SFU breaks into the 10 top-ranked universities in Canada and is number one for innovation

September 02, 2021
Convocation held at Simon Fraser University’s stunning Burnaby campus (photo: summer 2016).

Times Higher Education (THE) has announced that Simon Fraser University is tied as the 8th top-ranked university in Canada for 2022, moving up from 11th position in 2021. SFU has jumped to the top 201-250 universities in the world—previously the university was within the 251-300 world ranking. This boost of our rankings is a testament to the major achievements of our faculty, staff and students.

While the announcement of the THE World University Rankings is a breakthrough for SFU, the university has also made considerable headway over the past year when it comes to other major global and national ranking systems and ranking categories.

The 2021 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings positioned SFU within the top-400 in the world. SFU has since moved up 25 places to land back within the top 300 in the world for 2022 while maintaining its rank as 13th in Canada. In addition, SFU ranked 8th in Canada for citations per faculty and consistently has ranked in the top 200 worldwide for research impact.

Maclean’s Magazine announced that SFU was once again Canada’s top comprehensive university for 2021—this is not new news though, as the university has ranked number one for 12 of the past 13 years. Among key strengths cited by Maclean’s was SFU’s commitment to sustainability, with a five-year sustainability plan aiming to slash SFU’s carbon footprint and shift half of its energy use to renewable resources by 2025.

This commitment to sustainability has placed SFU within the world’s top 50 universities in the 2021 THE Impact Rankings that measure environmental, social and economic contributions toward meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. SFU ranks 46th in the world among more than 1,115 institutions from 94 countries. In addition, THE places SFU within the top 10 worldwide for three key SDGs: climate action (SDG 13); sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11); and peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16).

“I am so proud of our students, faculty and staff who, despite facing enormous challenges over the past year, have continued to champion sustainability in everything we do,” says SFU President Joy Johnson. “As a global leader, we will continue to take action to address climate change and promote efforts to build healthier, safer and more resilient communities.

And, SFU is no rookie when it comes to innovation. The university’s innovation strategy, SFU Innovates, has a mission to engage SFU researchers, staff and students with communities and partners to solve societal challenges through innovation and entrepreneurship. The World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) rankings measure how universities create value for society. This year’s rankings put SFU third in the world for our entrepreneurial spirit and 24th overall among innovative universities, placing SFU as the number one innovative university in Canada—and the only one at that to crack the top 100.

“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.”

SFU is an institution that maintains a spirit that challenges conventions, celebrates new ideas and embraces unconventional partnerships, and has grown into one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities. Dugan O’Neil, SFU’s vice-president, research and international sums it up:

“SFU continues to gain ground in our research and innovation capacities, and our impact—and the global and national rankings reflect that. I am proud and thankful for our community of researchers, staff and students—they are the ones that make SFU the exceptional institution it is today. They have made the university stand out.”

Learn more about SFU’s research performance.