Dalhousie University has been recognized by Times Higher Education magazine for its work on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The publication’s University Impact Rankings rated Dalhousie 85th out of 767 universities that participated in its 2020 report.

Institutions were required to report their progress on at least six of the 17 UN goals. Dalhousie reported on seven and aims to increase that number for next year’s rankings.

“We heard really broadly from our research community that they feel like they’re tackling the world’s problems with their research, but how do we know? How do we measure that?” said vice-president research and innovation Alice Aiken. “The sustainable development goals are a great way to show that we’re working for a larger purpose.”

On its website, the UN describes the Sustainable Development Goals as “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” They include metrics such as eliminating poverty, achieving gender equality and cultivating global development partnerships.

Dalhousie drew heavily on the UN targets when it developed its Research and Innovation Strategic Plan in 2018, according to Aiken.

The Impact Rankings are part of Times Higher Education’s broader project to rate the overall quality of major post-secondary institutions. First place went to the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

To participate, schools were required to file extensive documentation about both their research activities and the steps they were taking within their own communities. Dalhousie began preparing nearly a year in advance and is now readying for the 2021 list.

Aiken said that an example of Dalhousie’s work on the UN goals is its participation in the Ocean Frontier Institute, which includes several Atlantic Canadian Universities, as well as European researchers, and is focused on using a combination of engineering and social sciences to improve ocean health.

All told, said Aiken, Times Higher Education rated Dalhousie on Metric No.  3, “good health and well-being”; Metric No.  6, “clean water and sanitation”; Metric No.  9, “industry, innovation, and infrastructure”; Metric No.  10, “reduced inequalities”; Metric No.  14, “life below water”; Metric No.  16, “peace, justice and strong institutions”; and Metric No.  17, “partnerships”.

“What the UN said was if we solve these problems by 2030, we will live in a better world. And Dalhousie is part of that,” added Aiken. “It’s very motivating for people to see themselves as part of the bigger picture.”


Disclosure: Dalhousie is a client of Entrevestor.