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Commitment to sustainable development recognised

26th June 2023

Northumbria University has been ranked among the world’s top institutions for sustainability and global stewardship in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023.

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs are central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

Now in its fifth year and with a new record number of entries, the 2023 THE Impact Rankings table ranked Northumbria joint 79th out of 1,591 institutions worldwide, and 21st in the UK.

The University scored highly across a number of SDGs, and most notably in SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG15: Life on Land, with global rankings of 7th and 22nd respectively.

Professor George Marston, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Projects leads the University’s strategic commitment to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He said: “Northumbria University is committed to supporting the response to some of the biggest challenges facing the world today, including the global fight for environmental sustainability and social justice for all.

“From institutional and individual commitments, through to cutting-edge research and impactful strategic partnerships, the University is taking action to help ensure a safer, more stable future for our planet.

“We are pleased to see our sustainable development efforts recognised so positively through THE’s Impact Rankings for 2023 and will continue with our work in this area through our research, teaching, campus and operations.”

Climate action on campus

Northumbria University Newcastle has been awarded £1.9m to replace gas boilers on campus at Coach Lane East with new low carbon heat pumps.

The funding comes from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and will contribute towards a £3.3m low carbon retrofit of Coach Lane East, which will also replace lighting with low energy LED lighting and install a new 100 kW solar PV array on the roof.

The project is part of the University’s Carbon Management Strategy 2020-2030 to be Net Zero Carbon by 2040 and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 300 tonnes per year.

Professor George Marston added: “We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme which enables us to undertake this exciting project. Moving away from fossil fuel heating is one of the biggest challenges in achieving our Net Zero Carbon ambition and this project will be a big step forwards towards that goal”.

Director of Programmes at Salix Finance Ian Rodger said: “We are proud to be working with the public sector on decarbonisation projects across the country reducing their carbon footprints and sharing expertise across the UK.

“This project will be a big step for the university towards meeting its net zero goals and will also provide a better environment for the students and the wider university community.”

It is expected that work on the low carbon heat pumps will start this summer, with completion in early 2024.

Find out more about how research at Northumbria is leading the fight against climate change and how the University is working towards each of the Sustainable Development GoalsVisit the Times Higher Education website to discover the full Impact Rankings.



·The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme provides grants for public sector bodies to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures. 

·The scheme supports the aim of reducing emissions from public sector buildings by 75% by 2037, compared to a 2017 baseline, as set out in the Heat and Buildings Strategy and the Net Zero Strategy in October 2021.

·The scheme, which is initiated by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, is delivered by Salix Finance, a DESNZ non-departmental public body.

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