Final conference of the U-Multirank project: results presented in Brussels on 9 June 2011
A European commission funded network lead by CHEPS and CHE - Centre for Higher Education has developed an alternative concept for a global multi-dimensional ranking, and has tested its feasibility in a pilot study. The results of the U-Multirank project were presented on 9 June 2011 at the final conference in Brussels involving more than 200 participants, and were officially passed on to the EU commission. The results show that the concept developed for a multi-dimensional ranking works also on a global scale and overcomes many of the shortcomings of the existing global rankings. The concluded U-Multirank project is a feasibility study that will not be published.
In order to develop a reasonable global ranking that also reflects the diversity in higher education beyond the international research universities a group of several European institutions elaborated the project tendered by the European commission for “the concept development and feasibility test of a global multi-dimensional ranking”. The alternative concept benefits from the methodological groundwork laid in the CHE UniversityRanking and follows CHE methodology with respect to many basic elements: the ranking is multi-dimensional, it depicts differentiated profiles and performances of higher educations institutions (HEIs) instead of setting simplifying total values, and the institutions are allocated to rank groups instead of rank positions.
Closely following another EU funded project for the development of a European HEI classification (U-Map) an additional instrument is to be developed that helps to identify groups of comparable HEIs on the basis of institutional HEI profiles. These groups can then be compared in a ranking. This combination of institutional profiles and a multi-dimensional ranking makes it possible to visualise excellence in several areas.
CHE and U-Multirank ranking expert Gero Federkeil said: “The pilot study that involved about 120 European and non-European HEIs showed that the concept is sustainable. Compared on a global level it works virtually trouble-free for the indicators ‘teaching & studies’, ‘research’ and ‘international orientation’; but for some indicators it was difficult to provide and compare data, especially when measuring aspects of knowledge transfer.”
The fifth dimension involved in the comparison was the regional commitment of HEIs – an aspect that had not been considered in rankings so far. However, only few HEIs could provide data on indicators such as the number of internships with regional businesses or the number of final theses in cooperation with regional organisations. The project was managed by the Dutch Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) and CHE - Centre for Higher Education, and was carried out jointly with bibliometric data experts from Leiden university’s “Center for Science and Technology Studies” (CWTS), with experts for technology transfer indicators from the Catholic Leuven University, and with researchers from the “Observatoire des Sciences et des Techniques” (OST) from Paris.