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This is the first time that the University of Exeter has participated in the ranking, and placed 63rd -with an overall score of 88.7 out of 100 - from 1155 institutions worldwide. 

Exeter ranked 63rd in the world in Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

The University of Exeter’s commitment to sustainability and tackling inequality on the global stage has been recognised in the latest influential rankings. 

The University has been ranked 63rd in the world in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, released today (April 21st 2021). 

The rankings, established in 2019, measure universities’ overall impact through their work in meeting the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. 

The overall ranking is produced based on institutions’ data for SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals, plus their best three results on the remaining SDGs.  

This is the first time that the University of Exeter has participated in the ranking, and placed 63rd -with an overall score of 88.7 out of 100 - from 1155 institutions worldwide. 

Exeter’s highest score was achieved in SDG17: Partnership for the Goals – which looks at the way universities support the SDGs through collaboration with other countries, the promotion of best practices and the publication of data and evidence – with a score of 84.8. 

The highest ranking achievement was in SDG10: NO Poverty – which identifies how universities are helping to address poverty through their work – which was ranked 10th

Exeter was also ranked: 

  • Joint 16th (out of 669 institutions) for SDG10 Reduced Inequalities  
  • Joint 20th (out of 503 institutions) for SDG12 Responsible Consumption and Production  
  • 27th (out of 379 institutions) for SDG14 Life Below Water  
  • 30th (out of 402 Institutions) for SDG15 Life on land  
  • Joint 40th (out of 560 Institutions) for SDG7 Affordable and Clean Energy 
  • 43rd (out of 520 institutions) for SDG6 Clean Water and Sanitation 

Professor Lisa Roberts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter said: “I am delighted to see Exeter’s excellent performance in these latest rankings, which reflect the interdisciplinary approach in which our community works together, with our partners, to address some of the world’s most pressing issues. 

“The University is steadfastly committed to work in collaboration with academic, business and industry partners across the world to lead real change in some of the most pressing areas of inequality and sustainability. 

"This is highlighted in Exeter’s strong performance, particularly in SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals – which reaffirms the long-term benefits of our national and international partnerships.” 

Exeter’s global expertise and influence in climate science has also been recognised in a separate ranking. 

The Reuters Hot List has identified that the UK’s top five climate scientists, according to how influential they are, all come from Exeter. 

Four are from the University - Professor Pierre Friedlingstein (ranked 3rd), Professor Stephen Stich (14), Professor Neil Adger (18) and Professor Peter Cox (21), while Professor Richard Betts (17th) has a joint University -Met Office position. 

In total, there are 18 Exeter-based climate scientists in the top 1000 – six from the University of Exeter, nine from the Met Office, and three with joint-positions with both institutions. 

The list is compiled by combining three separate rankings – based on number of papers published, field citation ratios, and the altmetric score. 

In 2019, the University declared an environment and climate emergency, and a group of staff and students created a list of recommendations calling for "urgent action". A plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions is now in place, setting out how the University will cut emissions by 30% by 2025 (relative to 2018/19) – then 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2050, or sooner if possible. 

These carbon reduction targets are among the most ambitious set by UK universities and colleges, according to rankings published by Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK) earlier this year. The rankings – which place Exeter third among Russell Group universities and 14th in the higher education sector – suggest the University is one of those "leading the way". 

Exeter also recently topped the 2021 list of universities pledging to include the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within teaching, learning and assessment. 

Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK) ran the annual SDG "teach-in" campaign from 22 February to 5 March, encouraging educators and students to work together to focus on activism and education around the climate crisis, environment and social justice. 

This year's campaign was the most successful yet – and Exeter is the top university for both the number of staff pledging and the percentage of students reached. 

The University has produced videos outlining its commitments on climate and the environment: see the overview here: and the full video here: 

Date: 21 April 2021

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