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Best universities for reducing inequalities

Explore the top 100 universities for reducing inequalities based on data collected for the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings

    August 3 2023
    Best universities for reducing inequality


    First-generation students and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds are still poorly represented in higher education. But universities are now working hard to rectify this and the Impact Rankings 2023 are an indicator of which institutions are doing this successfully. 

    To put together this ranking we mapped how universities around the world are committing to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are a global call to action to tackle poverty, climate change and inequality. 

    The SDGs look to tackle some of today’s biggest global issues and SDG 10 in particular covers reducing inequalities. 

    Some of the metrics that helped measure which universities are excelling at reducing inequalities were the number of first-generation students, the number of students from developing countries, the proportion of students and staff with disabilities, measures against discrimination and the amount of research a university undertakes on reduced inequalities. More information on the methodology can be found here.

    These are the top five universities for reducing inequality:

    1. RMIT University

    RMIT University is committed to working across all the SDGs, and SDG 10 is no exception. 

    RMIT is conducting a number of research projects that explore inequalities in all aspects of society in Australia and beyond. One such project focuses on the liveability of Australian cities through analysing public transport systems, public open spaces, housing affordability, walkability, employment and food and alcohol environments.

    2. Aalborg University

    Aalborg University conducts a range of research projects related to tackling inequalities, looking into social housing, language inequalities, policies for refugees and much more. 

    The university has three research units dedicated to researching inequalities. 

    3. Western Sydney University

    The disability service at Western Sydney University is made up of a team of professional disability advisers and trained educational support staff. The service provides pre-admission advice, academic support and advocacy on disability-related issues.

    There is also a wide range of support for international students. There are guides providing practical advice on living and studying in Australia, as well as important information about mental health and loneliness.

    There is also a specific support centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. 

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    4. University of Canberra

    This year the University of Canberra moves down to number four from number one for SDG 10. 

    The university was an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for 12 years, until its last submission in 2019. It also received the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award as part of the Science in Australia Gender Equity programme in 2020.

    The university conducts research into social inequalities and discrimination. It is also committed to recruiting staff and students from under-represented groups.

    5. University of Huddersfield

    The University of Huddersfield has implemented a range of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies for students and staff. 

    The university offers mentoring, counselling and peer support to members of the university community: for example, with care-experienced students through the work of care leaver support coordinators, or among staff through the work of diversity champions and the networks for BAME, LGBTQI+, female, and disabled staff.

    The top 100 universities for reducing inequality

    Reducing inequalities rank 2023 University Country/region
    1 RMIT University Australia
    2 Aalborg University Denmark
    3 Western Sydney University Australia
    4 University of Canberra Australia
    5 University of Huddersfield United Kingdom
    6 Dublin City University Ireland
    7 Ahlia University Bahrain
    8 London South Bank University United Kingdom
    9 Sheffield Hallam University United Kingdom
    10 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
    11 Qatar University Qatar
    12 University of British Columbia Canada
    13 Brunel University London United Kingdom
    14 University of Bologna Italy
    15 University of Leicester United Kingdom
    16 University of Surrey United Kingdom
    17 KIIT University India
    18 University of Aberdeen United Kingdom
    18 University of Essex United Kingdom
    20 University of Greenwich United Kingdom
    21 University of Auckland New Zealand
    21 Lancaster University United Kingdom
    21 University of Valencia Spain
    24 Arizona State University (Tempe) United States
    25 University of Limerick Ireland
    25 University of the West of Scotland United Kingdom
    25 York University Canada
    28 Politecnico di Milano Italy
    29 University of Northampton United Kingdom
    30 University of Reading United Kingdom
    31 University of Technology Sydney Australia
    32 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
    33 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
    33 University of Liverpool United Kingdom
    35 Holy Spirit University of Kaslik Lebanon
    36 University of Exeter United Kingdom
    36 Keele University United Kingdom
    38 Monash University Australia
    39 Queen’s University Belfast United Kingdom
    40 Concordia University Canada
    40 University of Hull United Kingdom
    40 University of Johannesburg South Africa
    40 Nottingham Trent University United Kingdom
    44 University of the West of England United Kingdom
    45 American University of the Middle East Kuwait
    45 Glasgow Caledonian University United Kingdom
    45 University of Strathclyde United Kingdom
    45 University of Toronto Canada
    49 Al Ahliyya Amman University Jordan
    49 McMaster University Canada
    49 Montpellier University France
    52 University of Brescia Italy
    52 Iran University of Medical Sciences Iran
    52 Macquarie University Australia
    55 University of Maryland, Baltimore County United States
    56 James Cook University Australia
    57 Central Queensland University Australia
    58 Old Dominion University United States
    59 Nanhua University Taiwan
    60 University of Wollongong Australia
    61 University of South Australia Australia
    62 Bournemouth University United Kingdom
    63 University of Bordeaux France
    63 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University United States
    66 Trinity College Dublin Ireland
    66 University of Warwick United Kingdom
    68 University of Southampton United Kingdom
    69 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
    69 National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Greece
    71 University of Bari Aldo Moro Italy
    72 La Trobe University Australia
    73 Bangor University United Kingdom
    74 Excelia France
    75 University of Tasmania Australia
    76 Florida International University United States
    76 University of Pretoria South Africa
    76 University of York United Kingdom
    79 Auckland University of Technology New Zealand
    79 University of Calgary Canada
    79 University of Waikato New Zealand
    82 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus United States
    84 Institut Mines-Télécom Business School France
    85 University of Central Lancashire United Kingdom
    86 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
    86 University of New Brunswick UNB Canada
    88 Newcastle University United Kingdom
    88 Rovira i Virgili University Spain
    88 University of Sussex United Kingdom
    91 University of Waterloo Canada
    92 University of Manchester United Kingdom
    92 University of Tuscia Italy
    94 University of Parma Italy
    95 Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) United Kingdom
    95 Gulf Medical University United Arab Emirates
    95 ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon Portugal
    95 University of Saskatchewan Canada
    99 De Montfort University United Kingdom
    99 Queen’s University Canada
    99 University of Rennes 1 France
    99 University of Southern Denmark Denmark

    Editors note: As part of our THE statement on Ukraine published on 2 March 2022, Russian universities have been given less prominence in our rankings. Russian universities that met the criteria for this ranking are not displayed in the table above.


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