SOAS University of London

SOAS number one in the UK and in world top five for supporting UN Sustainable Development Goal ‘Peace Justice and Strong Institutions’ in 2020 THE Impact rankings

22 April 2020
SDG16-Peace, Justice and Strong-Institutions-Top 10

SOAS University of London has been ranked first in the UK and joint fifth in the world for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions”.

The Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking 2020 captures universities’ impact on society, based on institutions’ success in delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These global goals are aimed at creating a more equal and sustainable world by 2030. With almost 806 institutions from across the world taking part, SOAS ranked in the top 200 overall.

SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos CH, former Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the UN, said:

“I am extremely proud that SOAS continues to be recognised for the global impact of its research. As the world continues to face new and existing challenges, the work of HE institutions in supporting the delivery of the SDGs is more important than ever. SOAS researchers, with their depth of knowledge and expertise, are well placed to ask and answer difficult questions.”

The ranking for “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” considered research at SOAS which includes but not limited to; collaborative work with national and international organisations such as DfID and the EU’s Trust Fund for Africa, including the Anti-Corruption Evidence Unit, the Global Research Network on Parliaments and People, co-leadership on the Global Challenges Research Fund on migration, drugs, and childhood stunting, policy advice and guidance at the United Nations, CISD training of students from the FCO, work on human rights law, displacement and migration, work in collaboration with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, policy-focused research and provision of evidence for UK government on Zimbabwe relations, freedom of expression at universities, commitment to providing a space for academic freedom and freedom of expression. 

SOAS is also ranked second in the UK and joint 32nd in the world for SDG “Climate Action”, considering projects like the Solar SOAS initiative and SOAS’s leadership among London universities in divesting from fossil fuels and the formation of the Climate Action Group (CAG) as well as the work of the Centre for Sustainable Finance, to align financial systems with sustainable development and scale up finance for a just transition to a low-carbon world including the hosting of three events as part of London Climate Action Week and presentation at the UN Climate Conference

The work of SOAS staff and students aimed at alleviating poverty meant that “No Poverty”, sees SOAS ranked at fifth in the UK and 36th in the world. SOAS collaboration with governments and NGOs through initiatives such as the Inclusive Finance Project with DFID, the Research and Evidence Facility’s work on EU programming for the Horn of Africa with support from the EU Trust Fund, collaborative webinars with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in development and governance in Africa, Leadership on Migration Conflict, Refugees and Displacement for Global Challenges Research Fund, collaborative policy research with DFID and ESRC on Alleviating Poverty, and policy guidance to former Shadow Chancellor on Basic Income were considering in the ranking.

SOAS also offers Hardship Bursaries to economically disadvantaged students, with our widening participation and outreach programmes aiming to make higher education accessible to a diverse population, the SOAS Sanctuary scheme supports displaced people to study at SOAS. 

We scored highly in “Sustainable Cities and Communities” (ranking in the top ten in the UK and 40th in the world), SOAS has a strong commitment to sustainability and community both on and off campus. As we are a pedestrianised campus, we provide public access to Brunei Gallery, Senate House and SOAS Library including special collections and archives. We also host the SOAS Concert Series and are the base for the Jewish Music Institute. The ranking would have also considered SOAS’ Endangered Languages Documentation Programme including research into Guernsey’s indigenous language, SOAS’s collaboration with the Southbank Centre on endangered language poetry, and SOAS’s standing as one of only five National Research Libraries in the UK.

The ranking for “Reduced Inequalities”, ranked at 15th in the UK and 56th in the world, considered initiatives such as outreach programmes to engage with schools and the local community, mentoring for underrepresented groups, Dignity@SOAS policy to address bullying, harassment and discrimination, policies and measures to reduce discrimination and strengthen inclusion for students with disabilities Diversity, Equality and Inclusion training for staff, and consent workshops for students run by students. 

The ranking for “Clean Water and Sanitation” ranked at third in the UK and 59th in the world considered work advising the Indian government on Water Security policy, research on water with NGOs and government departments, leadership on the Camden Climate Change Alliance board, and access to free drinking water across campus.

SOAS also ranked in the top 200 for SDG “Decent Work and Economic Growth” with key targets and frameworks to address the gender pay gap, active union presence and collaboration with UCU and UNISON, commitment to tackle modern day slavery and trafficking and being a Living Wage employer and insourcing our catering, cleaning and security services.

