General information on ranking

Name of the ranking THE Impact Rankings
Geographical scope Global
Status of the ranking independent
Name of person in charge of ranking Phil Baty
E-mail of person in charge of ranking
Website of the ranking
Publication frequency annual
First year of publication 2019
Most recent year of publication 2023
Date of last update 2023-07-17
Ranking organization Times Higher Education
Website of the methodology

THE Impact Rankings assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ranking uses carefully caibrated indicators to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons across four areas: research, outreach, stewardship and teaching. Universities can submit data on as many of these SDGs as they are able. Each SDG has a series of metrics that are used to evaluate the performance of the university on that SDG, which means there is no common methodology for all SDGs, each SDG has its specific methodology.

Any university that provides data on SDG 17 and at least three other SDGs is included in the overall ranking. As well as the overall ranking, the results of each individual SDG in 17 separate tables are also published. A university’s final score in the overall table is calculated by combining its score in SDG 17 with its top three scores out of the remaining 16 SDGs. SDG 17 accounts for 22% of the overall score, while the other SDGs each carry a weight of 26%. This means that different universities are scored based on a different set of SDGs, depending on their focus.

There are three categories of metrics within each SDG:

Research metrics

They are derived from data supplied by Elsevier. For each SDG, a specific query has been created that narrows the scope of the metric to papers relevant to that SDG.

Continuous metrics

They measure contributions to impact that vary continually across a range – for example, the number of graduates with a health-related degree. These are usually normalised to the size of the institution.


When HEIs are asked about policies and initiatives – for example, the existence of mentoring programmes – the metrics require universities to provide the evidence to support their claims. In these cases, credit is given for the evidence and for the evidence being public. These metrics are not usually size normalised.

Additional information

  • Type of publication: internet, print - magazine, newspaper
  • Internet users access to ranking: open access
  • Language of publication: English
  • Main target groups: higher education institutions, policymakers, governments and funding agencies, students and parents
  • Level of comparison: institutional: 1591
  • Major dimensions covered: research, teaching
  • Structure of presentation: multi-indicator ranking, ordinary presentation (league tables)
  • Data sources: data collected from HEIs by ranking organization, third-party database (data not provided by HEI)
  • Quality assurance of ranking: periodic consultancy
  • Website of the ranking organization:
  • Types of the ranking organization: commercial/for-profit (incl. media)
  • Types of rankings: specialized