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News vom 12.03.2013

”Diversity in excellence 2012” published: special analysis shows top performances by German higher education institutions in a wide range of areas

The CHE analysed the group of mathematical/natural science subjects from the 2012 UniversityRanking on the basis of research strength, practice orientation, internationality and focus on students. “There are many ways higher education institutions can produce excellent performances, said Prof. Dr. Frank Ziegele, managing director of the CHE. “We wish to make this diversity transparent in four dimensions and in doing so show that HEI performances cannot be determined in a simplified way using one-dimensional measurements.” Prof. Dr. Ziegele added: “Profile shaping isn’t only aimed at research. There are many possible profiles that are not better or worse than any other.”

The strength of the German system of higher education lies in its diversity. This could again be seen in a special analysis of the CHE UniversityRanking based on four dimensions – research, practice orientation, internationality and focus on students – in twelve subjects: biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer sciences, geography, geosciences, care studies, human medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and sports/sport science.

Only a few HEIs are top performers in all respects, but many display excellence according to their special profiles: 68 out of 83 universities show a distinct profile in at least one subject and in relation to at least one of the dimensions analysed.

Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg came out top in seven of the subjects analysed with respect to the practice-orientation dimension. An excellent focus on students can be found at the universities of Bochum, Freiburg, Kaiserslautern, Lübeck and Rostock as well as at the Jacobs University Bremen. Examples from other HEIs show strengths in a particular subject with respect to all the dimensions considered: for example, the universities of Tübingen and Heidelberg are top of the table for all four dimensions when it comes to human medicine; Universität Frankfurt/Main does the same for pharmacy and Universität Bremen for geosciences.

For the dimensions selected to be analysed at universities of applied sciences, namely practice orientation and focus on students, TH Wildau and Hochschule Ingolstadt are in the top group for computer sciences, and Hochschule Esslingen and Fachhochschule Bielefeld for care studies.

HEI strengths beyond research are still unappreciated in the public arena. Prof. Dr. Ziegele said: “All four of the aspects analysed are important tasks of German HEIs. Focusing solely on research does not meet society’s requirements of HEIs. He said HEIs needed space to specialise according to their strengths.

The new special analysis from the CHE UniversityRanking is based on data acquired at universities and universities of applied sciences for the 2012 ranking for the following subjects: natural sciences, medicine, care studies, mathematics, computer sciences and sports. Several indicators from the UniversityRanking 2012 have been bundled together to produce each of the four dimensions: research, internationality, practice orientation and focus on students. The results are available (in german only) in CHE working paper No. 164 – “Vielfältige Exzellenz 2012”. The paper can be downloaded for free at

The “Diversity in excellence 2012“ analysis follows on from “Diversity in excellence 2011“ that was first published in November 2011 and focused on linguistics, cultural sciences and engineering using data from the 2010 UniversityRanking, and on law, economics and social sciences using data from the 2011 UniversityRanking.

The new CHE UniversityRanking 2013/14 will be published on 6 May 2013.

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