THE Impact Rankings 2020 by SDG: good health and well-being (SDG 3) methodology

April 17, 2020

Browse the full Impact Rankings 2020 results

This ranking focuses on universities’ research on the key conditions and diseases that have a disproportionate impact on health outcomes across the world, their support for healthcare professions, and the health of students and staff. It is not a general measure of a university’s medical teaching and research.

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


Research on health and well-being (27%)

  • Proportion of research papers that are viewed or downloaded (10%)
  • Proportion of research papers that are cited in clinical guidance (10%)
  • Number of publications (7%)

This focuses on research that is relevant to key diseases and conditions, measuring paper views, clinical citations and the volume of research produced.

The data are provided by Elsevier’s Scopus dataset, based on a query of keywords associated with SDG 3 (good health and well-being). The data include all indexed publications between 2014 and 2018 and are normalised across the range using Z-scoring.

Proportion of health graduates (34.6%)

In order to understand how a university is supporting health professions we measure the proportion of graduates who receive a degree associated with a health-related profession out of the institution’s total number of graduates.

The data relate to the number of graduates in the 2018 academic year. The degree does not necessarily give them the ability to practise directly; additional qualifications may be required.

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

Collaborations and health services (38.4%)

  • Smoke-free policy (8%)
  • Collaborations with local or global health institutions to improve health and well-being outcomes (7%)
  • Outreach programmes in the local community to improve health and well-being (7%)
  • Access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services for students (7%)
  • Free mental health support for students and staff (7%)
  • Community access to university sports facilities (2.4%)

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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