SOAS is well represented for its work on the SDG “Partnership for the Goals” which considered CISD staff and students collaboration on Strategic Concept for Removal of Arms and Proliferation (SCRAP), our Decolonising Research dialogue and toolkit, presentation at the UN Climate Conference, leadership and training workshops for researchers in Rwanda on sustainable peace, leadership with the London International Development Centre for the Global Challenges Research Fund, collaborative work with the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure, creative collaboration with Positives-Negatives, Climate and Sustainable Finance Data Initiative, leadership on the BAME Attainment Gap initiative, co-leadership on the UN Environment Emissions Gap Report, cross sectoral dialogue on China – UK Dialogues on Criminal Legal Aid and Effective Defence and more.

The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings are designed for research-intensive global universities and are dominated by indicators of research excellence. It provides a showcase for the impact of work being delivered by universities in communities, and it is an opportunity to shine a light on institutional activities and efforts not covered in other rankings.

SOAS offers a range of degree programmes related to sustainable development:

  • The Department of Development Studies is distinguished by its critical and engaged approach to international development, understanding social and economic change, and the impact of such change on affected communities, development actors and governments.
  • The Department of Economics is a leading centre for economics research. Its vibrant research culture is driven by staff working on issues such as gender inequality, the economics of climate change and economics of sustainable business. The department specialises in the study of developing and emerging economies and the work covers an unparalleled range of regions from Sub-Saharan Africa to Japan and South Asia.
  • The Department of Politics and International Studies is distinguished by a critical approach to the study of the politics of the Global South. SOAS Politics programmes engage with developments in African, Asian and Middle Eastern domestic and international politics, and their relationship to countries in the West.
  • The Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy through varied degree programmes and course offerings, as well a range of extra-curricular activities has developed policy impact research programmes for the SDGs. These include work on a new paradigm for effective war crimes prosecutions, enabling women and girls' education, enhancing sport diplomacy for development, and energising the global disarmament agenda.
  • The School of Law’s research influences public and policy debate, legal practice and public understanding of social and legal issues. The School’s wide thematic and regional expertise makes a significant impact on non-academic bodies and individuals in the UK and in our specialist regions of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The School’s work addresses justice, including International Criminal Law, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, transitional justice, institutional reform, law and development, climate change and the environment.
  • The SOAS Centre for Sustainable Finance aims to advance the transition to an equitable, low-carbon economy by providing a forum for interdisciplinary research on sustainable finance and investment. It seeks to enhance the knowledge and understanding of sustainable finance in both the Global North and South and act as a focal point for policy debates in this area.
  • The SOAS Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP) seeks to address some of the greatest challenges of our times: how to satisfy the aspirations of a rapidly growing global population, including eradicating the poverty still experienced by many of these people, whilst at the same time managing the environmental systems and resources on which life and wellbeing depend. CeDEP's academic staff undertake research and postgraduate teaching in the fields of agricultural economics, rural development, environmental economics and management, poverty reduction, sustainability, climate change and development. 

SOAS Staff/Student groups/Alumni whose activity was submitted:

Baroness Valerie Amos
Professor Gilbert Achcar
Dr Alberto Asquer
Professor Stephen Chan
Professor Phil Clark
Professor Emma Crewe
Professor Philippe Cullet
Dr Annabel de Frece
Dr Benjamin Dix
Dr Jörg Haustein
Dr. Alex Lewis
Professor Lindiwe Dovey
Professor Laura Hammond
Prof. Michael Hutt
Dr. Romina Istratii
Dr Dominik Jackson-Cole & EDI
Dr Anna Lindley
Mr. Stephen McKinnell
Professor Werner Menski
Professor Victor Murinde
Professor Mushtaq Khan
Dr Lutz Oette
Dr Dan Plesch
Dr Marie Rodet
Dr J Simon Rofe
Dr Pallavi Roy
Dr Meera Sabaratnam
Professor Alison Scott-Baumann
Dr Julia Sallabank
Dr Mandana Seyfeddinipur & the ELDP
Professor Bhavani Shankar
Professor Guy Standing
Professor Laixiang Sun
Professor Steve Tsang & the China Institute
Miss Sibylle Herzig van Wees
Dr Ulrich Volz
Dr. Ilana Webster-Kogen
Jessica Pavlos and Enterprise & Knowledge Exchange
SCRAP* Team (including students)
Governance in Africa team
Marva Coudray and Widening Participation
Solar SOAS (student-led)
“SOAS Goes to Calais” SU society
SOAS SU “Enough is Enough” team
SOAS Disability Services
SOAS Concert Series organisers
SOAS Unison and UCU staff