USC first in Qld, earns top-5 global spot in impact ranking

USC Campus

The University of the Sunshine Coast has topped Queensland in the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking for 2022, and in one category secured a top-5 global position.

USC placed fifth among 634 universities worldwide for Clean Water and Sanitation in the rankings that assess universities for proven successes in addressing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The growing university was highest-ranked in Queensland, topping the state in the categories for Clean Water and Sanitation, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life on Land and Partnerships for the Goals.

Overall, USC ranked equal 31st from 1,406 universities worldwide, and improved its position to seventh in Australia.

USC Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Helen Bartlett said the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings were a particularly relevant benchmark for a rapidly growing university with a focus on impact and community benefit.

“This is the only global performance rankings that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which are a blueprint to ensure we can achieve a better and more sustainable future for all,” Professor Bartlett said.

“For us, a high global position benchmarks us as a rapidly growing university that is addressing emerging challenges to ensure we can all thrive and prosper.

“It means our researchers are finding solutions that are working, our students are learning to create global solutions, and that we are practicing our sustainability values every day on our campus by ensuring our policies align with goals backed by the United Nations.”

USC placed in the top three percent globally for the Climate Action SDG, the top two percent for Partnerships for the Goal, top three percent for Life on Land and top four percent for Life Below Water.

USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Ross Young said multiple innovations and research projects at the university’s five campuses through Sustainable USC, as well as work in the community, had contributed to the outcome.

“Multiple smaller projects have come together to make a sizeable impact on how we use and reuse water, as well as how we research, engage and work with our communities to improve water management more broadly,” Professor Young said.

“Among the projects we highlighted in our submission were student projects, including an evaporation management device for farms, our water policies on campus, our international research into microbial activity in seawater, and citizen science programs to monitor our coastlines.

“We also use the lake system at our Sunshine Coast campus to top up the swimming pool. Some of that water also goes into chillers connected to our on-campus solar-powered water battery, which cuts energy use on campus by 35 percent simply by storing water for our air-conditioners.

“That water battery, a global university first, also factored into our strong ranking for Climate Action.”

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