RCSI ranks fifth in the world for Good Health and Well-being in THE University Impact Rankings

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RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences has ranked fifth in the world for SDG3 ‘Good Health and Wellbeing’ in the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings 2024. This is the fourth time in five years that RCSI has ranked in the top five of this global ranking.

RCSI has retained the highest position of any European University for SDG3 following this year’s ranking. The THE University Impact Rankings recognise universities around the world for their social and economic impact based on the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Nearly 2,000 universities around the world participated in this year’s SDG 3 ranking, an increase of almost 1,200 since the ranking began in 2020.   

RCSI is Ireland’s only university wholly dedicated to education, training and research in health sciences. Its continued strong performance in this ranking reflects the efforts of its community to have a positive impact on human health and to embed sustainability in the curriculum and across its operations. RCSI’s significant contribution to research aligned with SDG3 is a key contributor to the university’s high ranking. RCSI’s field weighted citation impact (2.05) is twice the world average based on 3,710 publications aligned with SDG3 during the period 2018-2024.  

Launched earlier this year, RCSI’s Climate Action Roadmap commits the university to a number of sustainability targets on the journey to net carbon zero, which it intends to achieve by 2050.   

Further key initiatives from RCSI over the past year include the launch of guidelines aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of surgery in Ireland. The guidelines reflect the high proportion of greenhouse emissions generated by the surgical suite, which is three to six times more energy intensive than a hospital ward.  

The university has also embedded sustainability in its continuous professional development (CPD) offering, with new modules addressing sustainability in healthcare and green surgery.  

In 2022, RCSI gained Beacon Status from the UK’s Centre for Sustainable Healthcare and in 2024 was named the top-performing medical school in Ireland in the student-led Planetary Health Report Card for the second year. 

RCSI is a signatory to the UN SDG Accord and is a member of SDSN Ireland which is an all-island network of higher education, research, civil society and NGO bodies working together to support the implementation of the SDGs through education, research and engagement and to build capacity through training and the sharing of best practice. 

Professor Cathal Kelly, RCSI Vice Chancellor, said: “In keeping with our mission to educate, nurture and discover for the benefit of human health, we are committed to achieving the SDGs through our education, research and university operations, and to building greater understanding of the relationship between human health and planetary health.

“I am grateful to everyone in the RCSI community for their efforts and also to the many partners we work with in addressing the global challenges outlined by the UNSDGs. Our continued high ranking for UNSDG 3, retaining the highest rank for this goal among European universities is testament to the meaningful collaborative efforts of our students, academic and professional staff, clinicians, community and health services partners.”   

Phil Baty, Times Higher Education’s chief global affairs officer, said: “This year’s Impact Rankings shows universities in Europe are excelling in driving forward and tackling the UN’s sustainable development goals.” 

Read our profile on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings website.