Stanford, CalTech and MIT have grabbed the top three slots in the Times Higher Education (THE) ranking of the world’s Top 100 universities in the field of engineering and technology, but India managed to crack this one, thanks to the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) filling slot 99, officially getting the tag of one of the world’s most elite institutes.
Ranked below University of Science and Technology of China; Chinese University of Hong Kong and Japan’s Osaka University, the Bengaluru-based institute is about 105 years old and hosts, among others, the Divecha Centre for Climate Change, the Centre for Earth Sciences, the Centre for NeuroScience, the Centre for Excellence in Nano Science and Engineering and the Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber Physical Systems.
Responding to HT Education’s queries on IISc’s performance, Phil Baty, editor of THE World University Rankings, said the institute enjoyed a very strong global reputation for its teaching and research. The THE World University Rankings employ 13 separate performance indicators, covering a university’s activities such as teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. Two indicators were also based on a global academic reputation survey. “IISc is highly regarded by senior published academics across the world and such a prestigious reputation drives success in other indicators, allowing the institution to attract and retain leading academic talent and top students, for example,” he added. For THE, this was the year of “Asian progress,” even though the top 10 slots were taken by US institutes. Their numbers, however, went down to 31 from last year’s 34. The Asian universities occupied six positions in the top 30 this year.
On the performance of the Indian Institutes of Technology, Baty said, “While teaching at the IITs is very strong, more focus should be made on research – and that requires more funding from the government. Indian institutions are also held back in the global rankings by a generally weak international outlook. The best global universities are truly global in their outlook – drawing in talent from across the world (rather than losing talent to other countries) and engaging in high-impact international academic partnerships,” he said.
India is now heavily engaged in international rankings – having recognised the fact that global rankings are powerful tools to monitor development and ensure global competition, Baty added.
When asked if Indian institutes had a real need for international rankings, he said the country “absolutely needed and deserved” institutes that could compete on a global stage. If Indian institutions are too inward looking, they risk falling behind further in what is a global market. Strong, innovative universities at the forefront of new knowledge creation and new technological advances will be a key to India’s economic success.
Recounting his recent visits to India, Baty said there was optimism all round because of increased interest in rankings – “by collecting and reporting more institutional data, Indian institutions will be much better equipped to set a clear strategy with clear benchmarking against clearly defined global data definitions and standards, and will be able to track progress over time. However, nothing can replace a clear government-led commitment to invest properly in leading universities, and a commitment to open up internationally. This will be crucial to India’s future success in global rankings.”