A Chilean university has topped the Times Higher Education Latin America University Rankings for the first time, overtaking Brazil’s two flagship institutions.
The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile claims the number one spot in the 2019 edition of the table, having risen from third place thanks to boosts in its scores for institutional, research and industry income.
Brazil is still the most-represented nation in the table, with 52 institutions, up from 43 last year. Chile remains second in this country list with 30 representatives, up from 26.
The decline of Campinas, whose overall score improved since last year, is largely the result of increased competition in the table. But the institution, in common with several others from Brazil, received lower citation impact scores this year.
In general, Chilean universities have seen improvements in their score for institutional income per academic staff.
Analysis of the average country scores in different pillars of the ranking, based on the top 100, show that Chilean universities are strong performers on citation impact and international outlook – Brazil’s weakest areas. Brazil’s strongest areas are teaching and research environment.
The results follow proposals by the Brazilian government to cut university funding, targeting specific institutions and subjects, and concerns over the country’s new education minister, who is an economist with ties to government.
Fernanda Estevan, associate professor at the São Paulo School of Economics, said that Brazil’s “serious public budget deficit” has meant that all sectors, including higher education, have been affected by funding cuts.
But she said that the main problem facing the sector was “a very perverse incentive system, which values quantity over quality and does not evaluate researchers in many areas based on international criteria”.
“If I had to choose between increasing funding and improving incentives, I would choose the latter,” she added.
The THE Latin America University Rankings 2019 includes 150 universities spanning 12 countries.
THE Latin America University Rankings 2019: the top 10
|2019 rank||2018 rank||Institution||Country|
|1||3||Pontifical Catholic University of Chile||Chile|
|2||2||University of São Paulo||Brazil|
|3||1||University of Campinas||Brazil|
|4||7||Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio)||Brazil|
|5||5||Monterrey Institute of Technology||Mexico|
|6||4||Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP)||Brazil|
|7||6||University of Chile||Chile|
|8||9||Federal University of Minas Gerais||Brazil|
|9||8||University of the Andes, Colombia||Colombia|
|10||11||São Paulo State University (UNESP)||Brazil|