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The Knowledge-Sharing Platform

14 May 2014

New global university ranking assesses performance of 850 higher education institutions

A new global university ranking, set up with € 2 million in funding from the European Union, is launched today. U-Multirank, which assesses the performance of more than 850 higher education institutions worldwide, produces multi-dimensional listings rating universities on a much wider range of factors than existing international rankings. The idea is to avoid simplistic league tables which can result in misleading comparisons between institutions of very different types or mask significant differences in quality between courses at the same university. Individual users will be able to build a personalised ranking based on their particular needs. This will allow them to obtain information on the universities or specific disciplines which most interest them, and to choose criteria according to their own preferences.

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth welcomed the launch of this new development in higher education. She states that U-Multirank will enable students to make more informed decisions about where to study and give us a more accurate picture of how universities perform.

While traditional international rankings tend to focus on research excellence and neglect other factors, U-Multirank will base its assessments on five key areas:

  • Research performance
  • Quality of teaching and learning
  • International orientation
  • Success in knowledge transfer (partnerships with business and start-ups)
  • Regional involvement.

According to "U-Multirank", Austrian universities generally perform well in the field of research, however, with regard to teaching, the universities of applied sciences are in a considerably better position.

The new ranking also takes account of feedback from 60,000 students at the participating universities. U-Multirank assesses the overall performance of universities but also ranks them in selected academic fields: In 2014 these fields are business studies, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and physics; in 2015, psychology, computer science and medicine will be added. The universities are tested against up to 30 separate indicators and rated in five performance groups, from 'A' (very good) through to 'E' (weak).

The results show that while over 95% of institutions achieve an 'A' score on at least one measure, only 12% have more than 10 top scores. Of the 850 universities in the ranking, 62% are from Europe, 17% from North America, 14% from Asia and 7% from Oceania, Latin America and Africa.


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