UP among Global Elite: First Time in QS World University Rankings

UP keeps improving its position in international rankings, thanks, among others, to outstanding achievements in science and research. Illustrational photo: Ota Blahoušek
monday 12. september 2016, 13:10 – Text: Martina Šaradínová

Palacký University has been included for the first time in the prestigious international QS World University Rankings. More than 900 universities are listed in the rankings; the Czech Republic has five representatives among the top 700. Palacký University is number four among them, while globally it was ranked within the 651–700 positions. The highest-ranking Czech university is Charles University in Prague (no. 302).

“Palacký University is now in two out of the three most prestigious world university rankings. The fact that we are in the company of the best academic institutions is of tremendous import, both in terms of international scientific collaboration, as well as the university’s reputation. The position in international rankings may also become one of the criteria in the system of distribution of financial support for Czech universities. At the same time, it is good feedback, indicating that we have taken the right direction,” said UP Rector Jaroslav Miller.

UP improved its reputation

Similarly to other university rankings, the QS World University Rankings® assess performance in science and research on the basis of bibliographic databases of articles and their citations, with the latest edition covering the years 2011–2015. Concerning these two criteria, Palacký University has been a leading institution in the Czech Republic in recent years; its international position is also impressive, which has been confirmed by other important international rankings, including the CWTS Leiden Ranking 2016. The QS Rankings also assess the student-to-faculty ratio, the international student ratio, the international faculty ratio, and a global reputation survey is conducted. Academic reputation, that is, the perception of schools by the academic community and major international employers, makes up 50 percent of the overall score.

That used to be an area where Palacký University scored lower marks in the past. However, thanks to gradual improvement, UP appeared side-by-side with Charles University in Prague, Czech Technical University in Prague, Masaryk University in Brno, and Brno University of Technology, all of whom dropped in the rankings in comparison with the previous year. In the indicators “Citations per faculty” (a standardised number of citations per one faculty member) and “International faculty ratio” (an index based on the proportion of international faculty members at the institution), UP scored best among Czech universities. In terms of disciplines at UP, the highest publication performance and citation index were achieved in the natural sciences and medicine.

Systematic work bears fruit

Olomouc’s university has fought for inclusion in the elite club for three years. The QS World University Rankings are the first compiler of international rankings to be independently audited and approved by the IREG Observatory on Academic Rankings and Excellence, which evaluates and critically examines existing international rankings. “It is considered the most prestigious international rankings along with the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Qualifying for QS was more difficult due to their strict criteria of evaluation. Therefore we had to work systematically on this agenda,” explained Zuzana Polanská from the UP Strategy Support Office.

The QS World University Rankings 2016 is in its 13th edition. The rankings list 916 universities out of 4322 monitored. The first three positions are held by U.S. universities – MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. The results are available HERE. The QS Rankings include the regional EECA Ranking (Emerging Europe and Central Asia), where Palacký University has been included for three years in row, ever improving its position.