News Release

U of M System ranks fifth in US in sustainability impact

Collage of images including a river, individual standing in a field looking away, and X-ray

For the third year in a row, the University of Minnesota participated in the Times Higher Ed (THE) Impact Rankings. The 2024 rankings evaluated 2,152 universities from 125 countries/regions, comparing their efforts to conduct teaching, research, outreach and stewardship that support a more sustainable, equitable and healthy future.

The U of M tied for fifth in the U.S. overall and in the top 10% worldwide. Notably, the U of M ranked among the top five in the U.S. for its work related to:

  • Clean water (No. 2 in the U.S., No. 26 in the world)
  • Climate action (No. 3 in the U.S., No. 53 in the world)
  • Zero hunger (No. 5 in the U.S., No. 24 in the world)
  • Health and well-being (tying for No. 5 in the U.S., No. 85 in the world)

“The University of Minnesota is one of America’s leading research universities and we are resolute in our commitment to fostering a sustainable future in Minnesota and beyond,” said Interim President Jeff Ettinger. “The results of this year's Times Higher Ed Impact Rankings reflect our unwavering dedication to this critical work, our systemwide ethos of responsible stewardship and our focus on shaping a better tomorrow for generations to come.”

THE Impact Rankings apply 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at achieving a better world by 2030, goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. These goals provide a shared blueprint for measuring progress and impact in advancing peace and prosperity for people and the planet.

The U of M is one of the few institutions worldwide to submit to the THE Impact Rankings as a university system, a point that distinguishes its results from its peers. The final submission included examples gathered from every U of M campus, statewide Extension and research station offices, and other systemwide initiatives.

“This year’s results demonstrate the University is improving its performance in — and expanding to address — areas of critical importance for Minnesota and the world, such as clean water,” said Shane Stennes, the University’s chief sustainability officer. “Over the past year, we implemented plans for how the U of M will address climate change on our campuses while growing the impact of University scholarship and engagement on climate issues.”

A full overview of the rankings and the methodology can be found on the THE Impact Ranking website. Further details of the University’s work related to the SDGs are available on the U of M SDG Initiative website

About the UMN Sustainable Development Goals Initiative
The University of Minnesota Sustainable Development Goals Initiative seeks to support and promote transdisciplinary research, teaching, and partnerships to mobilize the resources at the University to advance a more socially and environmentally sustainable future in Minnesota, the U.S., and the globe through grants, information, and opportunities linked to SDG targets and indicators. The Initiative is supported by the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance in partnership with several administrative units including the Office for Public Engagement and the Office of Sustainability.