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 2023 THE University Impact Rankings.


Manchester’s top ranking comes from a record assessment of 1,705 universities from 115 countries/regions. As well as ranking first in the UK, The University of Manchester is also the only UK institution in the global top 10 and the only university in the world to rank in the top ten in every year the Impact Rankings have been running. In addition, the University attained the top spot for SDG 15 – Life on Land and was third for SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities and SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production.

The ranking, now in its fifth year, is the world’s only one that measures universities’ contributions to the UN SDGs and assesses their commitment to sustainability across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach and teaching.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester said: “At The University of Manchester social responsibility is a core goal and is very important to us. So, we’re delighted to be ranked first in the UK, first in Europe and second in the world in this year’s THE Impact Rankings, which are based on our performance against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 


“This builds on our performance in previous years, where we’ve been a global top 10 university for five years running – the only university in the world to do this. 


“These Impact Rankings cover the social and environmental contribution of universities across their full range of functions – through their research, their students, their public engagement and their operations – and we’re proud to be part of this ever-growing community of universities around the world leading work to a make a difference.” 


The UK has the most universities in the top 100 of the overall table with 26. British universities’ progress towards tackling the world’s greatest challenges are laid out in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2023.


Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer, THE, commented: “The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, now in its fifth year, is establishing itself as one of the world’s most important university rankings.  

“It moves away from the traditional and more narrow approach to rankings and looks at far broader issues – examining how universities’ are improving our world.


“I’m especially impressed to see how well British universities are doing – taking more than a quarter of the top 100 places in the overall ranking and with a real diversity of institutions showing excellence. It is testament to how seriously those institutions take those critically important goals and how the UK higher education sector is taking a global lead on international sustainability issues. 


“It is also inspiring to see even more universities participate and see countries that don’t normally rank so highly do so well.  


“This is an extremely valuable tool for universities, governments, funders and policymakers to understand how universities are supporting the drive to meet the UN SDGs and what must be done to improve their performance even further in this massively important area. 


“The rankings are also vital for millions of prospective students who are increasingly demanding to see evidence that the universities they consider for their education are committed to sustainability and to helping them to become sustainably minded citizens.”


Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility at The University of Manchester who leads the institution’s entry to the ranking, said: “The evidence we submitted covers work from a wide range of our functions – our cultural institutions, equality, diversity and inclusion, widening participation, research impact, public and civic engagement, the student experience and reporting on the SDGs. Everyone in our University community should therefore take enormous pride in this result.”


Impact Rankings 2023: overall top 10

Western Sydney University Australia 1
The University of Manchester United Kingdom 2
Queen’s University Canada 3
Universiti Sains Malaysia Malaysia 4
University of Tasmania Australia 5
Arizona State University (Tempe) United States 6
University of Alberta Canada =7
RMIT University Australia =7
Aalborg University Denmark =9
University of Victoria Canada =9
Western University Canada =9


View the full Impact Rankings 2023 results