KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — The Covid-19 pandemic has not stopped some of the world’s universities from achieving remarkable accomplishments, including two in Malaysia.
The Times Higher Education’s (THE) Impact Impact Ranking for 2020 listed Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Malaya at the 65th and 80th place respectively in its top 100 universities, based on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) that measure positive social and economic impact on the planet from climate action and gender equality to good health and wellbeing.
Other significant actions include unlocking the potential of clean fuel cell energy, developing affordable water purification tools, and even creating life-saving breathing aids for coronavirus patients.
Regionally three other universities also made the top 100 list, all of which are located in Indonesia. These are the University of Indonesia at 47th place, Universitas Gadjah Mada at 72nd place, and IPB University at 77th place, respectively.
In total, 857 universities from 89 countries and regions across six continents were ranked for at least one SDG, with 766 universities across 85 nations included in the overall ranking assessment.
At the top are Australasian universities, including New Zealand’s University of Auckland at first place, followed by Australia’s University of Sydney at second place, Western Sydney University at third place, and La Trobe University at fourth.
The remaining top 10 places include Arizona State University in Tempe, United States, at fifth place, Italy’s University of Bologna at sixth place, Canada’s University of British Columbia at seventh place, the United Kingdom’s University of Manchester at eighth place and King’s College London at ninth place, and Australia’s RMIT University at tenth place.
However, the top 20 universities this year also included two others from developing economies, with China’s Tongji University at 13th place, and Brazil’s University of Sao Paolo at 14th place.
THE’s chief knowledge officer Phil Baty said their Impact Ranking differs from its traditional counterpart as participation is just as important as overall position in which institutions actively demonstrate how seriously they take their role in achieving a sustainable world.
“We have had a phenomenal response from institutions across the globe. Universities from Afghanistan to Vietnam have taken part, and a number of top 100 spots are held by universities from countries and regions that have never appeared in the upper echelons of the traditional THE world rankings before, like Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico.
“These rankings prove that traditional barriers to success like wealth or research prestige don’t matter when it comes to doing great things for sustainability. It’s clear that universities give us a lot to be hopeful for,” he said in a statement.