Indian varsities missing in THE under-50 rankings

  • Ayesha Banerjee, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 12, 2015 18:04 IST

The latest rankings of Times Higher Education’s (THE) under-50 universities (that is universities below the age of 50), released last week, disappointed again as no Indian institute made it to the list.

For the first time in the history of the rankings of younger institutes which can in the future give a Cambridge or Oxford a run for their money, Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne moved from second place (since 2012) to the top. It swapped places with South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech). The remainder of the top five had no changes and included the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) at third position, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology coming up fourth and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University remaining in fifth position.

Analysis of the group that made it to the top revealed to “some extent” the secrets of what it took to make it to the top. According to Phil Baty, rankings editor, THE, said the first of these areas is ‘Citation Impact’ – how much a university’s research papers are being referenced by other academics; a measure of the influence its research has on the rest of the world.

The second is ‘Income from Industry’ – how much companies are working with academics and applying their research to the real-world - and the third is ‘International Outlook’; a measure of how many international students and staff a university attracts, and how much it is collaborating on international research papers with other institutions. Asked why Indian varsities lagged, Baty said about 20 Indian institutes were among 800 universities worldwide which had submitted data for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings published in October (The Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 uses the same data pool). “A number of these Indian institutions did not meet our data providers’ strict criteria for inclusion in the rankings, which includes a minimum number of research papers to be published each year, and were therefore excluded.” To add to that, many of the remaining institutions were also founded before 1964, which meant that they could not be considered for the 100 Under 50; a ranking of the world’s top 100 universities under the age of 50 years.

That said, there was definitely scope for improvement as THE had an open dialogue with ministers in India with regards to how Indian government and institutions could work with the rankings provider to make positive changes in higher education that will help India perform better in the global higher education marketplace, Baty said.

The top 10 in the THE under-50 list included representatives from eight countries overall: the Netherlands’ Maastricht University remained sixth; the US’ University of California, Irvine was seventh, with its UC institute Santa Cruz moving up three places to eighth; the UK’s University of Warwick rose from 12th to ninth; and France’s Paris-Sud University fell two places to 10th.

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