University of Freiburg takes fourth place nationwide in QS World University Ranking: Sustainability 2024

University of Freiburg. Photo: Sandra Meyndt
University of Freiburg. Photo: Sandra Meyndt
In the second annual sustainability ranking by the UK’s Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the University of Freiburg has taken fourth place nationally in competition with 47 other universities.

Ranked against almost 1400 universities worldwide, the University of Freiburg shares 94 áplace, putting it in the international Top 100 for the first time. Last year, the University of Freiburg was listed in the 221’240 group. Nationwide, the University of Freiburg is in 4th place behind the Technical University of Munich, the University of Cologne and the University of Hamburg.

University of Freiburg takes first place nationally for ’Environmental Impact’

QS assesses universities worldwide for their work on sustainability in research, teaching and society, with an overall list plus the three categories ’Social Impact’, ’Environmental Impact’ and ’Governance’.

The University of Freiburg scored particularly highly for ’Environmental Impact’, taking first place in Germany in this category, and 55 áplace internationally. It received exceptionally high ratings in ’Environmental Education’ and ’Environmental Research’, with the former in particular gaining the highest score throughout Germany for the University of Freiburg. QS considered indicators on universities’ academic reputation with regard to the environment, the influence of alumni in the field of ecological sustainability in both the public and Third Sectors, and their range of courses covering sustainability/climate issues. The University of Freiburg also performed well in ’Environmental Research’, where it received the third-highest score in Germany. This category includes a range of indicators measuring the impact of research in the relation to the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), as well as on national statistics about the outcomes for research and development, and the presence of research centres with a focus on ecological sustainability.

In the category of ’Social Impact’, the University of Freiburg took 7 áplace nationally and shared 145 áplace internationally, scoring especially highly in the field of ’Health and Wellbeing’ - third-highest in Germany. This includes indicators on health provisions on campus, the impact of research on relevant SDGs, and the results in national statistics on quality of life.

Methodological change since previous year

The QS World University Ranking: Sustainability rates universities’ commitment to a sustainable environment and society, looking at among other things the 17ásustainable development goals of the United Nations, and considers how far the institutions research into these goals or contribute to achieving them. This year’s sustainability ranking has made methodological changes since the previous year. Instead of just two categories (’Environmental Impact’ and ’Social Impact’) the universities sustainability activities are now assessed in three categories, with the addition of ’Governance’. Each category is subdivided into various subcategories, which also derive from several indicators.

’Social Impact’ records universities’ social sustainability activities in the fields of equality, knowledge sharing, educational impact, employability and opportunities, as well as health and wellbeing. ’Environmental Impact’ assesses how much the universities contribute to a sustainable environment, and covers ecological sustainability, education, and research into the environment. The new category, ’Governance’, rates universities on responsible management.

QS obtains its data from the universities directly, from reputation studies, alumni surveys, bibliometric analyses of publications by the academic publisher Elsevier, and the Academic Freedom Index.

See the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024: QS Sustainability University Rankings 2024