Aerial photo of Plymouth

The University of Plymouth has maintained its position as one of the world’s top five universities for marine research and teaching in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022.

The rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In relation to SDG 14: Life Below Water, the University was ranked fourth out of more than 450 universities for the quality of its marine research and teaching and its efforts to reduce the impact of campus activities on the marine environment.

It was also ranked 15th worldwide for SDG 13: Climate Action, recognising its work to drive climate innovation, its efforts to reduce energy use on its campuses, and its preparations for dealing with the consequences of climate change.

In its second appearance in the rankings, the University increased its scores in the majority of other categories, and confirmed its place among the top 5% of global universities for its commitment to sustainability.

Professor Dame Judith Petts DBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth and lead of Universities UK’s Climate Task and Finish Group, said:
“These results reinforce our long-term commitment to sustainability, our climate and the marine environment. Our whole systems approach is enabling our researchers to identifying the major challenges facing our planet, and providing the connections through which they can be enacted across industry, policy and society. By embedding sustainability practices in our courses, we are generating the leaders of tomorrow and empowering them to deliver public and environmental good. We are also translating our expertise into action, setting ambitious targets on our own campuses and inspiring other organisations in the South West and beyond to follow our lead.”
Professor Judith Petts CBE
Professor Judith Petts CBE
Over the past year, the University has continued its ambitious programme of marine research and teaching, and participated in a number of high profile local and global partnership initiatives.
It is the key academic partner in the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park, and was instrumental to it being awarded £9.5 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to make its vision of a park in the sea a reality.
It has also continued to lead a number of pioneering projects, including a long-running initiative monitoring ecological recovery in the Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area and launching FISH-INTEL, a €4 million project to identify the environmental conditions a range of important marine species need in order to thrive.
It has also worked with a range of partners to share its expertise nationally and internationally and, closer to home, formed Marine Research Plymouth – with the Marine Biological Association and Plymouth Marine Laboratory – to anchor Plymouth as the go-to UK destination for marine-related research and innovation.
The University’s first appearance in the SDG 13: Climate Action rankings has been driven by its efforts to respond to the global climate crisis.
The University has won numerous sustainability accolades in recent years, and declared a climate emergency in 2019 with a commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2025.
It has also been integral to community initiatives – such as the Devon Climate Emergency, Plymouth Plan for Plastics and Fab City Plymouth – and consistently found new ways of engaging with businesses across the South West.
That is now being expanded on through the £2.6 million Low Carbon Devon initiative, which has created a collaborative space on campus to inspire future sustainability research, education and partnership working.
THE SDG14: LIfe Below Water
THE SDG13: Climate Action

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