For IISc, big joy in ‘small’ list

Times Higher Education ranks IISc among the world’s top 10 small universities, institute director credits a century of hard work and the independence given to researchers

Written by Johnson TA | Bengaluru | Updated: March 9, 2017 7:23 am
Indian Institute of Science, world’s top 100 engineering and technology universities, Times Higher Education, THE, indian express news Indian Institute of Science

The Indian Institute of Science, which was among the world’s top 100 engineering and technology universities in 2015 in annual rankings put out by the UK-based Times Higher Education (THE), has now taken a place among the top 20 ‘small’ universities for the year 2016-17. In rankings released by THE on Tuesday, IISc, Bengaluru was placed No. 8 in the list of the World’s Best Small Universities. THE introduced this new category in 2015-16. IIT Guwahati and Savitrabai Phule Pune University were placed 14th and 18th respectively in the list last year.

To qualify for the Best Small Universities list, institutions had to feature in THE’s overall World University Rankings for 2016-17, had to be teaching more than 4 subjects, and have less than 5,000 students, according to a statement on the new rankings put out by THE.

IISc has consistently been the top ranked Indian university in THE rankings over the last few years — it is now in the 201-250 band globally. According to THE, “India’s leading university — the Indian Institute of Science — is edging closer to the top 200, claiming a spot in the 201-250 band, its highest ever position”.

IISc Director Prof Anurag Kumar said, “I have not seen the numbers but this (World’s Best Small Universities) seems to be a new category at THE. One of our strengths is research, and we would expect to score best in that category. This ranking is the result of over 100 years of hard work, a high quality faculty, independence given to researchers, government support and an ability to compete with the top universities.”

Oddly, despite being the top Indian university, with a ranking in the 251-300 band in 2015-16, IISc did not feature in the top 20 small universities category that year. IIT Guwahati, which ranked in the 501-600 band, and Savitribai Phule Pune University, which ranked in the 601-800 band, were the Indian universities that made it instead.

The California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, has retained its position from 2016 as the world’s top small university in the 2017 rankings. Caltech is incidentally also the only university in the small universities category to also feature among THE’s rankings of top 10 universities in the world. It has come in at No. 2 behind table leader University of Oxford.

The École Normale Supérieure, based in Paris, is placed No. 2 in the small universities’ list, and is at No. 66 in the World University Rankings. Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea, the top small Asian university, is at No. 3 in the small universities list, and at No. 104 in the world rankings.

The world university rankings are based on marks allotted under five key areas — teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook — with a maximum of 100 marks in each category and for overall performance. According to countrywise data put out by THE, universities in Singapore are among the best in the world on all five counts, while Indian universities tend to be weak on scores for citations and international outlook.
Caltech — No. 2 in the world rankings and No. 1 in the small universities rankings — had an overall score of 94.3, with 99.8 for citations, 90.8 for industry income, 63.4 for international outlook, 95.7 for research, and 95.9 for teaching. Caltech has 2,181 students and a teacher-student ratio of 6.7. It has 27% foreign students.

IISc — No. 8 — scored 47.3 for citations, 48 for industry income, 18.1 for international outlook, 49.2 for research, and 50.1 for teaching. IISc has a total of 3,398 students, making it eligible for the small universities category, and a 8.3 student-teacher ratio. However, only 1% of its students are foreigners.

The South Korean Pohang University of Science and Technology has a overall rating of 59.6, with citations registering 79.2, industry income 99.6, international outlook 34.2, research 48.7 and teaching 53.8. The university has 3,017 students with a teacher-student ratio of 10.

Despite its strong showing in the THE small university rankings, IISc has lagged in recent years in other rankings for international universities. In the Shanghai rankings or Academic Ranking of World Universities put out by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, IISc’s best ranking was between 201-300 — back in 2003. Since 2005, IISc has been slotted consistently in the 301-400 rank bracket.

In the engineering category in the Shanghai rankings, IISc reached its top ranking in 2007, when it was slotted between the 77 and 106 ranks. The two subjects in which IISc has had good rankings over the years in the Shanghai list are chemistry, where it reached a high rank of 43 in 2013, and computer science, where it ranked at a high of 51-75 in 2013.

These are the world’s best universities 

The 2016-17 Times Higher Education World University Rankings published Tuesday is its biggest international list yet — more than the 801 universities listed last year. THE judges universities across their core missions of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook, using 13 performance indicators. The 2016-17 list includes institutions from 79 countries, representing an elite 5% of the world’s higher education institutions. For the first time since the THE’s inception in 2004, an American institution has failed to take the top spot — however, as many as 148 of the total 980 universities in the list, 63 of the top 200, and 3 of the top 5 are still American.

How Brics Fare

BRAZIL: 1 university in top 400, down from 2 last year

RUSSIA: 1 university in top 300, down from 4 last year

INDIA: 2 universities in top 400, 5 in the top 500

CHINA: 2 in top 100 (5 including Hong Kong)

SOUTH AFRICA: 2 in top 200

10 Debutant Countries

Algeria, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Georgia, Kuwait, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Venezuela.

Outside North America & Europe in Top 100

24 National University of Singapore, Singapore

29 Peking University, Beijing, China

33 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

35 Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

39 University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

43 University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

47 Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

49 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong

54 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

60 University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

60 University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

72 Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

74 Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

76 Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

78 University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

89 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology Daejeon, South Korea

91 Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

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