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University of Coimbra Named Most Sustainable Institution in Portugal

University of Coimbra Named Most Sustainable Institution in Portugal

According to the third edition of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021, the University of Coimbra was placed in the 21st position, making it the top sustainable university in Portugal.

The ranking is developed to measure and evaluate how far each institution has fulfilled its role in following the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which the University of Manchester took the lead in achieving.

With a total score of 92.7 out of 100, UC achieved the best overall performance out of the institutions in Portugal, as stated by THE. The university achieved the highest performance in the second UN SDG, eradicating hunger, coming in the third place worldwide for universities trying to meet this goal.

These results were “a source of pride and encouragement, but they are as encouraging as they are challenging because there is much more ground to cover than has already been covered," stated Amílcar Falcão, the rector of the University.

Falcão continues that "creating social awareness, setting an example and joining forces is fundamental for collective goals to be achieved, involving our students for whom tomorrow will be the world they will have to live in."

The university stated that its success in fulfilling the ‘eradicating hunger’ goal goes back to its “strategy to combat food waste, the existence of the social meal (which represented 74 per cent of the meals sold in 2019), the provision of food baskets by the Social Action Services to university hostels at affordable prices (more than 31 tonnes and 7.5 thousand litres of food), or the initiatives with local producers for the disposal of products”. 

This success also goes back to the university’s research projects and its participation in several companies that were working to explore solutions for the agri-food sector. This was the result of a research and technological development project that brings together different agents in the agri-food sector, Mobfood, which aims to promote a more competitive national food industry.

Another research that helped achieve these results was Reseed, which investigates the socio-economic and ecological effect of the spread in Europe of food products from other continents since the 18th century.

The university also came on top in fulfilling the UN’s ninth goal, "Industry, innovation and infrastructures", coming in 13th place worldwide. The UC Impact Ranking statement included that this result was due to “the number of 'spin-offs' created (121), the number of active patents (304) and the work developed by the Pedro Nunes Institute, a private non-profit institution created by the UC, whose incubator supported 330 companies, created 2,600 highly qualified jobs and generated an annual average of 190 million Euros in turnover."

The university explained that this achievement is due to initiatives like "Energy for sustainability (EfS)" and the consortium "Ageing Coimbra". 

The "Energy for sustainability (EfS)" was a response initiative to challenges in the energy and sustainable development sector while "Ageing Coimbra" aims to make way for "the genesis of innovative projects in the area of active and healthy ageing that also intends to be a stimulator of the economy and young entrepreneurship around health services".

In addition, the university received a high ranking for its fulfilment of the third SDG, “quality health”, coming in 44th place worldwide. This helped the university reach the top 100 universities in nine of the 17 sustainable development goals.

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