VU's community involvement reflected in Times Higher Education Impact Ranking 2021

The Impact ranking of Times Higher Education (THE) strongly reveals the social commitment of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

05/03/2021 | 3:02 PM

rankingThe Impact ranking of Times Higher Education (THE) strongly reveals the social commitment of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. VU research and education of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is among the top 5 percent of 1115 participating universities worldwide when it comes to impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG's) Climate Action; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Gender equality and Reduced inequalities.

Diversity and sustainability
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam pays close attention to diversity and sustainability in its educational programs. One example is the A Broader Mind program where students learn to approach social issues from a variety of academic perspectives. During A Broader Mind and Community Service Learning courses, they use their knowledge to find solutions to pressing social issues and develop personal skills such as international collaboration. This is one of the VU activities around the SDGs where VU contributes to the sustainability goals.
The strong positioning in the THE Impact Ranking is in alignment with the institutional vision of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, e.g. to be a societal engaged, diverse and sustainable university. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has a clear vision and a clear set of ambitions when it comes to sustainability, which is defined in the VU Strategy 2020 – 2025. Sustainability is an integral part of teaching and research, operations management and the buildings at the VU campus. Our core values are stewardship, responsibility and consideration for future generations. One way this is done is by linking fundamental scientific knowledge with knowledge about how to implement sustainable changes in society. The Amsterdam Sustainability Institute (ASI) is a good example of this.

THE Impact Ranking
Released for the fourth year in a row, the THE impact ranking is based entirely on the structure of, and data on, the 17 SDGs. The contribution of universities is defined in the domains of research, outreach and stewardship towards the 17 SDGs. For the evaluation of the 1115 participating universities, a contribution is calculated for each university based on five SDGs: the four SDGs to which the university contributes most (specific), supplemented by its contribution to SDG 17 (overarching). The four SDGs to which VU University Amsterdam connects the most are (in order of greatest connection): 


-        SDG 13 Climate Action(#29), please see the VU-activities with respect to all SDG’s here,

-        SDG 9   Industry, Innovation and infrastructure (#37), please find more information regarding VU-entrepreneurship at this page,

-        SDG 5 Gender Equality (#45), en

-        SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities (#51), please find more information regarding VU-diversity at this page.  


In the THE Impact ranking, SDG 17 is the overarching and mandatory indicator, and is therefore included at each university. The overarching position of the university in the Impact ranking 2021 is in the range of 101-200.