Computer science professor propels TU/e to top ranking

In this year’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), better known as the Shanghai Ranking, TU/e turns out to be the third university of Europe within the field of computer science - after Oxford and Cambridge. Overall, TU/e ends in place 363, as against position 437 last year. The rise in both rankings is almost entirely to be credited to prof. dr. ir. Wil van der Aalst, professor of Architecture of Information Systems. Since recently he has been registered as ‘Highly Cited Researcher’.

Harvard, according to the Shanghai Ranking, is the best research university in the world, followed at a great distance by Stanford and MIT. Apart from Cambridge (5) and Oxford (10), the top 20 only features American universities.

In addition to a general ranking, the ARWU also comprises rankings per ‘field’ and per ‘subject’. TU/e performs best in the Netherlands in the ‘field’ of Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences, while competitors Delft and Twente score better in the general list. This is due to the fact that part of the research conducted at universities of technology comes under the category of ‘Natural Sciences and Mathematics’.

Universities with researchers who are listed as ‘Highly Cited’ on, are awarded points for this by the drafters of the ARWU. Van der Aalst is the only TU/e researcher holding that status; Delft also has only one such frequently cited scientist. Twente has two.

The general ranking is composed on the basis of the same methodology as last year: thirty percent is determined by winners of Nobel prizes and Field Medals (in which alumni count for ten percent and staff members for twenty percent), twenty percent by much-cited researchers, twenty percent by articles in Nature and Science, twenty percent by articles in the Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index. The final ten percent is determined by the performance per fte. Only in that last category does Harvard not have the best score, as appears from the ranking.

As in earlier years, the best Dutch university is reported to be Utrecht University, which rose by two places to position 48. Leiden comes in as a good second on position 65. All thirteen Dutch universities are ranked in the top-500, whereby larger universities generally score better in view of the measurement methods. There are estimated to be 17,000 universities worldwide.