Decoding Chula’s Rise to World-Class Caliber Being Crowned Asia’s Top University in Sustainability

Chulalongkorn University No. 1 in Asia

Chulalongkorn University No. 1 in Asia. Photo: Chulalongkorn University.




Chula’s Vice President reveals four important factors leading Chula to be named Asia’s No.1 (No. 23 in the world) university for sustainability by THE (Times Higher Education) Impact Rankings 2021 while stressing the local and global impacts of research and innovation by faculty members and students.

According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Natcha Thawesaengskulthai, Vice President for Strategic Planning, Innovation, and International Mission, Chulalongkorn University being ranked Asia’s No.1 and No. 23 in the World for Global Impact by THE Impact Rankings 2021 is the highest-ranking any Thai university has ever received. This year’s rankings should reflect the quality of Chulalongkorn university from an international perspective.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Natcha Thawesaengskulthai, Vice President for Strategic Planning, Innovation, and International Mission, Chulalongkorn University
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Natcha Thawesaengskulthai, Vice President for Strategic Planning,
Innovation, and International Mission, Chulalongkorn University. Photo: Chulalongkorn University.

Apart from the QS World University Rankings, in which Chula has consistently been ranked No. 1 in Thailand, another indicator that the university places much importance to is THE Impact Rankings that assess world universities’ global performance against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, 1,115 universities worldwide took part in the rankings. Chula earned the best scores in the following SDGs: SDG 3 (Health and Wellbeing), SDG 9 (Infrastructure, Innovation and Industry), and SDG15 (Life on Land).

Chulalongkorn University Global Impact
Chulalongkorn University Global Impact. Photo: Chulalongkorn University.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Natcha further revealed that Chula had set a goal to be among the top 3 universities in ASEAN by 2024, so planning and assignment of workgroups have been ongoing for a long time. The four main reasons behind this year’s success are:

1. Strategy: Building understanding of the 17 SDGs’ criteria, THE Impact Rankings’ methodology, and the way scores are calculated. THE Impact Rankings are in line with Chula’s mission to be the “Leader in Creating Knowledge and Innovation to Promote Sustainable Development for Society”. The mission has been carried out through three key strategies: Building Future Leaders, Creating impactful research and innovations for society; and Sustainability.

2. Impactful Content: Research and innovations by faculty members and students that have far-reaching consequences on a global scale, widely cited by the international academic communities, and have societal and national applications were submitted to THE Impact Rankings.

3. Power of Cooperation: Concerted efforts at all levels from the University Council, the President, the university executive board, along with its various departments were harnessed to gather information, analyze Chula’s extensive body of research and innovations that constitute truly outstanding work.

4. Storytelling: Compiling interesting facts about Chula’s research and innovations into compelling stories and communicate how the said research and innovations impact society.

Chulalongkorn University No. 1 in Asia Global Impact
Chulalongkorn University No. 1 in Asia Global Impact. Photo: Chulalongkorn University.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Natcha said THE Impact Rankings also brought to light Chula’s strength and things that need improvement. Chula needs to compete with the universities in ASEAN and Asia, so, being ranked Asia’s No. 1 is very promising. It indicates that the quality of Thai universities is on par with worldwide standards. The faculty members and students are determined to create highly impactful research for society. Apart from publications, a mark of good research should also be measured by its relevance to society, in line with Chula’s new slogan, “Innovations for Society.”

By Chulalongkorn University



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