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Awards and recognition

New global rankings put SFU among the top universities for real-world impact

July 23, 2021

The World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) rankings measure how universities create value to society.

This year’s rankings put SFU third in the world for its entrepreneurial spirit (up from seventh) and 24th overall (up from 34th) among innovative universities – the highest placing university in Canada and the only one to crack to top 100.

“I'm so pleased to see SFU continue to rise up the WURI rankings, reinforcing our mission to be Canada’s engaged university and recognizing that our efforts are having a real impact on society,” says SFU President Joy Johnson. “I want to thank and congratulate all of the students, faculty and staff who have helped make this happen. Your work is making a difference and these global rankings prove that the world is taking notice.”

The high placement in the WURI rankings add to the continued global recognition SFU receives. SFU ranked number one for its impact on sustainable cities and is among the world’s Top 10 universities for its commitment to tackling climate change, according to the 2020 Times Higher Education’s 2020 University Impact Rankings. SFU remains Canada’s top comprehensive university, according to Maclean’s Magazine annual rankings.

In 2016, SFU established SFU Innovates—the university’s innovation strategy for engaging researchers, staff and students with our communities and partners to solve societal challenges through innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Through SFU Innovates, we support our students and faculty in making a social impact from their research innovations,” says Elicia Maine, special advisor on innovation to the vice-president of research and international. “In this year’s WURI rankings, international university presidents recognized the mechanisms and outcomes of our pan-university innovation initiatives, including SFU’s Big Data Hub and SFU Beedie’s Invention to Innovation entrepreneurship program (i2I), which support student and faculty researchers in solving unmet market needs.”

The 2021 WURI rankings were presented this week in both Switzerland and South Korea. It’s designed to highlight and appreciate the efforts of universities to produce a future workforce aligning with the growing demands among entrepreneurs in contemporary society.

The rankings are organized by the Institute for Policy and Strategy on National Competitiveness and sponsored by four organizations: Hanseatic League of Universities in the Netherlands; the Institute for Industrial Policy Studies in Seoul, South Korea; UN Institute for Training and Research in Geneva, Switzerland; Tailor Institute of Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland.