University of South Florida


Graphic that says, "USF leads the U.S. in commitment to industry, innovation and infrastructure"

USF’s culture of innovation sparks global recognition from Times Higher Ed

The University of South Florida continues to make tremendous strides in advancing technologies that meet global demand – now ranking No. 1 among U.S. universities for its commitment to industry, innovation and infrastructure – one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were established to forge a global partnership among all countries to create a shared vision in addressing the world’s greatest challenges.

The newly released Times Higher Ed Impact Rankings place USF in the top five overall in the U.S. for its sustainable development, also leading for its efforts to end poverty, protect oceans and to strengthen partnerships throughout the world. These initiatives are in alignment with the university’s new strategic plan, continuing to build on its commitment to solving consequential global problems and addressing Florida’s most significant challenges.

“We are honored to be recognized among the Times Higher Ed Impact Rankings, particularly since it reflects the commitment to generating knowledge, developing values, changing behaviors and initiating practices that contribute to a sustainable environment,” USF President Rhea Law said. “Our community of talented, dedicated scholars embodies both the innovative, global-minded spirit and drive necessary to create a better and more sustainable future for all.”


face mask graphic

As a metropolitan research university with a culture of innovation, USF serves as a vital catalyst for the social and economic ecosystem, creating extraordinary opportunities for the Tampa Bay region and state of Florida. USF’s research, clinical, commercialization and workforce development activities drive employment in high-wage occupations across the region and state, in turn creating an environment that attracts new companies and a growing pool of highly skilled professionals to enhance a diversifying economy. This mission is embodied by the creation of a new, state-of-the-art research building, which opened in March, providing a space that connects researchers, industry leaders, entrepreneurs and students.

USF researchers and inventors continue to be among the most prolific producers of U.S. patents – helping address challenges related to sanitation infrastructure, cybersecurity and medical technologies. Just in the last year, USF students created a new device that addresses the worldwide ventilator shortage, inventors developed a new technology that safely allows face masks to be reused and a new AI system was launched to identify emerging infectious diseases. 

Life Below Water

Unmanned vessel

The USF College of Marine Science has proven to be a leader in providing rapid response to some of the most pressing threats to our marine ecosystem – making it No. 2 in the U.S in the Impact Rankings. USF’s location along the Gulf Coast of Florida provides the perfect position to deliver cutting-edge, evidence-based solutions to address an increasing number of environmental challenges facing contemporary society, including mitigation and adaptation to climate change. In the past year, researchers have been involved in analyzing impacts from a local fertilizer processing plant and piloted a new approach to mapping shallow coastal areas – the most vulnerable to coastal changes and storm events, but the hardest to survey.

USF has also reaffirmed its commitment to the sustainable use and conservation of the oceans in the proposal for a new Center of Excellence in Environmental and Oceanographic Sciences at the St. Petersburg campus. 

No Poverty

Students walk outside the MSC

USF has distinguished itself as a top performer in supporting social mobility through critical metrics that focus on affordable access, timely graduation and the elimination of completion gaps based on race and income. Times Higher Ed has recognized USF’s approach and ranked the university No. 4 in the U.S. for its efforts to eliminate poverty. In addition to low tuition and graduating students with minimal debt, USF has multiple initiatives that provide tailored support for its diverse student population, including a taskforce to enhance Latino student success, a mentoring program to improve male student outcomes and a database for transfer students

USF has a history of student success and continues to provide students with access and opportunities to excel in their academic careers and beyond. 

Partnerships for the Goals

Port Tampa Bay

Intentional engagement with the public and private sectors is a fundamental aspect of USF’s role as a research university. Partnerships across sectors and industries enhance the quality of research, teaching and service, deliver meaningful experience and skills to students and prepare them to enter the job market or pursue graduate-level studies. They also foster collaborations among units across USF and strengthen the relationships that the university has with its external stakeholders by providing a platform that enables faculty and students to engage in mutually beneficial service with community partners in the effort to find solutions to pressing problems. The Times Higher Ed Impact Rankings recognize USF at No. 14 in the U.S. for utilizing partnerships to address the challenges society faces on campus, in the local community and beyond. 

Through partnerships, USF has launched a fintech accelerator, supported programs to help Tampa residents secure environmental careers and bring clinical services to vulnerable communities

Return to article listing