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Russia increases representation in Times Higher Education global rankings

LONDON, September 11. /TASS/. A total of 39 Russian universities made it into the 2020 edition of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, four more than last year, the survey’s authors said on Wednesday.

The Lomonosov Moscow State University remains Russia’s highest-placed entry in the rankings, which list 1,300 higher education institutions from 92 countries. This year, Russia’s top entry climbed 10 places, to the 189th place.

According to the authors of the survey, the university’s improvement is "primarily due to an increase in its research environment score, while its industry income and teaching environment scores remain strong."

"However, in common with many Russian institutions, the university is held back by a poor citation impact score compared to its global rivals - and actually receives a lower score on this measure compared with last year," THE said.

The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology has risen into the 201-250 band, up from 251-300, while the Higher School of Economics climbed into the 251-300 band from the 301-350 cohort. St Petersburg’s ITMO University ranks as the best outside of the capital, improving its score over last year to enter the 401-500 band (up from 501-600) alongside the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI.

Overall, Russia has five new entries, the highest-ranked of them being National Mineral Resources University in the 801-1,000 band.

Expert’s opinion

THE chief knowledge officer Phil Baty noted the success of higher education from Russia against the backdrop of intense global rivalry.

"Russia has faced extremely stiff higher education competition in recent years, so it is encouraging that several of the country’s best universities have been able to improve their standing in the ranking this year," the expert said. "But Russian institutions still underperform in key metrics against international rivals, most notably in the area of citation impact, which sadly undermines the positive progress that many of them have made elsewhere."

"Russian universities must not only work hard to improve their international relations and partnerships, but must also ensure that they can hold on to their most capable people and boost their research quality," he added.

Russia overtook Australia in terms of number of universities, but is still the 11th most-represented country, having itself been overtaken by Iran.

Global leaders and methodology

In the latest edition of the survey, the University of Oxford tops the global rankings for the fourth year running, while the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) rises from fifth to second. The University of Cambridge is third. Overall, the top 10 features universities exclusively from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The research is based on 13 performance indicators, divided into five major groups: teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); citations (research influence); industry income (knowledge transfer); and international outlook (staff, students, research)

Development program

Russian universities attribute the country’s growing representation to their successful educational policies and active cooperation with science and research centers and business partners.

The press service of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, which remains Russia’s longtime leader in the rankings, said its standings improved due to implementation of a development program.

"MSU’s indicator of teaching saw the biggest progress, increasing to 78.2 points and making it world’s No. 23 in that regard," an MSU spokesperson said.

"We employ leaders in science, global and Russian IT-industry, and brilliant teachers. However, I would like to note that climbing to high positions in rankings is not our goal in itself. At the same time, rankings can provide an opportunity to take an unbiased look at our activities and help us to promptly respond to various challenges, retaining the leadership positions in education and science," Moscow State University Rector Victor Sadovnichy said.