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We’ve been recognised as one of the top universities in the world for taking action to address the most pressing Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) challenges facing society today.

We’ve been ranked 53rd out of 700 universities in the QS World University Rankings for Sustainability.   

Going Green at the University 

We’re always developing new ways of thinking to shape a better future for people and our planet. 

We’ve signed the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) Accord, where we pledged our commitment to one another to do more and create a better world by ending poverty, fighting inequality and addressing the urgency of climate change. 

Earlier this year, we launched a new MSc in Plant Biotechnology and Enterprise. This was designed to provide the fundamental knowledge and skills to produce future scientists specialising in plant biotechnology. This Masters proudly sits alongside our MSc in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, New and Renewable Energy, and Sustainability, Energy and Development, which also contribute to the SDGs. 

We are well-placed to contribute to solutions in the broad areas of energy, food, health, social impact and water. Our research strength in energy spans across all four faculties. Research by Durham Energy Institute ensures sustainable and resilient low-carbon systems can be developed to meet the needs of different contexts and ensure fair access for everyone. 

We have a dedicated Energy and Sustainability Team, which coordinates environmental initiatives across the University with the help of environmental champions and student representatives. 

Sustainability plays a part in new buildings. Our newest additions of the Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science hub, Teaching and Learning Centre, and Sports and Wellbeing Complex were built to one of the highest BREME specifications for sustainability. 

Analysing the results 

The QS for Sustainability rankings compromised of two categories - Environmental Impact and Social Impact. Institutions’ performance in each was combined to create the overall score. 

In the Environmental category, we excelled in Sustainable Education. One example of our work with students is the University’s collaboration with local organisations and charities to run the Green Move Out scheme, through which our students can donate unwanted items to charity at the end of the academic year.  

Employment and Opportunities was our highest scorer in the Social Impact Category. Our 4,155 full-time equivalent staff (which represents 5% of County Durham’s total employment) and more than 20,000 students, around 30% of whom are from outside of the UK, make a significant contribution through their spending, working and volunteering, enriching the City, the County and the Region. 

We support a wide range of businesses in County Durham and the North East, including at NETPark, a science park where over 600 people are employed.    

Find out more:

  • Discover more about the QS Sustainability rankings here.