The University of Helsinki ranked 15th globally for social and economic impact

The international Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings measure the extent to which universities promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Measured by social and economic impact, the University of Helsinki ranks 15th in the world. The new THE University Impact Rankings, based on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, measure how well universities promote sustainable development through their activities and carry out their third mission, societal impact.

The rankings are based on the 17 goals of sustainable development defined by the UN in 2016, which relate to, among other things, the eradication of poverty, the promotion of equality, as well as actions against climate change and its consequences.

For the inaugural University Impact Rankings, THE chose 11 of these goals, of which partnerships for the goals was a compulsory indicator for all universities. In addition, universities had to provide answers to questions on at least three other goals. The University of Helsinki answered all of the questions concerning the 11 goals, a total of approximately 250 questions.

In addition to the compulsory indicator, partnerships for the goals, the overall ranking of universities was determined by the top three rankings out of the other goals. The overall ranking of the University of Helsinki, 15th, was based on the rankings given for the following sustainability goals: partnerships for the goals (9th), peace, justice and strong institutions (4th), sustainable cities and communities (6th) and climate action (11th).

Among Nordic universities University of Helsinki was the third, behind University of Gothenburg (6th) and KTH Royal Institute of Technology (7th) from Sweden. University of Auckland was ranked at the top. A total of 560 universities from 75 countries participated.

 “Being ranked 15th among the world’s universities is strong evidence that responsibility is not limited to rhetoric at the University of Helsinki. Instead, our research makes a significant impact. For example, the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science HELSUS and the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research INAR are conducting multidisciplinary research that helps understand climate change and solve sustainability challenges concerning the planet as a whole. Such a high ranking increases the attractiveness of the University of Helsinki as an institution that conducts impactful research,” states Rector Jari Niemelä.

“Our success also demonstrates the importance of every member of the academic community perceiving the sustainable development goals as part of their personal work. We are a significant societal operator whose choices have a real impact: among other things, we are a Fairtrade university, in addition to which we are currently increasing the use of renewable energy at our facilities.”

This is the first year the University Impact Rankings were released. Times Higher Education is one of the best known publishers of university rankings. In most rankings, universities around the world are assessed on the basis of the scope and impact of research, the quality of teaching, international activities and reputation.

Read more about the THE University Impact Rankings

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Read more about university rankings


Further information:

Rector Jari Niemelä

+358 2941 22211

Vice-Rector Tom Böhling (social responsibility, campus development, the wellbeing of the University community and bilingual affairs)

+358 2941 22251