Limited progress for Europe in ranking of world's best universities

September 6, 2004

Brussels, 03 Sep 2004

Shanghai Jiao Tong University has published its annual international league of universities, which this year shows a small improvement in the positioning of European universities, with 36 now in the top 100, compared to 31 last year.

The ranking takes account of each institution's Nobel laureates, highly cited researchers, articles published in 'Nature' or 'Science', articles in the 'science citation index-extended' and 'social science citation index' and the academic performance of each faculty. For the first time, this year's ranking also seeks to measure 'quality of education' by counting the number of alumni of an institution who have won Nobel prizes or Fields Medals.

The list of the world's top ten universities still only contains two from within the EU, and both of these are in the UK. The University of Cambridge moves up two places to third position, while the University of Oxford climbs one place to eighth.

The US dominates the higher positions, with the two UK universities and Tokyo University in Japan being the only non-US institutions to feature in the top 20. The next European universities to appear in the list are the UK's Imperial College London and University College London and positions 23 and 25 respectively, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands at 39. A handful of universities from France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Austria and Italy also appear in the top 100.

Universities in the EU's newer Member States do not yet feature in the top 100, nor in the list of Europe's 100 best universities. Universities in southern Europe also fare less well than their northern counterparts. Italy is the only Mediterranean country to feature in the top 100 of international universities, with the University of Rome coming in at 93.

The compilers of the league table concede that the criteria they have used focus predominantly on the hard sciences, and not on social sciences. 'We tried really hard but were not successful in finding special criteria and internationally comparable data for social sciences and humanities. Many well-known institutions specialised in humanities and social sciences are missing from our list, or their ranks are relatively low,' Shanghai Jiao Tong University admits. To access the university listings, please visit: http:///

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities
Item source: http:///

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