University of Waterloo among top schools in the world for social and economic impact

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The University of Waterloo has been recognized for its social and economic impact related to its United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitments.

In its first-ever University Impact Rankings, the Times Higher Education measured the social and economic impact of over 500 universities from 75 countries related to their work on the SDGs.

Out of the universities measured, Waterloo ranked fifth in climate action, ninth in sustainable cities and communities, 11th in partnerships for the goals, and shared the 13th spot overall.

“The University of Waterloo has long valued the principles underpinning the United Nations SDGs, particularly as they relate to gender equality, innovation and sustainability,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor at Waterloo. “Given the global imperative in these areas, our focus an attention will only intensify in the months and years to come.” 

The University of Waterloo is home to Canada’s largest environment faculty and, in partnership with the Waterloo Global Science Initiative, is the founding institution of Canada’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). 


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The SDSN’s mandate is to catalyze and convene Canada’s post-secondary institutions to foster practical solutions and joint learning opportunities toward the achievement of the SDGs.

Since launching in May 2018, SDSN Canada has undertaken a number of initiatives, including the development of an SDG Cities Index for Canada, engagement with students across the country on how to implement the SDGs on their campus, and the development of a database on Canadian researchers working towards the SDGs. 

Moving forward, SDSN Canada plans to convene an annual national SDG gathering across academic, business, government, and civil society, and to further develop educational curriculum to teach students the skills needed to implement the SDGs in their career.

“We all have a role to play in tackling the toughest challenges facing the planet,” said Jean Andrey, dean of Waterloo's Faculty of Environment and Chair of SDSN Canada. “Our goal as an institution and founding member of SDSN Canada is to harness the amazing potential we have in Canada, connect talent and resources, and foster collaboration that can actually make a difference.” 

The Times Higher Education released their 2019 University Impact Rankings today.

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