News - September 27, 2018

WUR second best Dutch university in THE-ranking

Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau,Redactie

WUR moved up from 64th to 59th position in the Times Higher Education Ranking. Delft University of Technology is the new number 1 in the Netherlands with a 58th overall position. Delft surpassed the University of Amsterdam, which dropped three places.

© Marte Hofsteenge

Of the twelve Dutch universities in the top 200, eight dropped in ranking. Tilburg University, which was in 195th place last year, dropped just outside the top 200 this year.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings uses five indicators to assess the quality of a university. Teaching, research and citations each account for 30% of the score; international outlook counts for 7.5%, and industry income for the last 2.5%.

WUR scores particularly high in the areas of citations and research assignments from third parties, with 96.8 and 100.0 points respectively. The scores for teaching (49.2) and research (53.6) are considerably lower, while the international outlook provides WUR with 81.7 points. The rise in rank is a consequence of improved scores for teaching and international outlook.

Three years ago, Wageningen was suddenly in the top 50 (47th rank), but then WUR dropped back to 65 due to a different calculation. Over the past few years, the university has risen again slightly in the THE Ranking, one of the most influential rankings in the world.

The small country of the Netherlands is still doing well in the ranking of the world’s best universities. Of all European countries, only the United Kingdom (29) and Germany (23) have more universities in the top 200. Worldwide, this is only surpassed by the United States (60). The ranking is still led by Oxford and Cambridge.

Ellie Bothwell, editor of Times Higher Education, has no explanation for the drop. ‘It doesn’t necessarily mean that the Dutch universities have been doing worse. It may also be that other universities are improving and that competition is increasing.’ There is an especially noticeable rise among Asian universities.

The methodology behind the ranking remains unaltered. The research and teaching reputation of a university still determine a third of the total score each. ‘We do not ask the people we survey around the world for the reasons why they name one university and not another’, Bothwell says.

What could still play a role according to her is that the Dutch business community has been contributing less to research, although the industry income only determines 2.5 percent of the total score per university.