THE Impact Rankings 2020 by SDG: affordable and clean energy (SDG 7) methodology

April 17, 2020

Browse the full Impact Rankings 2020 results

This ranking focuses on universities’ research related to energy, their energy use and policies, and their commitment to promoting energy efficiency in the wider community.

Please view the methodology for the Impact Rankings 2020 to find out how these data are used in the overall ranking. 


Research on affordable and clean energy (27%)

  • Proportion of papers in the top 10 per cent of journals as defined by Citescore (10%)
  • Field-weighted citation index of papers (10%)
  • Number of publications (7%)

This focuses on research that is relevant to affordable and clean energy, measuring the proportion of papers in the top 10 per cent of cited journals, citation impact and the volume of research produced. The field-weighted citation index is a subject-normalised score of the citation performance of publications.

The data are provided by Elsevier’s Scopus dataset and based on a query of keywords associated with SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy). They include all indexed publications between 2014 and 2018. The data are normalised across the range using Z-scoring.

Clean energy measures (23%)

  • Policy to ensure all renovations or new builds follow energy efficiency standards (3.85%)
  • Plans to upgrade existing buildings to higher energy efficiency rating (3.85%)
  • Process for carbon management and reducing carbon dioxide emissions (3.85%)
  • Plan to reduce overall energy consumption (3.85%)
  • Reviews to identify areas where energy waste is highest (3.8%)
  • Policy on divesting from carbon-intensive energy industries, notably coal and oil (3.8%)

The data and evidence for these metrics were provided directly by universities. The evidence was evaluated and scored by Times Higher Education and is not normalised.

Energy use (27%)

This is defined as the energy used per floor space (gigajoules/m2) of university buildings. It measures units of energy used by an individual, event, organisation or product at the university.

The data were provided directly by universities and normalised across the range using Z-scoring.

Energy and the community (23%)

  • Programmes for local community to learn about the importance of energy efficiency and clean energy (4.6%)
  • Promote pledge on 100 per cent renewable energy (4.6%)
  • Services aimed at improving energy efficiency and clean energy for local industry (4.6%)
  • Inform and support governments on policy development related to clean energy and energy-efficient technology (4.6%)
  • Assistance for start-ups that foster and support a low-carbon economy or technology (4.6%)

The data and evidence for these metrics were provided directly by universities. The evidence was evaluated and scored by Times Higher Education and is not normalised.


When we ask about policies and initiatives, our metrics require universities to provide the evidence to support their claims. Evidence is evaluated against a set of criteria and decisions are cross validated where there is uncertainty. Evidence is not required to be exhaustive – we are looking for examples that demonstrate best practice at the institutions concerned.


Unless otherwise stated, the data used refer to the closest academic year to January to December 2018.


Universities must teach undergraduates and be validated by a recognised accreditation body to be included in the ranking.

Data collection

Institutions provide and sign off their institutional data for use in the rankings. On the rare occasions when a particular data point is not provided, we enter a value of zero.

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