QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2023      

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London, 26th October 2022QS Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), global higher education analysts, released today the inaugural QS World University Rankings: Sustainability*, a new framework to evaluate how universities are taking action to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental and social issues. *The link will be live as soon as the embargo lifts.       

QS evaluated over 1300 higher education institutions meeting specific eligibility requirements1. Of those, 700 appear in this ranking. The University of California, Berkeley is named the global leader, achieving top scores in both the Environmental Impact and Social Impact categories, each contributing 50% of the overall score. It is followed by two Canadian institutions, the University of Toronto (2nd ) and the University of British Columbia (3rd ).   

QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2023: Top 20       
2023       Institution       Country       
1       University of California, Berkeley (UCB)       United States       
2       University of Toronto       Canada       
3       University of British Columbia       Canada       
4       The University of Edinburgh       United Kingdom       
5=       The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney)       Australia       
5=       The University of Sydney       Australia       
7       The University of Tokyo       Japan       
8       University of Pennsylvania       United States       
9       Yale University       United States       
10       The University of Auckland       New Zealand       
11       Uppsala University       Sweden       
12       Lund University       Sweden       
13       University of Glasgow       United Kingdom       
14       University of California, Davis       United States       
15       Aarhus University       Denmark       
16       University of Oxford       United Kingdom       
17       Western University       Canada       
18       Newcastle University       United Kingdom       
19       University of Cambridge       United Kingdom       
20       Harvard University       United States       
© QS Quacquarelli Symonds 2004-2022 TopUniversities.com All Rights Reserved.       


In developing the concept for, and methodology of the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability, QS launched an extensive consultation involving its 50-person Academic Advisory Board2, representatives of hundreds of universities worldwide, thousands of students, and data partners at Scopus/Elsevier3 and Yale University.       

The results see 15 Indian universities ranked, with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) taking the country’s highest rank, placing in the 281-300 band globally.

QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2023: Indian Ranked Universities
2023 RankInstitution
281-300Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB)
321-340Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD)
361-380Jawaharlal Nehru University
381-400University of Delhi
451-500Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK)
451-500Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IITR)
501-550Aligarh Muslim University
501-550Jadavpur University
501-550Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT)
551-600Indian Institute of Science
551-600Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT-KGP)
601+Banaras Hindu University
601+Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani
601+Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IITG)
601+Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM)
© QS Quacquarelli Symonds 2004-2022 www.topuniversities.com

The United States dominates the rankings, with 135 ranked universities (19.2% of the total), including thirty among the top 100, while the United Kingdom is the second-most represented country, with 67 universities ranked (9.5%), including twenty among the top 100. Germany is the third-best for overall representation, with 39 universities, followed by Mainland China with 37 and Australia with 33.

Jessica Turner, CEO at QS, said: “The development of Covid-19 vaccines is just one recent illustration of the impact achieved by universities cooperating to solve a world crisis. Universities are uniquely placed to lead global efforts in enacting environmental and social change, whether through research, teaching, or community engagement. QS aims to provide prospective students with independent insights on universities’ record in improving sustainability. We also seek to support universities in monitoring and benchmarking their progress as they strive to implement their ESG4 strategies and find solutions to unprecedented global challenges.”   

Also Read: Intelligent Minds Trusts’ Excellence in Education Awards 2022

The overall rank of the universities featured in the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability is determined by the sum of their scores in two categories (methodology):

·        Environmental Impact (aggregating three indicators: Sustainable Institutions, Sustainable Education and Sustainable Research)    

·        Social Impact (aggregating five indicators: Equality, Knowledge Exchange, Impact of Education, Employability and Opportunities, and Quality of Life).   

Indian Universities: Performance by Indicator

IITB (281-300) is the national leader in QS’ Sustainable Education indicator. This metric focuses on the extent to which institutionsare educating students to both understand and make a difference to the environment. 

The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (321-340) is India’s highest scorer in 2/8 of QS indicators. These include:

·        Sustainable Institutions, which assesses the institutional strategy and operations directed towards an environmentally sustainable future.

·        Employment & Opportunities, indicating strong alumni outcomes and graduate employability. IITB is also among the world’s top-100 for this metric.

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (551-600) also boasts India’s highest scores for 2/8 metrics, including:

·        Sustainable Researchwhich measures the impact and volume of research in areas aligned to specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

·        Quality of Life. This indicator analyses data pertaining to – among others – research output in specific SDGs (1,2,3, and 6), health options on campus, Air Quality Index, and Subjective Wellbeing Score.   

The University of Delhi (381-400) is India’s premier institution in:

·        Knowledge Exchange, suggesting a high level of domestic and international collaboration in research to advance knowledge and improve academic standards around the globe.  

·        Educating for Societywhich concerns research output aligned to SDG 4, QS Academicand Alumni surveys, Academic Freedom Index, the net flow of internationally mobile students and gross graduation ratio. No Indian universities place in the world’s top-500 for this indicator.

Jawaharlal Nehru University takes India’s top-spot in Equality, which analyses research output aligned to SDGs 5 and 10 (gender equality and reducing inequalities) as well as a range of diversity and measurable inclusivity elements. 

The UN’s most recent Sustainable Development Report showed that the world’s progress towards SDGs has slowed for the second consecutive year. However, the global higher education sector can play a meaningful role in reversing this post-pandemic slowdown.    

Dr Andrew MacFarlane, QS Ranking Manager, said: “This ranking looks for signs that the university is both committed to, and is already making a difference, to the society it exists within and depends on. By highlighting the impact of their alumni, the alignment of their research to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, or their policies and governance, we hope this ranking will serve to further intensify the efforts of universities to help meet the global challenges we all face.”    

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