2024 QS Sustainability Rankings: UP among top 200 universities in Governance

Illustrational photo: Vojtěch Duda
Wednesday 6 December 2023, 8:00 – Text: Michaela Janků

Despite twice the number of listed universities as compared to last year, Palacký University Olomouc has improved its position in the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024. At the same time, UP ranked among the top 200 universities in Good Governance and among the top 500 universities in Social Impact.

The QS Sustainability Rankings were first published last year, with the aim to compare universities in the sustainability of their operations. As the results of this ranking were partly reflected in the QS World University Rankings last year, interest in QS Sustainability Rankings has grown, and twice as many universities have been involved this year. In addition, the methodology has been modified compared to the previous year, which includes, among other things, the division of the rankings into three basic categories, versus the original two. The individual categories and their weight in the overall ranking are shown in the table below:

The QS Sustainability Rankings are a combination of input data from participating universities, together with Elsevier data, publicly available national statistics, and third-party assessments.

Despite twice the number of universities ranked, Palacký University Olomouc managed to improve its standing to the 422nd position overall, which is a sum of the three categories mentioned above. Palacký University performed best in the Good Governance subcategory (187th position), which focuses on the management and governance of the university based on ten specific indicators. Among Czech universities, UP holds third place in this area, and among the Aurora alliance partners it is in second place.

Within the Social Impact category, universities are evaluated on the basis of 5 indicators focusing on equality, knowledge transfer, education, employment, and well-being. UP is ranked 488th in Social Impact, with its top-ranked indicators being Health & Well-being (221st place) which assesses the institution’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of humanity at large (through research) as well as of its own staff and students, and Knowledge Exchange (333rd place) which reflects how institutions collaborate in research, how they share knowledge and stimulate educational growth. The UP’s score in the Health & Well-being indicator is also the best in the whole Czech Republic.

The last category evaluated is Environmental Impact, in which Palacký University ranks 539th. This environmentally focused area is based on three indicators assessing sustainability, education, and research. UP performed best in Environmental Sustainability (409th place). In contrast, UP’s biggest weakness was the indicator Environmental Education, which assesses whether graduates and academic publications in the earth, marine, and environmental sciences have a good reputation in the community and whether sustainability topics are part of the curriculum. UP is already taking action in this area by developing two new study programmes with an environmental focus.

While only four Czech universities were ranked in last year’s QS Sustainability Rankings, ten Czech universities are included in the 2024 ranking. Number one this year is Masaryk University in Brno, which surprisingly overtook the traditional Czech number one, Charles University in Prague. This is followed by the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague in third place, which is not a big surprise given its focus. Fourth place belongs to Palacký University Olomouc – not only in the Czech context, but also among the partner universities of the Aurora alliance.

“Improving our ranking in the QS Sustainability Rankings 2024, despite twice the number of ranked universities, is a confirmation that we are moving in the right direction in the area of sustainability and that our strategies and action plans, as well as measurable goals that we are gradually achieving, are well set. However, we need to improve our reputation in this regard, as we still lack a sufficient number of evaluations from our partners, so there is room for improvement in some indicators, which we will work on next year,” said UP Sustainability Coordinator Zuzana Huňková.

According to the ranking, the absolute world leaders are the University of Toronto, Canada; the University of California, Berkeley, USA; and the University of Manchester, UK. Complete results are published here.


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