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The University of Coimbra is the most sustainable Higher Education Institution in Portugal and the 21st in the world

The UC is the third best in the world in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal No. 2, which aims to eradicate hunger.
21 april
Schools Courtyard
Schools Courtyard
© UC | François Fernandes

The University of Coimbra (UC) is the most sustainable institution in Portugal and the 21st in the world, according to the third edition of The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021, released today. With a total score of 92.7 out of 100, the UC was the institution with the best overall performance in Portugal in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It was in the achievement of SDG 2 − Zero Hunger − that the University of Coimbra obtained its best rating, being considered the third best university in the world in fulfilling this goal. Some of the reasons for this this world ranking are as follows: the UC strategy to combat food waste, the existence of subsidised meals (accounting for 74% of meals sold in 2019), the provision of food baskets by the UC Social Services to university Repúblicas (students’ houses) at affordable prices (over 31 tonnes and 7,500 litres of food), as well as the initiatives with local producers for the disposal of their products are some of the reasons for this world ranking. We also highlight the UC research projects and participation in consortia that work to find solutions for the agro-food sector, such as “Mobfood”, a research and technological development project that brings together various agents in the agro-food sector in order to promote a more competitive national food industry, or “Reseed”, which studies the socio-economic and ecological impact of the dissemination of food products from other continents in Europe since the 18th century.

Besides the Sustainable Development Goal no. 2, the University of Coimbra also stood out in the achievement of SDG no. 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure – in the 13th position worldwide. Fundamental to this result was the number of spin-offs created (121), the number of active patents (304) and the work carried out by the “Instituto Pedro Nunes”, a private non-profit institution created by the UC, whose incubator has supported 330 companies, created 2,600 highly qualified jobs and generated an average annual turnover of 190 million euros. Also noteworthy within this SDG are the UC initiatives such as "Energy for Sustainability (EfS)", a response to challenges in the area of energy and sustainable development, or "Ageing Coimbra", a consortium that enables the development of innovative projects in the area of active and healthy ageing and also aims to be a booster of youth economy and entrepreneurship in health services area.

Creating social awareness, setting an example and working together are fundamental for collective goals to be achieved.

In the Sustainable Development Goals where the UC obtained a better performance, we also have the SDG no. 3 – Good Health and Well-Being, where the institution takes the 44th place worldwide. In order to achieve this goal, we highlight projects such as UC+Activa em casa (UC more active at home), which offers physical activity programmes at different levels; UC Transforma (UC Changes) a UC volunteering platform for all, which aims to bring together Volunteer Projects and Actions, where 16 organisations have registered and 467 hours of volunteer work in the scope of 19 initiatives have taken place since its recent launch; the provision of some healthcare services free of charge, such as psychological and psychiatric support for frontline health professionals; collaboration with local, national and international healthcare bodies.

“These results are a source of pride and encouragement, but they are as encouraging as challenging, for the path we have already walked is shorter than the one we still have ahead of us”, says Amílcar Falcão, Rector of the University of Coimbra. “Raising social awareness, setting an example and joining efforts are crucial for our collective goals to be achieved, involving our students, to whom tomorrow will be the world they will have to live in”, he adds.

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings aim to measure the overall success of universities in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. In total, The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings has 18 rankings: one ranking per SDG and one global ranking. The University of Coimbra is in the world top 100 in nine of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

These rankings are the result of the analysis of how research, teaching and management of institutions contribute to achieving the SDGs defined by the United Nations, being the only global tool to evaluate these commitments.