Starting from the 2024 edition of the QS World University Rankings, QS was proud to include a new 5% Sustainability performance lens as part of our evolved methodology. This makes us the first of the major rankings to incorporate Sustainability into the flagship rankings table, helping to emphasize the importance of this topic to students, institutions, national policymakers and the wider sector.
In September 2023, we also introduced this into our inaugural QS Europe University Rankings, using the same methodology outlined below.
How it was scored
The score for this component was taken from the analysis of the 1st edition of the standalone Sustainability Rankings. Please refer to our published methodology to understand how the scores were compiled. However, as our inaugural Sustainability Rankings, published in October 2022, had a much smaller set of institutions evaluated (and thus scored) than the QS World University Rankings, some of the inclusion criteria were relaxed (e.g. paper thresholds) in order to increase the number of scored institutions. It is this revised set of underlying Sustainability scores (not to be confused with the final published scores) that were used as the input into the 1st edition of our QS Europe University Rankings.
We used the same data that was used to evaluate institutions for the Sustainability Ranking (October 2022). We did not accept new data submissions for this performance lens. As such, to have the best chances of reflecting your performance under this performance lens, institutions should begin by submitting data to the Sustainability Ranking. You can do this in QS HUB.
- in the evaluation for the Sustainability lens, paper thresholds per SDG were naturally lower than in the 1st edition of the standalone rankings, as paper count quartiles are calculated on a fuller set of institutions for which we have SDG research data
- in the evaluation for the standalone rankings, we required at least X of the Y SDG component scores in each SDG metric being 5 or higher (see the methodology of the corresponding SDG-related metrics, e.g. X = 3 and Y = 6 for the metric of 'Research Impact on SDGs for Sustainable Research' metric), while in the Sustainability lens we changed this condition to "at least X of the of the Y SDG component scores in each SDG metric being non-zero"
The overall correlation between the standalone Sustainability Rankings and Sustainability lens scores is 0.97. That demonstrates a very high consistency in both rankings. However, some individual swings may be observed and can be explained by the following: Once we added the underlying data for a much larger set of institutions in order to score them for the lens this has the effect of spacing out many institution's scores and ranks. In other words, we have stretched the shape of the distribution.
If your institution wishes to be represented with accurate data in the QS World or Europe Rankings, please ensure you submit data for the Sustainability Ranking. The 2024 edition of Sustainability Ranking, due to be published in December 2023, will be used for the WUR and Europe 2025 analyses