University of Manchester retains number 1 ranking in the UK, number 1 in Europe and second in the world for social and environmental impact

Jun 12, 2024 | Sustainable Living

You are here: Home > University of Manchester retains number 1 ranking in the UK, number 1 in Europe and second in the world for social and environmental impact

The University of Manchester has been named top in both the UK and Europe, and second in the world for meaningful contributions towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in the 2024 Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings.

With a unique commitment to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, The University of Manchester is the only institution in the world to rank in the top ten for social and environmental impact in every year of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

Manchester’s top ranking comes from a record assessment of 2,152 universities from 125 countries and regions, which is 26% increase on last year where 1,705 universities were ranked. This year 72 UK universities participated in the ranking, 11 more than last year (61).

Manchester Metropolitan University has also made a significant leap in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2024, climbing 22 places to 44th. This puts the University in the top 3% of ranked institutions globally and 9th in the UK.

In 2023, Manchester Met celebrated 11 years as a top three sustainable university in the People and Planet University League* and has pledged to integrate Education for Sustainable Development and Carbon Literacy across all courses by 2026.

This overall ranking reflects both Universities’ growing influence and commitment to sustainability and tackling social inequalities on a global scale.

The ranking, now in its sixth year, is the world’s only one that measures universities’ contributions to the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and assesses their commitment to sustainability across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach and teaching

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement at The University of Manchester, who leads the institution’s entry to the ranking, said:Each year we submit over 300 pieces of evidence for this ranking covering our cultural institutions, sustainability, equality, diversity and inclusion, widening access, research impact, public and civic engagement, external partnerships, innovation, the student experience and reporting on the SDGs. Everyone in our University community should be proud of this independent measure of our commitment to social responsibility.” 

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester said:Retaining the number one rank in the UK and Europe, as well as coming second in the world once again in this year’s THE Impact Rankings is a great achievement for the whole of The University of Manchester. Being recognised for our commitment to Social Responsibility is especially important during our bicentenary year in which we celebrate 200 years of our incredible people and community and look toward the future.”

Professor Nalin Thakkar, Vice-President for Social Responsibility at The University of Manchester said:Social responsibility is, of course, a core goal for us so we’re delighted to be ranked top in the UK, top in Europe and second in the world in the 2024 THE Impact Rankings, which are based on our performance against the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

“These rankings cover our full range of functions – across research, students, public engagement and university operations – and we’re proud to be part of this growing community of universities who want to improve our society, economy and environment in all that we do.” 

Professor Liz Price, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor Sustainability at Manchester Met, said:  “This significant rise of 22 places in the THE Impact Rankings is a testament to our collective efforts and unwavering dedication to sustainability and tackling social inequality. It reinforces our position as a leading institution committed to making a positive difference.

“As we continue to enhance our contributions across the SDGs, we aim to build on this result; fostering innovation, inclusivity and sustainability, driving transformative change, and using our impactful research to tackle the grand challenges of our time on a global scale.”

Phil Baty, Times Higher Education’s chief global affairs officer, said: “With universities in the UK facing a funding crisis, and dozens making cuts and some predicted to close, this new data provides a very timely evidence base to demonstrate that the UK has a great diversity of global-leading universities, right across the country, way beyond the more traditional research elite.   

“Universities on the whole are offering clear, real-world impact for society – they are a powerful public good worthy of public support. Excellence in international higher education comes in many forms and this ranking very clearly demonstrates the UK has an abundance of excellence – world leaders – on many fronts.  

“There is a lot of talk in Westminster about how many international students the UK should welcome and which universities they should be allowed to study at. This new data shows that a very diverse range of universities from across the country are attractive to the ‘brightest and the best’ from around the globe and can deliver real impact.”  

THE’s Impact Rankings 2024 – World Top 10:

University   Country   Rank 2024   Rank 2023  
Western Sydney University Australia 1 1
University of Manchester United Kingdom =2 2
University of Tasmania Australia =2 5
Aalborg University Denmark 4 =9
RMIT University Australia 5 =7
University of Alberta Canada 6 =7
UNSW Sydney Australia 7 =18
Queen’s University Canada 8 3
Arizona State University (Tempe) United States 9 6
University of Exeter United Kingdom 10 =18

View the full Impact Rankings 2024 results here []

For more information about how The University of Manchester is contributing towards the UN SDGs please see:

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