RMIT number one globally for reducing inequality

RMIT number one globally for reducing inequality

RMIT has been ranked number one in the world for its efforts to reduce inequality within and among countries in the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings.

The University also ranked 10th overall, rocketing up from 82nd place in 2019.

Now in its second year, the THE impact rankings were designed to showcase progress against the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by measuring a university’s social and economic impact.

Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE said he was incredibly proud of the results.

“The Sustainable Development Goals enable us to ignite change and focus our collective efforts towards creating a more sustainable world,” he said.

“By uniting the passion and purpose of the RMIT community, and through our combined expertise, we can make a real and positive contribution.”

RMIT ranked 5th in the world for decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), an increase of 48 ranking places, and 12th for clean water and sanitation (SDG 6).

SDG 6 was a new addition to the THE impact rankings in 2020. 

In what was a 52-place increase, RMIT also rose to 15th for partnership for the goals (SDG 17) and ranked 21st for sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), 53rd for responsible consumption and production (SDG 12) and 58th for industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9).

RMIT’s improvements in 2020 can be attributed to the University’s exceptional work to address SDGs through partnerships and initiatives in the areas of social justice, inclusion, environmental management and operational practices.

Chief Operating Officer and Sustainability Committee Chairperson Dionne Higgins said she was delighted that RMIT had been recognised for its continued efforts across its entire operations.

“We are continuing to take giant strides forward thanks to the genuine and positive action of our passionate people.”

College of Design and Social Context (DSC) Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, Professor Ralph Horne, said the results also positively reflected RMIT’s strengths in research and academia.

“Our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals reflects our innovative learning and research which makes a real difference in addressing environmental challenges and social inequalities,” he said.

“By fostering thought leadership and new knowledge, we’re increasingly using the SDGs as a common language in deepening our relationships with like-minded research and industry partners.”

New Academic Street. Images courtesy of Siemens and Stewie Donn photography New Academic Street. Images courtesy of Siemens and Stewie Donn photography

The Vice-Chancellor said SDGs provided a unique and common platform for organisations, governments and the community to collaborate and tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.

“We remain committed to the SDGs and modelling institution-wide excellence across learning and teaching, governance, operations, research and leadership,” he said.

“As the world responds to COVID-19, this collective contribution and commitment to a brighter future has never been more important.”


Through the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and along with 11 other Australian universities, in 2017 RMIT made a public commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals. Read more about RMIT’s commitment and contribution.

*Note: The THE overall ranking score is generated from SDG 17 (up to 22% of the overall score), plus the three other strongest SDGs, for which an institution provides data (up to 26% of the overall score).


Story: Kate Milkins and Shelley Brady


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.