USM PENANG, 22 April 2020 – Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) remained its position as the top university in Malaysia in the recently released Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2020, that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It is now ranked 65th in the world out of 766 institutions that participated in the rankings. This round USM participated in the evaluation of all the 17 SDGs compared to just 11 SDGs in the previous year.


For 2020, USM has been ranked 12th best in the world in SDG 1 (No Poverty). Apart from that, USM emerged in the top 50 in SDG 4 - Quality Education (ranked 42nd in the world), SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy (ranked 34th in the world) and SDG 17 - Partnership for the Goals (ranked 36th in the world). 

In the top 100, USM scored in SDG 2 - Zero Hunger (#65); SDG 3 - Good Health and Wellbeing (#73); SDG 5 - Gender Equality (#66); SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation (#88); and SDG 14 - Life Below Water (#83).

USM is also ranked top 200 in 6 SDGs, namely SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities); SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities); SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production);  SDG 13 (Climate Action); SDG 15 (Life on Land) and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

USM Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dr. Faisal Rafiq Mahamd Adikan said, USM is excited to have been listed as among the leader of the pack and managed to make the country proud in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2020.

“Although it may seem that there is a drop from the overall position of 49 (in 2019) to 65, it is very much understood as the methodology and evaluations are much stiffer than the previous year.

“We also noted the increase of participating institutions from 450 universities in 2019 to 766 in the 2020 listing and the expansion of evaluation from 11 goals to the full range of SDG's 17 goals,” he said while adding that the ranking measures universities commitment towards SDGs, and among others, tracks how many courses which contain SDGs as their underlying theme, what policies and best practices were implemented in ensuring a brighter future for the planet.

He expressed his gratefulness to the commitment shown by the staff, particularly the previous leadership, and students which have been embedded with the realization on the importance of creating impact to society at large.

He added, “Prior to the introduction of the SDGs, USM has actually started working on matters of impact since 2002 and this is a testament that the APEX agenda is critical in positioning the country as a nation of impact.”

USM believes that quality education can act as an agent of change that not only able to uplift the economic status of the society but also bring equality to the people of the world.

However, we have to work together to ensure the impact is being felt by many and opportunities are being shared equally without having anyone marginalized.

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