Breakthrough of Russian universities into the BRICS & Emerging Economies RankingsDecember 4, 2014
Seven Russian universities made it into the top 100 of the best BRICS & Emerging Economies Universities Rankings compiled by one of the most influential academic raters in the world – Times Higher Education.
At the ceremony of the University Summit organized by Project 5-100 and Times Higher Education which was recently held in Moscow, the Chief Editor of THE Rankings Phil Baty named the best universities from the BRICS countries and other emerging economies. Just like last year the University of Peking was named the best. Russia has significantly strengthened its positions in the rankings compared to the previous year – the number of our universities in the top 100 increased from 2 to 7. The Russian university leader – Lomonosov Moscow State University -which was at the bottom of the top 10 last year is now among the top 5.
Project 5-100 universities also have reason to celebrate. A serious breakthrough was achieved by MEPhI. This university, which had never been listed in the rankings before, has now made it to 13th place. For the first time in history, Novosibirsk State University and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology are among the best (34th and 69th places respectively).
Russian higher education is also represented in the rankings by the St. Petersburg State University (64th place), Ufa State Aviation University (70th place) and the Bauman Moscow State Technical University (90th place).
THE experts analyzed 22 countries which are categorized as emerging economies according to the FTSE index: Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa, Chile, Columbia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. The People’s Republic of China has cemented its leadership among the BRICS countries and other emerging economies by maintaining the first two positions in the rating; the number of Chinese universities in the top 100 has increased to 27 (compared to 23 last year). Yet in stark contrast to the obvious progress of Russian higher education, other Eastern European countries’ positions in the rating decreased: Poland is represented only by 2 universities (4 last year) led by the University of Warsaw (slid to 46th place from 23rd last year); meanwhile, Hungary and the Czech Republic each have two universities in the top 100 (last year each country had 3).
The following quote from Phil Baty sums up the mission of the BRICS & Emerging Economies Universities Rankings: “Strong universities can be essential to the economic prosperity of a country. Based on the example of the outstanding success of China, the BRICS & Emerging Economies Universities Rankings is a clear demonstration of what can be achieved thanks to a comprehensive and consistent policy of development of a world-class university. The rating also clearly demonstrates what amount of work needs to be done by certain developing countries before their universities can make a name for themselves in the world – and what risks to expect if they fall behind.”.
This year the methodology of the rankings was changed: the requirement for the number of papers published by universities and indexed by Thomson Reuters was reduced from at least 200 to 100. Accordingly, the citation component was reduced from 30% in the world ranking to 20% in this ranking. This helped three specialized Russian universities including MEPhI to enter the rankings.
Commenting the results, Baty said: "This new important rating is good news for Russia because it demonstrates that the country is achieving stable progress in its desire to enhance the competitiveness of its leading educational institutions on a global level”.
The main university of the country – Moscow State University – improved its position in the top 10, jumping from 10th place to 5th. Overall, Russia is much better represented in the rankings than ever before – five new Russian universities are listed this year. This improvement is partially attributed to the fact that the methodology of the rankings was changed, enabling small specialized Russian schools to be rated this year.
Baty then went on to add: “However, the main success was achieved thanks to long awaited reforms in the ranking technique. For example, Novosibirsk State University got into the top 40 thanks to numerous structural changes which improved its global reputation in the sphere of research; St. Petersburg State University has also significantly improved its position. Times Higher Education is happy to collaborate with the Government of the Russian Federation and Project 5-100 aimed at assessing Russian universities in accordance with the strict and precise global performance indicators which THE itself applies. In view of the increased investments and structural reforms, we are expecting to see further progress in Russian in the near future”.
Based on the announced results it is obvious that Russian universities, including Project 5-100 participants, are making progress. At the same time, Russian higher education is only at the beginning of the journey in terms of raising the awareness of Russian education in the world.
The Russian Academic Excellence Project (Project 5-100) was launched in May 2013 in accordance with the Presidential Decree of the Russian Federation # 599, “On measures to realize state policy in the sphere of education and science” and is designed to tap into the full academic and research potential of Russian universities while bolstering their positions in the global education market.
The university-winners of an Open Contest for government support successfully “defended” their excellence initiatives which are comprised of action plans to be subsidized by the government. Such plans include development of educational programs, organization of world-class research and an elevation in the image of Russian universities at the global level.
In addition to the entry of at least five Russian universities into the top 100 of global education ratings, the key expected result of the Project by 2020 is that Russia will have a group of contemporary university leaders with an effective management structure and a strong international academic reputation which meets international development trends and can quickly adapt to global changes.
Times Higher Education World University Rankings — a global analysis and an accompanying rating table of the world’s best universities. The rating is compiled in accordance with the methodology of Times Higher Education (THE) and Thomson Reuters. It is considered to be one of the most influential global universities rankings. In 2013 THE published the first rankings of 22 universities from emerging economies. The new ranking includes all five BRICS countries.