They might not be a Harvard or Oxford yet, but have the potential to become the next. This is the optimism underlying Times Higher Education’s (THE) 100 Under 50 2014 rankings that lists the best young and dynamic universities around the world under 50 years of age. “Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati makes it to the list — only Indian varsity and this is indeed heartening (ranked joint 87 with New University of Lisbon, Portugal and University of Western Sydney, Australia). The new generation of IITs are making great inroads and with a little bit of backing from the government, they could really go places. Comparing India to its peers in BRICS, there is no representation from Mainland China, Russia and South Africa,” begins Phil Baty, Rankings Editor, THE. Brazil’s one representative, State University of Campinas is ranked joint 37 with University of Southern Denmark, Denmark.
Released on May 1, the rankings list best universities worldwide on the following parameters — Industry Income from Innovation, Teaching (learning environment), Citations (research influence), Research (volume, income and reputation) and International outlook (via staff, students and research) and has placed South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in the top for three years now, ever since they decided to come out with these rankings. “POSTECH’s hatrick is because within a short period of time (established in 1986) they have proved that excellence needn’t take forever. When they were established, they were backed by a local steel company and to this date, they receive huge endowments from the industry to conduct relevant research. Knowledge acquisition, industry-academic partnerships, technological developments and relevant applied research has contributed to its numero uno status,” says Phil. Other strong performers besides the top 10 (see table above) Phil picks out are Spain (7), France (6), Germany (6), Canada (5) and Taiwan (4)*. He is also all praise for Singapore though it has a single representative only, “Because of the funding they receive, they are able to attract international talent well.”
Though USA and UK still have their presence felt, according to Phil, “The 29 countries/regions represented in the table show that more and more players are poised to challenge traditional Anglo-American dominance.” UK has 14 institutions and while the US dominated THE’s traditional rankings, only eight young institutions make the list. “Not all, but some American and European universities are losing ground — they can no longer rely on their traditions, reputation, rankings and such. They need to wake up to the new players in the emerging economy,” adds Phil.
Another grouse Phil finds with respect to those institutions is they being too self-centered and not guaranteeing much except the student experience. “Graduates need jobs, on which front Asian institutions are doing a much better job. These rankings reflect the wide pool of choices students have,” he stresses. In terms of strength, Australia has closed the gap with UK — there are an equal number of representations with Newcastle University topping at 28. Australia’s neighbour New Zealand, has two representatives — University of Waikato (joint 44th with University of Tsukuba, Japan, only representative from the region) and Massey University (90). Phil is happy with the efforts Saudi Arabia and Iran are making — the former’s King Abdulaziz University is ranked 71 (joint with Loughborough University, UK) while the latter’s Isfahan University of Technology occupies the 92nd position along with Dublin City University, Ireland.
THE coming to Asia
THE’s Asian Rankings will be out in June. “There are so many stars in Asia who are virtually unknown. This is not to tell the world that they have arrived but to just showcase the efforts they are doing,” concludes Phil. Details at www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings.
*No of representations