Leru pulls out of EU’s U-Multirank scheme

Group of leading universities has ‘serious concerns’ about new ranking project

February 7, 2013

A group representing some of Europe’s leading universities has withdrawn its support for a new ranking system funded by the European Union, warning that it could pose “a serious threat” to higher education.

The League of European Research Universities, which represents 21 leading research-intensive universities, has disassociated itself from the U- Multirank project, which is due to publish its first results in early 2014.

At a cost of €2 million (£1.7 million), the scheme aims to offer an alternative to ranking systems that are focused mainly on research excellence and will grade universities in five areas - research, teaching, internationalisation, knowledge transfer and contribution to regional growth.

Launched in Dublin on 30 January, the ranking system will not produce a league table for universities, but hopes to provide a broader set of information to potential students.

However, several higher education institutions are refusing to release data to the project and Leru has severed its links with the scheme.

Kurt Deketelaere, secretary-general of Leru, said the organisation, whose members include the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh, believes the project is ill-conceived and poorly designed.

“We consider U-Multirank at best an unjustifiable use of taxpayers’ money and at worst a serious threat to a healthy higher education system,” he said. “Leru has serious concerns about the lack of reliable, solid and valid data for the chosen indicators in U-Multirank, about the comparability between countries, about the burden put upon universities to collect data and about the lack of ‘reality-checks’ in the process thus far.”

However, speaking shortly before the scheme’s launch, Androulla Vassiliou, European commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, insisted it would provide valuable information.

“It will contribute to the modernisation and quality of higher education by enabling universities to identify their strengths or weaknesses and learn from each other’s experience,” she said.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Outreach & Partnerships Officer ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE
Academic Director (Primary) ST MARYS UNIVERSITY, TWICKENHAM
Vice-Chancellor MASSEY UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

Elderly woman looking up at sky

A recent paper claims that the quality of researchers declines with age. Five senior scientists consider the data and how they’ve contributed through the years

A keyboard with a 'donate' key

Richard Budd mulls the logic of giving money to your alma mater

Woman tearing up I can't sign

Schools and universities are increasingly looking at how improving personalities can boost social mobility. But in doing so, they may be forced to choose between teaching what is helpful, and what is true, says David Matthews

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration 19 May 2016

Tim Blackman’s vision of higher education for the 21st century is one in which students of varying abilities learn successfully together

Otto illustration (5 May 2016)

Craig Brandist on the proletarianisation of a profession and how it leads to behaviours that could hobble higher education