Impact Rankings 2022: affordable and clean energy (SDG 7) methodology

April 18, 2022

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.

View the methodology for the Impact Rankings 2022 to find out how these data are used in the overall ranking. 


Research on 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) and supplemented by additional publications identified by artificial intelligence. They include all indexed publications between 2016 and 2020. The data are normalised across the range using Z-scoring.

University measures towards affordable and clean energy (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 evidence was provided directly by universities, evaluated and scored by Times Higher Education and not normalised.

Energy use (27%)

This is defined as the energy used per floor space (gigajoule/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 the local community to learn about the importance of energy efficiency and clean energy (4.6%)
  • Promoting public pledge on 100 per cent renewable energy beyond the university (4.6%)
  • Services aimed at improving energy efficiency and clean energy for local industry (4.6%)
  • Informing 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 evidence was provided directly by universities, evaluated and scored by THE and 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.

Time frame

In general, the data used refer to the closest academic year to January to December 2020. However, in some cases, data relate to 2019 due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The date range for each metric is specified in the full methodology document. 


The ranking is open to any university that teaches at either undergraduate or postgraduate level. Although research activities form part of the methodology, there is no minimum research requirement for participation.

THE reserves the right to exclude universities that it believes have falsified data, or are no longer in good standing.

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.

View the full methodology for the THE Impact Rankings 2022 here

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