Macquarie University’s sustainability impact on the rise


Macquarie University has jumped 40 places to claim 39th position globally in the 2023 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. The University has also been recognised with two Top 10 rankings across the sub-categories, including a No.1 spot.

Released on 1 June, THE Impact Rankings assess the performance of universities against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This year, 1591 universities across 112 countries and regions were assessed.

Macquarie University ranked first in the world for SDG14, Life Below Water, and fourth for SDG6, Clean Water and Sanitation. It also achieved distinguished ranks of 12th, 13th and 18th for SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG13 (Climate Action) and SDG15 (Life on Land) respectively. The University’s overall ranking, secured with a total score of 92.3 out of 100, put it not only 39th globally, but also ninth in Australia.

Vice-Chancellor S Bruce Dowton says Macquarie University is committed to delivering genuine change through its sustainability strategy and beyond.

“Universities play a crucial role in addressing global sustainability challenges, and at Macquarie University, we embrace this responsibility,” he says. “Our world-renowned research and education programs are helping create the next generation of leaders who are prepared to engage with the complex problems and opportunities of today and the future.

“Our sustainability strategy is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and it is wonderful to see these efforts recognised through the Impact Rankings.”

Established in 2019, the Impact Rankings are the first global attempt to measure university progress specifically around the SDGs. The rankings are based on universities’ teaching, research, outreach and stewardship.

Robin Payne, Macquarie University’s Vice-President, Finance and Resources, and the executive officer responsible for sustainability, says collaboration is intrinsic to the University’s efforts.

“Macquarie University has been working over many years in research and education to have an impact on the UN SDGs, alongside improving the sustainability of the campus,” he says.

“Programs such as Living Seawalls and the restoration of Mars Creek, which are made possible by the hard work of passionate and collaborative staff and stakeholders, have helped the University achieve this year’s wonderful results.

“It is good to see this work over many years being recognised as we seek to accelerate our efforts in future years to make a positive impact.”

Led by Macquarie University scientists, Living Seawalls is reviving our increasingly urbanised oceans through the development of ecologically enhanced structures. While the project started in Sydney Harbour, its installations now span three continents.

Through the Mars Creek restoration project, the once-neglected channel – two-thirds of which run through the Macquarie University campus – has been brought to life thanks to a thoughtful redesign, including the introduction of thousands of native plants, which have encouraged rich pool and edge habitats.

As well as its five Top 20 rankings, Macquarie University ranked in the Top 100 globally for its performance in:

  • SDG7, Affordable and Clean Energy (33rd)
  • SDG10, Reduced Inequalities (52nd)
  • SDG11, Sustainable Cities and Communities (36th)

For the full results, visit





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