About the summit

The THE World Academic Summit has rapidly established itself as the preeminent annual gathering in global higher education, bringing together the leaders from the world’s best and most ambitious universities, leading decision-makers from government and industry. Year on year, the World Academic Summit provides an unmissable opportunity for senior managers and expert thinkers to gather, reflect and redefine the key questions impacting higher education globally.

The summit will focus on the interrelationship between universities and the places in which they are located. The modern university’s mission is evolving. The increasingly interconnected and knowledge-intensive global economy has raised questions about innovation, talent, skills and tomorrow’s workforce. Many universities are reimagining their traditional roles, as students, faculty and staff alike create new opportunities for education and research in partnership with their local communities and regions.

Programme themes

A combination of keynote speeches, participatory debates, live polling, case studies and panel discussions, accompanying the THE World University Rankings 2021 data that will be exclusively published during the summit, will support attendees as they consider these key themes:

  • Universities’ contribution to place
  • The impact of place on universities
  • Has digital replaced physical space?
  • From the local to the global

Click here to read more about the programme themes

Why attend?

  • Be the first to know the results of the THE  World University Rankings 2022, which will be revealed at the summit
  • Gain exclusive analysis and understand the data behind the ranking, and learn how your institution can improve
  • Join a global network of leaders, experts and decision-makers who set the agenda for excellence in higher education
  • Share your experience with THE’s worldwide audience of higher education professionals

Who should attend?

Hundreds of leaders from the world’s best and most ambitious universities and research-led companies will reflect on what are the optimum conditions for human talent to develop and how some of the key obstacles can be overcome.

Participants include vice-chancellors, rectors, presidents, deputy presidents, vice-presidents and distinguished scholars representing higher education and governments along with industries and businesses with close links to both sectors.

Here’s what previous attendees said







World Academic Summit 2019

The THE World Academic Summit 2019 took place at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, on 10-12 September, and was attended by 390 senior leaders from 57 countries. The summit united a top-tier delegation around the core theme of “how talent thrives” for three days of engaging and participatory discussion. Leaders from the world’s best and most ambitious universities and research-led companies reflected on what are the optimum conditions for human talent to develop and how some of the key obstacles can be overcome. Over the three days, we explored the nature, context and location of talent in the 21st century.

We are also proud to have introduced the THE Festival of Data, a brand new exciting initiative led by the data and insights team behind THE’s prestigious suite of university rankings: the World University Rankings, University Impact Rankings and World Reputation Rankings. We discussed and debated the present and future of big data and analytics, rankings and performance metrics, using case studies of best practice from global experts and university leaders on the smart use of data to drive strategic decision-making.

Podcast: Hear the THE team and university leaders talk about their highlights and the hot topics discussed at the summit

Video portal: Revisit the summit sessions