Seventh in the world

KTH ranks seventh in the Times Higher Education (THE) global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The whole of KTH should take a bow. It is extremely pleasing to see that our long-term work is paying such dividends.

It is especially exciting that this high ranking is based on the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals. Universities are ranked according to 11 of the 17 Sustainability Goals, plus a total ranking. The rankings are exciting in their own right as they combine traditional academic data on scientific publications with information on how we manage our own activities. Being so highly placed means we are performing well from both perspectives.

To take part in the rankings, universities were invited to submit a substantial volume of information which required extra work. However, having the data available and so be able to participate in the rankings is also a kind of stamp of quality. Over 500 universities around the world took part in this year’s survey, and it can be assumed that universities that hoped to be able to perform well also participated.

In addition to our overall seventh place, KTH also ranked in the top 10 in three other areas. These are linked to working terms and conditions, innovations and climate. It is fun that these are such different areas. In the case of working terms and conditions, we have scored well for reasons such as doctoral students often having employment contracts and that a large proportion of our staff have permanent rather than temporary contracts. In terms of innovations, our research revenues and number of spin-off companies scored highly. When it comes to climate, things such as the work we are doing to integrate climate and other sustainability issues into teaching was praised. These examples illustrate how the THE survey questions have managed to embrace different parts of a university’s activities within research, education, cooperation and administration.

This is the first such ranking survey by THE and the questions will surely be further developed in various ways. For example, they have said that the rankings will eventually cover all 17 sustainable development goals, plus more universities are bound to participate. This means that we will need to work hard to maintain our ranking and ideally, improve it. This is also line with the priorities that have been set out in Vision 2027, in our development plan, and out sustainability goals, for example. Something else that I think stands out in these fine rankings is the long-sighted approach we are taking in our work. This is something we need to firmly adhere to. Read more about our strategy concerning the work we are doing on sustainability issues in a piece I have written for the THE website.