The University of Manchester

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 today (12 June) 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 per cent 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). 

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.” 

The University of Manchester came top in the world for SDG11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities. Initiatives supporting this include the Platinum Watermark for Public Engagement, the investment made in four public-facing cultural institutions and Creative Manchester initiative, a commitment to sustainable travel and world-leading research across all three Faculties into the effects of air pollution on health. 

The University was also ranked first in the world for SDG15 – Life on Land. Initiatives supporting this included research by the Manchester Institute for Biotechnology into soil microbial diversity, work to enhance and map our nature on campus and the commitment the University places on sustainable food procurement. 

Other areas where the University was shown to be a world leader include research impact towards SDG9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; the number of patents citing university research; the number of university spin-outs; the quality of the University’s SDG reporting; and on the commitment to educational for sustainable development through the School of Health Science’s free Public Health MOOC and interdisciplinary UCIL course unit on the SDGs

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.” 

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:   



Rank 2024  

Rank 2023  

Western Sydney University  




University of Manchester  

United Kingdom  



University of Tasmania  




Aalborg University  




RMIT University  




University of Alberta  




UNSW Sydney  




Queen’s University  




Arizona State University (Tempe)  

United States  



University of Exeter  

United Kingdom  



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:

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button