The University of Szeged is ranked among the best 200 universities in the world in the latest Times Higher Education ranking, which examined the higher education economy, social impact and responsibility of the institution. In the ranking which is based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nation, SZTE is the best Hungarian institution with the ranking 101–200th place.
The Times Higher Education Impact Ranking launched in 2019 examines the third mission activities of higher education institutions around the world. This special list measures the institution’s social, economic impact and its responsibility is based on the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The University of Szeged has an outstanding performance in the ranking again this year: the SZTE is the only Hungarian institution that has been ranked among the 300 best universities in the world in all 17 goals (SDGs) on the latest list of THE, despite the fact that the number of the institutions who completed the questionnaire increased about one and a half to two times compared to the previous years on both the accumulative and the territorial lists.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The institution can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in many ways, the institutions impact on their surrounding environment is also taken into account when creating the list. The ‘added social value’ is an important aspect created by the institution which through an institution can achieve good results with a smaller budget. In addition to the university education, research related results, good practices and developments of institutional operation and all other activities that have a value-creating effect in the narrower and wider environment of the university, from the dissemination of knowledge to governmental expertise, each of these aspects can support the implementation of SDGs.
In the 2020 comprehensive list, the University of Szeged was ranked in the 101–200th place. This places the SZTE among the best 13%, taking into account the 767 universities were included in the list. With this result, the SZTE earned the best result in Hungary.
In addition to reducing poverty and food waste, the development of efficient food production and processing methods; affordable and clean energy; industry, innovation and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities; the reduction of inequality, the protection of life under water and land ecosystems; peace, truth and strong institutions were taken into account.
Based on SDG 1 on no poverty, the University of Szeged was ranked the 53th out of 372 examined institutions. This is the best result among Hungarian education institutions. Metrics, such as research on eliminating poverty, the proportion of student receiving financial aid, providing social services or charitable activities affecting local groups were examined.
In addition to reducing poverty and food waste, the development of efficient food production and processing methods as well as the transfer of knowledge (not only to university education, but also to local farmers and producers) were important key aspects in the development of the list on zero hunger (SDG 2). Of the 290 institutions included on the list, SZTE ranked 66th, which resulted in 1st place in Hungary.
In the field of good health and wellbeing, the University of Szeged ranked 101–200th place out of the examined 620 institutions. The list was compiled by measuring, among others, the number of students in health education, health awareness development, life management counseling and access to sports facilities.
The result of the University of Szeged is commendable in the ranking measuring quality education (SDG 4). Of the 676 institutions on the list, SZTE ranked 201–300th place. Key indicators in compiling this list included the number of graduates, the provision of conditions for teacher training and lifelong learning, free access to educational and educational resources, opportunities for the social environment outside the university (cultural programs, science promotion courses) and the existence of talent development programs with local schools and communities.
The University of Szeged also ranked 201–300th place out of 548 universities for its efforts in gender equality (SDG 5). Nationally, this resulted in a tie for first place in Hungary. This year’s rankings were based on the following key indicators: the number of female students, lecturers and researchers and also the involvement of female professionals, educators and scientists.
On the list of clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) 330 institutions have been compared. The SZTE is placed between the 101–200th universities. This position is a shared first place considering the Hungarian universities. Indicators, such as water consumption per person, water usage and care, water reuse and water in the community were measured when compiling the list.
As the best Hungarian higher education institution, the University of Szeged has a place among the 101–200th universities for the list of affordable and clean energy (SDG 7). Metrics, such as energy use, density, energy and community as well as university measures and educational programmes – regarding energy consumption, energy efficiency, energy waste – were taken into consideration when reviewing 361 examined institutions.
On the list of decent work and economic growth (SDG 8) 480 institutions were examined, and the SZTE is between the 201–300th place. Factors, such as employment practice (e.g.: activities of unions, policies on discrimination, policy guaranteeing equivalent rights etc.), number of students with work placements for more than a month and the number of employees on contracts of over 24 months were examined.
Considering the number of university spin-offs, income generated by subject areas and research and innovation activities was important when compiling the list of SDG 9, industry innovation and infrastructure. On the list of 494 institutions the University of Szeged is among the best 101–200th. This is the best result among the ranked Hungarian universities.
The SZTE is also the best among the Hungarian universities when it comes to measurements for reduced inequalities (SDG 10). This year, 459 universities are measured and the SZTE is placed among the 201–300th institutions. Indicators, such as the operation of a diversity and equality committee, non-discriminatory policies and their implementation, providing accessible facilities and supporting services for people with disabilities, number of first degree international students from developing countries, number of students and staff with disabilities were examined when constructing this list.
The SZTE was ranked among the 101–200th place on a global level, as first among ranked Hungarian higher education institutions in terms of sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11). Metrics were, among others, public access to buildings or monuments and natural heritage landscapes that are of cultural significance, spend on local arts and heritage, maintenance of local art groups as well as incentive on healthy lifestyle and to promote sustainable commuting.
As for responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), the University of Szeged was ranked as 101–200th as well. This resulted in a tie for first place among ranked Hungarian higher education institutions. The list consisting of 360 institutions in 2020 was put together, among others, along the following metrics: policies around use minimization of plastic and disposable items, a policy on waste disposal covering hazardous materials, the amount of waste as well as of waste sent to landfill and recycled.
Another issue examined in THE rankings was climate action (SDG 13), where the University of Szeged was ranked the 101–200th place. Higher education institutions were evaluated by environmental education and research, cooperation with local government and/or local community groups, total energy used, low carbon energy use and energy used from no fossil fuels.
The SZTE was ranked as the best Hungarian institution concerning a new SDG covering life below water (SDG 14), thus making the University of Szeged the 22th in the issue concerned out of 242 ranked institutions. When the list was complied, the following metrics were taken into consideration: supporting aquatic ecosystems through education and action as well as raising awareness on preserving fresh-water ecosystems. This is the best result among ranked Hungarian institutions.
Out of 268 higher education institutions, the SZTE was ranked as the 66th regarding life on land (SDG 15), producing the best Hungarian result in this field. Metrics, such as educational programmes, third-mission activities and events aimed to promote conservation and sustainable utilisation of the land as well as to maintain biodiversity (e.g. international collaboration on protecting endangered species and restoring habitat) were considered.
On the ranking of peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16), a total of 453 institutions were examined, and the University of Szeged was ranked between the 101–200th position. Among Hungarian higher education institutions examined in this regard, the SZTE was ranked as the best. Among others, the number of total graduates from law and enforcement related courses and providing specific expert advice to different political stakeholders were taken into account.
As for partnership for the goals (SDG 17), 807 institutions were ranked; the proportion of all SDG research with international co-authorship, relationships with NGOs, regional and national government were examined when compiling the list. Sharing the best result among Hungarian higher education institutions, the SZTE was ranked between the 101–200th position.
These results prove the commitment of the University of Szeged towards the Development Goals adopted by the United Nations, whether it comes to social wellbeing and related educational, research activities and service providing; dissemination of knowledge; preserving human, social, cultural and environmental values; social, economic and environmental responsibility or promoting sustainable development.