25th Workshop of the SDG–Universities Platform

The online workshop featured Duncan Ross of Times Higher Education and explored university impact for the SDGs.

On 21 June 2023 UNU-IAS organized the 25th workshop for the UNU SDG–Universities Platform (SDG-UP). The online event featured Duncan Ross, Chief Data Officer at Times Higher Education (THE), who shared insights on the 2023 Impact Rankings. The workshop engaged 44 participants from 20 universities across Japan.

Opening the session, Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS; Chair, SDG-UP) highlighted that the Sustainability Management Team of Hokkaido University presented at an international conference hosted by THE, which was a fruitful opportunity for universities to learn from each other.

Kensuke Fukushi (Academic Program Advisor, UNU-IAS) introduced Mr. Ross, who discussed how the SDGs can help to change perceptions of higher education and how universities can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Mr. Ross noted that there are 35,000 universities worldwide, whose economic activity accounts for 1.7 per cent of the world's gross domestic product, and that universities with economic influence could advance progress on the SDGs. He provided an overview of the THE Impact Rankings, and explained how to examine qualitative evidence for conducting fair evaluations, changes in the calculation of this year’s scores, international trends and common features of Japanese universities. THE is interested in promoting complementary effects by supporting partnerships between universities in advanced and developing countries with different strengths and weaknesses. He expressed his hope that Japanese universities — four of which are in the top 100 — will further improve their performance under SDG 17, and that they will be particularly conscious of the crosscutting efforts towards different goals in the future.

Atsushi Yokota (Director and Vice President of Hokkaido University) reported on a panel discussion at the Global Sustainable Development Congress hosted by THE, in which he presented efforts by Hokkaido University in the areas of agriculture and fisheries in Japan. Group discussions focused on the 2023 Impact Rankings, and best practices for utilizing external evaluation.

Closing the session Shunichi Murata (SDG-UP Advisor, Professor of Kwansei Gakuin University) pointed out that statistically the rankings are dominated by industrialized countries, and emphasized the importance of partnerships with developing countries and island nations. Noting that "no poverty" is the first SDG, Prof. Murata stressed that we must keep this priority in mind and include the voices of the vulnerable in Japan and abroad to promote projects.

A detailed report on the event is available in Japanese. 

Participating Universities

This workshop engaged 20 participating universities, which are listed below in alphabetical order.

  • Chiba University of Commerce
  • Ehime University
  • Hiroshima University
  • Hokkaido University
  • International Christian University
  • Keio Gijuku University
  • Kwansei Gakuin University
  • Notre Dame Seishin University
  • Nara University of Education
  • Okayama University
  • Osaka Medical and Pharmaceutical University
  • Osaka Metropolitan University
  • Ryukoku University
  • Showa University of Music
  • Sophia University
  • Soka University
  • Tokai University
  • Tokyo City University
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Toyo University

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