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UCD ranked No.1 in Ireland in QS Sustainability Rankings 2024

Posted 5 December 2023

University College Dublin has been named in the top 50 in the (opens in a new window)QS World University Rankings for Sustainability, achieving the highest result in Ireland and ranking 24th in Europe.

The QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 Report compares 1,397 of the world’s universities against a range of metrics, to see which institutions are doing the most to tackle the world’s greatest environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges.

The University of Toronto was crowned the world’s most sustainable university, followed by the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), and the University of Manchester in third.

This year UCD has been ranked as number one in Ireland, up from third last year in the inaugural 2022 rankings, and is now =50th globally, having climbed over 120 places.

The impressive rise comes following the appointment of (opens in a new window)Professor Tasman Crowe as Vice President for Sustainability at UCD, a new top level role placing sustainability at the heart of the University's education, research, governance, operations, and engagement activities.

Professor Crowe, who has been in post since June 2023, said “this achievement reflects the high level of commitment of staff and students across the university to transitioning to more sustainable approaches and to the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which span climate change, biodiversity, inequality, poverty, and a range of other environmental, social, economic and governance challenges. The ranking underlines our excellence in education, research and operations and our demonstrated commitment to good governance, equality, health, and wellbeing and to partnership for impact.”  

“I’m looking forward to working with the UCD community to further enhance our contribution in the coming years and consolidate our position as a thought and action leader for sustainability,” he added.  

“UCD has long been a prominent contributor to sustainability, with great strength in energy, agri-environmental systems, the circular economy, and humanitarian action, for example, and through innovative educational programmes. It also has a real appetite for the kind of interdisciplinary approaches and wider partnerships that are needed.” 

“Recent examples include the bike library pilot initiative which was established through collaboration between the Energy Institute, the UCD Library and UCD Estates and has great potential for wider roll-out through other libraries and community organisations.”

To be included in the QS Sustainability 2024 Report institutions must be eligible for QS World University Rankings, QS Rankings by Region or QS Rankings by Subject. 

Each institution is evaluated in several areas across three categories: Environmental Impact, Social Impact, and the newly added Governance category. Institutes can rank separately in each of these categories, in all three of them, and overall. 

UCD’s strongest performance was in the Social Impact Category Score, with Equality the highest ranked indicator at 16th globally. 

It has a number of other ranked indicators in the top 100 worldwide, including Environmental Sustainability (93), Environmental Research (72), Knowledge Exchange (69), Employability and Outcomes (98), Health & Wellbeing (75), and Good Governance (56).

The Sustainability rankings provide a lens on which institutions are demonstrating a commitment to a more sustainable existence. Beyond this, it looks for outward evidence of this commitment - from the impact that alumni are making on solving climate issues, to the impact of research being done across the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

UCD has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, and played a direct role in the development of the SDGs through the advocacy of Professor Patrick Paul Walsh, UCD School of Politics and International Relations, who represented universities as a member of the UN Major Group for Science and Technology in the intergovernmental negotiations on the SDGs.

In 2020, in its first Sustainability Report, the University outlined a structured programme to embed the SDGs across its education, research, governance and engagement activities.  

As Vice President for Sustainability, Professor Crowe is establishing a Sustainability Unit which will engage across and beyond the campus to develop and implement a sustainability strategy to help drive progress towards a better relationship with nature and a fairer, more equitable society.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations

To contact the UCD News & Content Team, email: newsdesk@ucd.ie