University of Nottingham ranked among world’s top higher education institutions tackling global challenges

The University of Nottingham has been recognised alongside the world’s top higher education institutions that are driving positive global change and helping to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems including poverty, climate change and social injustice.

Nottingham has been ranked in the Top 200 in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2024, which are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The university has been ranked in the Top 100 for a number of individual SDG areas – Zero Hunger, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Climate Action, Life Below Water and Life on Land.

The ranking measures the performance of more than 2,000 institutions in 125 countries and regions across their research, stewardship, outreach and teaching activities in relation to all 17 of the individual development goals.

The announcement came today (12 June) at the Global Sustainable Development Congress in Bangkok where 3,000 global thought leaders and innovators have gathered to discuss urgent solutions to the international sustainability emergency.

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham Professor Jane Norman delivered a keynote speech to delegates at the four-day congress yesterday (Tuesday 11 June) on the topic of The Sustainability Crises of Our Time: Energy Decarbonisation and Sustainable Industry, alongside Gita Wirjawan, honorary professor in the University of Nottingham’s School of Politics.

Professor Norman said:

“I’m very proud of the work the University of Nottingham carries out with partners that contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals and I’m delighted that we are ranked in the top 100 for a number of SDGs. The panel conversation with Gita Wirjawan was inspiring and it was fascinating to hear his thoughts on how to tackle these issues, particularly in relation the ASEAN region.  It is clear there is some way to go in achieving the SDGs and at the University of Nottingham, we recognise how important it is to work in partnership to tackle these global issues.

“I’m very grateful for our collaboration with Indonesia, and it was wonderful to meet with university partners, regional and national government leaders, university colleagues and inspiring students and hear about our shared ambitions in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. Our work in Indonesia is not only helping the planet, but it’s also helping local communities in West Java, and that is what we need to keep in mind as we collectively reach for net zero across the world. Our work with Ministry of Environment and Forestry will directly contribute to Indonesian carbon sequestration agenda to meet Indonesia’s NDC target. Together we are leading the way to a sustainable future, and I am honoured to be a part of that.”

Nottingham was ranked in the Top 100 in six of the SDGs:

Zero Hunger (79 out of 803 institutions)

Fighting hidden hunger

As part of an international research partnership funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the university is fighting hidden hunger, which affects millions across sub-Saharan Africa due to the nutrient deficiencies in their diet.

Clean Water and Sanitation (Joint 75 out of 867 institutions)

Blue-greening cities for climate change adaptation
The university works with partners in Nottingham and across the world to show that protecting communities against flood risk can also make them greener, healthier and more pleasant places to live.

Decent Work and Economic Growth (Joint 53 out of 1149 institutions)
The Rights Lab: fighting exploitation
The Rights Lab, the world’s largest group of modern slavery researchers, works with government and industry to protect workers from exploitation and bring an end to the blight of slavery.

Climate Action (Joint 86 out of 924 institutions)

Retrofit road map for city’s housing
University researchers are delivering a project that will inform the retrofit of Nottingham’s existing housing stock to improve energy efficiency and bring the city closer to its 2028 target for net zero emissions.

Life Below Water (Joint 63 out of 628 institutions)

Informing UN report on plastic marine pollution

Evidence-based recommendations from the university’s Water Works research group were presented to the United Nations Environment Assembly and informed its subsequent report on marine plastic pollution and call for urgent global action.

Life on Land (60 out of 741 institutions)

Living with elephants

The University of Nottingham Malaysia is helping safeguard the country’s elephants. By working with government and communities, researchers are informing elephant-friendly approaches to ease conflict between farmers and our biggest land animal.

During her visit to South-East Asia, Professor Norman also took part in a panel discussion on Driving Global Partnerships for Human Capital Development in Renewable Energy and Green Economy at Gedung Sate, Bandung, West Java’s government building in Indonesia, as well as a round table event hosted by the British Embassy which focussed on Women in Leadership.

It came as part of the university’s wider partnership activity in the region. The university is a key member of the UK-Indonesia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Sciences (UKICIS), which aims to build resilience against pandemic, climate change and natural disasters.

UKICIS, which brings together the universities of Nottingham, Warwick and Coventry in the UK, with Institut Teknologi Bandung, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Institut Pertanian Bogor, and Universitas Indonesia, has been recognised by the UK government as a driver for research and innovation in the country.

Among the issues that the university is helping Indonesia to tackle is its commitment to net zero. The university is a key partner in growing Indonesia’s EV infrastructure and skills base, and is helping to deliver its ambition to be Southeast Asia’s electric vehicle powerhouse.

The university’s Faculty of Engineering has a strong track record of working with the Indonesian Ministry of Transport and its experts have helped develop policy and plans for Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure development across the country.

Building on this success, and working with the Governor of West Java, the university is opening a new Net Zero Translation Centre in Bandung, the capital of West Java, in summer 2024. Working with the university, the centre will be a training hub, equipping industry with the skills to support the transition to a net zero economy.

The Net Zero Translation Centre in Bandung will focus on electrification of the transportation sector, upskilling workers to support Indonesia’s nascent EV infrastructure and training SMEs, polytechnics and high school students to adapt the country’s millions of two-wheelers into e-bikes and e-scooters.

Discover more about the University of Nottingham’s commitment to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Posted on 13 June 2024

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Georgia Cowdrey