The University of Cape Town (UCT) has been ranked in the 101–200 band overall by the 2022 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, which measures the success of universities in delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of the six individual goals that UCT participated in, the institution performed the best in no poverty (Goal 1) and gender equality (Goal 5), coming 31st and 37th, respectively.
UCT ranked in the top 100 for an additional two goals, ranking 55th for SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals) and 95th for SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).
“These rankings go beyond the usual measurements of the performance and outputs of universities in terms of quantity and quality to measure impact,” said UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng. “This makes them incredibly important globally and for UCT as we aim to be a university with impact.”
Sustainability along with transformation and excellence comprise the three key pillars of UCT’s Vision 2030.
“Not only do these rankings help us track our progress towards the SDGS,” said Professor Phakeng, “but they push us to be more environmentally and socially sustainable by improving the functioning of the university through, for example, addressing gender equality and understanding our carbon footprint.”
“We aim to be a university with impact.”
The THE Impact Rankings offers a way to gauge this on the international stage via the widely adopted SDGs: 17 interlinked global goals that aim to help deliver “a better and more sustainable future for all”. THE introduced their Impact Rankings as a pilot in 2019, but this is only the second year that UCT has participated.
UCT submitted information for six SDGs, four of which ranked among the top 100 globally:
- SDG 1 – no poverty: 31st (tied)
- SDG 3 – good health and well-being: 201–300 band
- SDG 5 – gender equality: 37th
- SDG 10 – reduced inequalities: 101–200 band
- SDG 16 – peace, justice and strong institutions: 95th (tied)
- SDG 17 – partnerships for the goals: 55th (tied)
Each university’s overall score and rank are determined by its combined performance in its top three SDGs (each counting 26%) and SDG 17 (counting 22%). For this overall score, UCT was placed in the 101–200 band.
Some insight into the Impact Rankings
To produce their rankings, THE uses indicators in four broad areas:
- Research: universities create knowledge to address the world’s problems and help to deliver the SDGs.
- Stewardship: universities act as stewards of their resources, including physical resources, employees, faculty and students. This is a key factor in delivering the SDGs.
- Outreach: the work that universities do with their local, regional, national and international communities is another way that they can have an impact on sustainability.
- Teaching: teaching plays a critical role in ensuring that there are enough skilled practitioners to deliver on the SDGs and in making sure that alumni take forward the key lessons of sustainability into their future careers.
UCT’s work towards the SDGs
During 2021, UCT launched an online portal highlighting the research work being done at UCT to address the SDGs.
The portal showcases the research work and achievements at UCT to address each of the 17 SDGs.
UCT welcomes opportunities for collaboration on the SDGs from other universities, national and local government, non-governmental organisations and civil society.
MAY 2022 | STORY STAFF WRITER. PHOTO ROBYN WALKER.