact Rankings.

UNSW’s three strongest areas under the THE rankings methodology are: 

UNSW Sydney ranked 2nd for SDG 13 in the 2023 THE Impact Rankings.
UNSW Sydney ranked 10th for SDG 15 in the 2023 THE Impact Rankings.
UNSW Sydney ranked 9th for SDG 11 in the 2023 THE Impact Rankings.

The University's meteoric rise from =39th to =2nd in SDG 13 Climate Action, from =42nd to =9th in SDG11 Sustainable Cities and Communities and from =72nd to =10th in SDG 15 Life on Land reflects our world class and pioneering research, our strong partnerships and our significant contributions throughcampus operations,research and outreach in these areas.

The successful implementation of the 2019-2021 Environmental Sustainability Plan and its new 2022-2024 iteration have been key to UNSW’s operational sustainability and have hugely contributed to our success in the rankings, including our particularly strong performance in SDG 13 and SDG 11.

UNSW’s other top 50performancesinclude: 

  • SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation (=37)
  • SDG 7Affordable and Clean Energy(=17)  
  • SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (=50)
  • SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production (=25) 
  • SDG 14 Life Below Water(=24) 


Read the full article

UNSW  ranked 55th in the world out of 1,406 institutions, up from 96th in 2021. The University secured 10 top 100 and eight top 50 places.

UNSW Sydney ranked 55 in the 2022 THE Impact Rankings. Official logo


UNSW’sthree strongest areas under the rankings methodology, consistent with 2021:

SDG 6 ranked 17th in 2022
SDG 12 ranked 35th in 2022
SDG 11 ranked 42nd in 2022

The University’s highest ranking of 17 was achieved in SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy.

UNSW’s ranking in SDG 6reflectsUNSWs contributions to clean water andsanitationthroughcampus operations,research and outreach. It is also strengthened through participation in a number of key initiativessuchas the Australian Water Partnership (AWP),the Connected Waters Initiative (CWI), and a range of ongoing, long-term collaborations with local and global government and industry partners.


UNSW’s other top 100performancesinclude: 

  • SDG 2 Zero Hunger (=46)
  • SDG 7Affordable and Clean Energy(=17)  
  • SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (87)
  • SDG 13 Climate Action (39) 
  • SDG 14 Life Below Water(29)  
  • SDG 15Life onLand(=73)  

UNSW’s meteoric rise from =59 to 17 in SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy was impacted by the university’s pioneering research in the development of solar photovoltaic technology, enabling the University to switch to 100% solar energy in 2020 under a world first Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).


Read the full article

UNSW placed in the top 100 for seven Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an increase from four last year, and ranked 96 in the world overall out of 1,117 institutions.

UNSW Sydney ranked 96th in the Time Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021


Impact Rankings award for SDG 6 - 8th place
UNSW Sydney ranked 43rd for SDG #12 Responsible Consumption & Production
UNSW Sydney ranked 37th for SDG #11 Sustainable Cities & Communities

UNSW Sydney ranked 8th in the world in the 2021 THE Impact Rankings for its work towards ensuring availability and sustainable management of clean water and sanitation.  

The University’s high ranking in SDG 6 reflects UNSW’s contributions to clean water and sanitation through campus operations, research and outreach, and strengthened through active UNSW participation in a number of key initiatives such as the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), the Connected Waters Initiative (CWI), and a range of ongoing, long term collaborations with local and global government and industry partners, such as with WaterNSW, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, the Mekong River Commission, as well as with NGOs such as Z-NET Uralla and the Love Mercy Foundation in Uganda. UNSW on campus contributions toward SDG 6 are also underpinned by the Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21.


Read the full  article 

UNSW ranked 66 in the world overall out of 766 institutions from more than 75 countries.

UNSW Sydney ranked first in the world for its work toward efficient use of resources and the minimisation of waste. Along with the top ranking in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12, Responsible Consumption and Production, UNSW placed fourth in the world for SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy. In total, UNSW was placed in the top 100 for four SDGs, with equality and gender equity accounting for the University’s two other highly-ranked areas. 

The University’s high rankings in SDG 7 and SDG 12 reflect UNSW’s contributions to clean energy and resource efficiency through campus operations, research and outreach and strengthened through the launch of the Environmental Sustainability Plan 2019-21.


Read the full article

How the ranking is calculated 

Universities receive a score and ranking for each submitted SDG. The score for each SDG considers a range of indicators, including a university’s research performance, campus management and operations, and community partnerships and collaborations. The overall rank is then generated from the score for mandatory SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals, plus the three strongest of the other SDGs for which it provided data.  

According to the THE methodology, the score from each SDG is scaled so that the highest score in each SDG in the overall calculation is 100 and the lowest score is 0. This is to adjust for minor differences in the scoring range in each SDG and to ensure that universities are treated equitably, whichever SDGs they have provided data for.

It is these scaled scores that THE use to determine which SDGs a university has performed most strongly in; they may not be the SDGs in which the university is ranked highest or has scored highest based on unscaled scores. 

More information

Explore UNSW's contributions to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, designed to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges, such as ending poverty and hunger, climate change, the reduction of inequalities and more. 

Find out more about the initiatives and reports UNSW use to assess progress and show performance.