THE World Reputation Rankings 2020: old or new, formidable names can flourish

The pandemic crisis may offer less established institutions a chance to shine, says Ellie Bothwell

十一月 3, 2020
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Source: iStock
It is not easy to secure a permanent place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Browse the THE World Reputation Rankings 2020 results


During the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit in September, university leaders highlighted that the coronavirus pandemic had given rise to two conflicting trends.

On the one hand, universities in “peripheral locations” could more easily “play on the world stage”, participate in global gatherings, partner with institutions in research and teaching, and educate local students who might have previously looked abroad for their higher education, Meric Gertler, president of the University of Toronto, claimed at the virtual event.

On the other hand, “strong, financially stable and secure universities” would be more likely to survive Covid-19 and thrive afterwards, he added.

Gertler’s view was that it was “too soon to make the call as to which of these two forces – the levelling force or the winner-takes-all dynamic – is going to prevail”.

But whatever the outcome, university leaders and communications experts seem to agree that reputation is becoming a much more important quality for universities as they seek to steer their way through the crisis and perhaps even emerge stronger afterwards.

In our analysis (see page 8), reputation management staff at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions reflect on the changing definition of university reputation during the pandemic, the potential for a new “reputational hierarchy” in global higher education and the novel risks that institutions are exposed to as a result of the crisis.

Meanwhile, an academic expert on reputation at the University of Oxford argues that universities should create more strategic partnerships with the commercial world to boost their public perception and counter criticisms of irrelevance and lack of value for money (see page 37).

This year, for the first time, our THE World Reputation Rankings includes 200 universities, up from 100 in previous editions, making it the most comprehensive analysis we have undertaken on global university reputation.

While the data behind the table predate the pandemic, the results indicate which institutions were leading on prestige among academics before the crisis.

The list, particularly at the top, tends to be more stable than our other rankings, but there is a new top 10 entry this year: Japan’s University of Tokyo ranks in 10th place, its highest position since 2013.

Meanwhile, the expansion of the table means that Germany is now home to the third highest number of the world’s most prestigious institutions, behind the US and the UK. Australia, which is still the third most represented nation in the top 100, drops down to joint ninth overall.

But only time, and future editions of the ranking, will confirm whether the pandemic will disturb the traditional reputational landscape of global higher education or whether the biggest higher education brands will hold their ground.

ellie.bothwell@timeshighereducation.com


Countries/regions represented in World Reputation Rankings 2020

Country/region

Number of institutions in top 200

Top institution

Rank

United States

60

Harvard University

1

United Kingdom

25

University of Cambridge

4

Germany

14

LMU Munich

=42

China

13

Tsinghua University

13

Japan

12

The University of Tokyo

10

Netherlands

11

Delft University of Technology

51-60

Canada

7

University of Toronto

=20

France

7

Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris

46

Australia

6

University of Melbourne

39

South Korea

6

Seoul National University

45

Russian Federation

5

Lomonosov Moscow State University

37

Sweden

5

Karolinska Institute

61-70

Hong Kong

4

University of Hong Kong

51-60

Italy

4

Sapienza University of Rome

101-125

Switzerland

4

ETH Zurich

17

Taiwan

4

National Taiwan University (NTU)

=40

Belgium

3

KU Leuven

51-60

Denmark

3

University of Copenhagen

71-80

India

3

Indian Institute of Science

126-150

Israel

3

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

101-125

Spain

3

Autonomous University of Barcelona

151-175

 

 

University of Barcelona

151-175

Brazil

2

University of São Paulo

91-100

Finland

2

University of Helsinki

101-125

Singapore

2

National University of Singapore

24

Argentina

1

University of Buenos Aires

176-200

Austria

1

University of Vienna

101-125

New Zealand

1

University of Auckland

176-200

Norway

1

University of Oslo

126-150

Mexico

1

National Autonomous University of Mexico

176-200

Republic of Ireland

1

Trinity College Dublin

176-200

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