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Eighteen Russian universities enter top 1000 of THE World University Rankings 2018

The Lomonosov Moscow State University remains number one Russian institution of higher learning
The Lomonosov Moscow State University  Andrei Makhonin/TASS
The Lomonosov Moscow State University
© Andrei Makhonin/TASS

LONDON, September 5. /TASS/. Eighteen Russian universities have made it into the top 1,000 global list of the Times Higher Education (THE), a London-based weekly magazine specializing in news and issues related to higher education, for 2018.

Although a number of Russian higher education institutions have managed to improve their positions in the ranking, Russia’s overall presence has declined. Thus, THE World University Rankings 2018, embracing 1,000 universities from 77 countries, features by six less universities from Russia than the last year’s one.

Unfailing Russian leader

The Lomonosov Moscow State University remains number one Russian institution of higher learning. This year, it placed 194th, or down by six positions for the last year’s 188th place. Nevertheless, it is staying among the world’s top 200.

Russia’s number two and three institutions, on the contrary, managed to clime up the ratings. Thus, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology moved up from the group of universities sharing positions from 301-350 to group 251-300. The Tomsk Polytechnic University made even more impressive progress - from the last year’s group 501-600 to a group sharing positions from 301 to 350.

The Moscow-based Higher School of Economics also improved its positions, rising to group 351-400. Other Russian universities, namely Kazan Federal University, National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, Novosibirsk State University, and St. Petersburg State University, which were ranked among the world’s top 500 last year, retained their positions in group 401-500.

The rest are ranked as follows: ITMO University, Tomsk State University (501-600), National University of Science and Technology (MISiS), Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, Samara State Aerospace University (601-800), and Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, National Research Saratov State University, Novosibirsk State Technical University, and Southern Federal University (801-1,000).

Expert opinion

Phil Baty, Editorial Director, Global Rankings, explained the reduction of Russia’s presence in the ranking by tougher competiotion. "The driver here is the increased competition. The interest in the ranking in the world increased very significantly, we have 300 additional universities submitting their data this year. So actually we are seeing the competition to make it into Top-1000 is much more intense,» he told TASS. "We have a group of (Russian) institutions just outside the Top-1000, in the 1000-1100 group, their performance is not getting worse. It is simply the case of the competition to make into the table is much intense."

"We see some very good examples raising in ranking, we see the High School of Economics rising up. We see other members of 5-100 project moving up," he said referring to the project of having at least five Russian higher learning institutions be ranked among the world’s top 100. "That is very good example of what they have achieved."

Among the factor helping universities improve their positions in the rankings, Baty cited better financing and internationalization. "Money will always be very important, can you give them the resources to build the right infrastructure, to attract the right talent, the academic talent, leading scholars," he noted. "A lot of countries are investing heavily, so financial support is absolutely integral, universities in places like China has been investing many-many billions of dollars since the 1990-s, universities in Singapore for example are getting much more generous funding. Even when Russia is increasing its spending, there is a genuine sense that they not necessarily a keeping up with the competition, other countries are still investing more heavily."

"The internationalization of Russian universities is positive, so allowing the international scholars to build career in Russia, for greater use of English language," he went on to say. "All these are very positive initiatives that will start to make a positive contribution to Russia's successful rankings."

"It is encouraging that several Russian universities have made significant improvements this year. But the country will need to ensure that it continues to invest in its universities as global competition heats up," he stressed.

Rankings calculation methodology

The 2018 World University Rankings is THE’s 14th annual ranking. It is based on 13 performance indicators grouped into five areas, namely Teaching, Research, Citations, International outlook, and Industry income.

The 1,000 universities that are present in the ranking account for a mere five percent of higher learning institutions worldwide.