USM tops global Times Higher Education Impact Rankings in UNSDG category for peace, justice and strong institutions

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has achieved a remarkable milestone by securing the top global spot in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2024. USM ranked first in the peace, justice, and strong institutions category (SDG16) under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).

USM’s research on peace and justice, and its participation as advisers for government and policies on academic freedom, won the institution the top spot.

Additionally, USM emerged top 10 in the SDG 17 category on partnerships for the goals, by securing the ninth place.

For Southeast Asia’s highest-ranked university, USM comes 18th in the overall category which is a steep decline from USM’s fourth placing in the previous year.


USM also secured the 85th position in the climate action category (SDG 13).

A total of 29 institutions from Malaysia participated in the THE Impact Rankings this time around, compared to 24 institutions in 2023 — an increase of 20.8 per cent.

Other Malaysian universities have also demonstrated their commitment to the UNSDGs in several other categories in the THE Impact Rankings.


In the decent work and economic growth category (SDG 8), Sunway University earned a joint 14th position, while Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) secured the 56th rank in the industry, innovation and infrastructure category (SDG 9).

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) ranked 72nd in the reduced inequalities category (SDG 10) while the University of Malaya (UM) secured a joint 39th position in the sustainable cities and communities category (SDG 11).

The ranking evaluated 2,152 institutions from 125 countries’ by assessing the universities’ contributions towards achieving the 17 UNSDGs, which encompass a wide range of global challenges.

Western Sydney University is the overall top university in the world.

The THE Impact ranking is structured as one overall ranking and 17 SDG rankings, one for each of the UNSDG. To be ranked in the overall ranking, institutions must submit data for SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals) and at least three SDGs of their choice.

Entering its sixth year, this ranking is the only global benchmark in evaluating universities’ contributions to UNSDG and their commitment to sustainability. It assesses institutions across four critical areas: research, stewardship, outreach, and teaching.

THE said that evidence scores are based both on whether the university has the activity measured and the quality of the evidence they provided to support their claim.

“There’s no doubt about it — universities in Southeast Asia are some of the best in the world in spearheading efforts to tackle the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals topping two individual SDGs.

“There is far greater participation in the ranking from universities in the region than ever before — and the increase is huge — showing how much tackling the goals and creating social and economic impact means to them and the communities they work with.

“For anyone wanting to know where the new rising star universities are they need to look at Indonesia and Malaysia, which have shown to the world their outstanding achievement in this ranking,” Phil Baty, Times Higher Education’s chief global affairs officer, said.


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