Durham world top 50 for number of Sustainable Development Goals

We’ve been named as one of the world’s top universities for contributing to a number of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A new set of rankings places us in the top 50 in four SDGs: Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption and Production; Life on Land; and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

We also appear in the world top 100 in a further seven SDGs: Reduced Inequalities, No Poverty, Life Below Water, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Climate Action, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and Zero Hunger.

Social and economic impact

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings rate 766 universities from 85 countries, judging them on research, outreach and stewardship to measure their social and economic impact in relation to SDGs.

Highlights at Durham include:

  • Research by our award-winning Durham Infancy and Sleep Centre that has helped reduce rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) through evidence-based advice for health professionals and parents.
  • Work by our ROBUST project to regenerate former industrial brownfield sites by improving soil health and flood resilience leading to an improvement in community health and well-being.
  • Together with our partners at Durham Cathedral we manage the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes Durham Castle, home to University College , and the Special Collections and exhibition space at our Palace Green Library.
  • Helping to further the advancement of women in peace mediation through the work of Durham Law School.
  • Our Greenspace initiative which is developing the environmental sustainability of the University including policies on travel, energy use, waste and fair trade.


In addition the PhD students in the Durham University Global Challenges Centre for Doctoral Training are working to solve specific global challenges linked to the United Nations’ SDGs.

Durham is recognised as one of the world’s leading universities with students and staff from more than 130 countries.

We also play a significant role in our local community and we are developing the University so we continue to be a sustainable contributor to international and national research and innovation while playing a key part in the future of our region.

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