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NC State Rises In Global Impact Ranking

NC State University is among the top 200 universities in the world for global sustainable impact, according to the Times Higher Education’s 2022 Impact Rankings that measure university contributions to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

NC State first participated in the Impact Rankings last year, finishing in the top 300 globally. This year’s rise to the top 200 globally and NC State’s tie for 7th place among U.S. universities comes amid a 25% increase in the number of universities participating in the rankings.

More than 1,400 universities from 106 countries/regions received an overall ranking, which is based on a university’s combined score for SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals), as well as the top three highest scores in the remaining SDGs. The Impact Rankings assess university contributions to the SDGs in multiple areas, including teaching, research, outreach and campus stewardship.

“I am very pleased to see NC State’s rise in these global Impact Rankings,” remarks Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Warwick Arden. “It’s reflective of our commitment to sustainability, and the recognition elevates our academic reputation and visibility around the world.”

NC State Scores High in Several Categories

In addition to a top 200 overall score globally, NC State also ranked: 

  • 4th in the U.S. and 26th (tied) in the world for SDG 14 (Life Below Water), 
  • 5th in the U.S. and 50th in the world for SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 
  • 9th in the U.S. and top 200 globally for SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure)
  • Top 25% (out of 1,431) for SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals)
  • Top 3rd (out of 938) for SDG 5 (Gender Equality)
  • Top 200 for SDGs 2 (Zero Hunger), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 15 (Life on Land).

“The Impact ranking based on SDGs is important for NC State as a 21st-century land-grant university that measures how we address the global challenges and the impact we have had on society. It’s great to see NC State’s continued improvement in these rankings,” said Dr. Bailian Li, Senior Vice Provost for the Office of Global Engagement. 

University rankings such as this also play a role in recruiting students from around the world. 

“NC State ranking in the top 200 will certainly help attract more sponsored international students. Sponsors are always seeking new and innovative academic programs, research opportunities, and resources that can help prepare their future workforces to meet both local and global challenges; sustainability is one of the 21st-century challenges that sponsors are seeking to address through university placement,” said Steven Bergman, Director of Sponsored Student Programs. 

Each year, NC State hosts around 200 sponsored students whose studies at NC State are either partially or fully funded by their governments, employers or non-profit agencies. 

A Collaborative Effort 

NC State’s rise in rankings comes alongside a growing campus effort to raise awareness about the SDGs. 

In addition to ongoing efforts from the NC State Sustainability Council and others to reach university sustainability goals, NC State Global also launched a new strategic framework last year called Global Learning for All, which incorporates the SDGs as a way to build a more equitable and sustainable world.

NC State has many campus events that raise awareness of sustainability such as Earth Fair, which is one of the signature events of NC State's Earth Month each April.
NC State has many campus events that raise awareness of sustainability such as Earth Fair, which is hosted by the University Sustainability Office as one of the signature events of NC State’s Earth Month each April.

Earlier this spring, an article in the United Nations Chronicle highlighted NC State’s development of an SDG Course Inventory, which identifies more than 750 undergraduate and graduate courses related to one or more of the SDGs.

Co-curricular programs such as the Social Innovation Fellows, the SDGs@3 workshop series and other sustainability outreach efforts educate students about the SDGs and inspire them to take action. In March, NC State hosted its second annual SDG Action and Awareness Week of campus events that included an SDG Expo for staff, faculty and students.