QS Sustainability Rankings

In October 2022 QS introduced their new QS Sustainability Ranking, comparing 700 of the world's top universities against a range of environmental and social sustainability metrics, to see which universities are doing the most to tackle the world's greastest environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges. 

The ranking is designed to reflect performance across both these two aspects – environmental and social – with a clear focus on outward impact. This means the ranking will focus much more on research impact and alumni outcomes (are graduates going on to work in sustainable careers?) than on-campus measures like renewable energy sources and recycling initiatives. 

The most successful universities in this ranking are those which are able to demonstrate sustainability outwardly. National-level data has also been included, covering aspects such as safety and tolerance, clean air and water, and tolerance and freedom.

What it Measures:

The eight indicators that determine the QS Sustainability Rankings are split into two sections: 

Environmental Impact (50%)

  • Sustainable Institutions (35%): considers whether a university holds membership in officially-recognised climate action or sustainability groups, has a publicly available sustainability strategy and energy emissions report, has student societies focused on environmental sustainability, and a published commitment to becoming NetZero
  • Sustainable Education (40%): looks at alumni outcomes and academic reputation within earth, marine and environmental sciences courses, and the availability of courses that embed climate science and/or sustainability within the curriculum. If a university has a research centre dedicated to environmental sustainability, further points are gained
  • Sustainable Research (25%): assesses the university’s research activity around the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals and whether the government is funding research and development in this area.  

Social Impact (50%)

  • Equality (30%)assesses institutions on a variety of measures including the proportion of female students and faculty, the availability of public equality, diversity and inclusion policy, and the disability support available
  • Knowledge Exchange (20%)measures universities on their commitment to knowledge transfer in collaboration with less-economically-supported institutions, and a university’s inclination to partner with other institutions and organisations. 
  • Impact of Education (20%)looks at the university’s research into quality education, alumni impact and academic reputation in relevant social subjects, and how free students and academics are in pursuing their research without censorship.  
  • Employability and opportunities (20%)gives each university an employer reputation score and an employment outcomes score, based on how prepared students are for successful careers. Universities are also assessed on research into work and economic growth, and peace, justice and strong institutions, as well as the rate of unemployment within the country they’re based in. 
  • Quality of Life (10%)used to understand an institution’s commitment to wellbeing within and outside of the university. We also look at research activity into quality of life, health options on campus and air quality in the region, for example. 



QS Sustainability Rankings Results

In the inaugural QS Sustainability Rankings released in October 2022, University of Galway achieved a sustainability ranking of 161-170 in the world (no 2 in Ireland) out of 700 global universiities. This ranking was introduced in 2022 to provde a framework to show how universities are taking action to tackle the world's Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) challenges. 

University of Galway's results in each of the two ranks that make up the overall rank are detailed below:

Environmental Impact Rank: 147

Social Impact Rank: 227