The rise of the European higher education area also triggers the need among current and prospective students for more information of about study programmes in other countries than their own. In order to meet these needs, the CHE has started to internationalise the ranking and allow participation of HEIs in other countries. This began with pilot projects in Austria (2004) and Switzerland (2005). These pilots involved most universities in Austria and Switzerland, and established that the ranking methods applied by the CHE is feasible for an international comparison of HEIs (with nationally-specific adjustments to the data collection methods and indicators).
A project funded by European Commission tested the feasibility of extending the UniversityRanking to include HEIs in the Netherlands and Belgium (Flemish Region) for particular subjects at selected pilot HEIs. As a follow up the results for the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands have been included in the ranking in a first step since 2007. In the ranking 2009 most Dutch universities will participate. In addition individual HEIs that either offer programmes in German language or have a substantial number of students from German speaking countries can participate in the UniversityRanking. An example is the bi-lingual Free University of Bozen, Italy.