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India and China shine in list of the best universities in emerging economies


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India has increased its share of the top universities in the Times Higher Education BRICS & Emerging Economies University Rankings 2017, but China still has the highest density of leading institutions in the developing world.

The Indian Institute of Science breaks into the top 15 for the first time this year, in 14th place, thanks to an improved teaching environment and greater research influence. The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay has also reached its highest position after climbing three places to 26th, boosted by improved scores across all the five pillars underlying the methodology.

Overall, the country has 27 universities in the top 300 ranking, 19 of which make the top 200 (up from 16 last year), making it the second most-represented nation in the table.

Despite India’s gains, however, China still dominates the list, taking 52 – or more than one in six – places in the top 300. Six of these make the elite top 10, including Fudan University, which rose 11 places to reach sixth place this year, and Peking and Tsinghua universities, which hold on to the top two spots for the fourth year running.

Anurag Kumar, director of the Indian Institute of Science, said that increased government science funding in recent years has enabled the university to enhance grants for new hires, invest in state-of-the-art infrastructure and encourage interdisciplinary research.

The institution is working hard to attract more scientists from other countries, he added, while also noting that India’s large youth population is a “great asset, especially since they are getting better education right from primary school to college”.

 “This growing talent pool augurs well for the country,” he said. “The government is doing its part by enhancing its education and research budget across the board.”

However, while the two Asian giants have improved their showing, the performance of the other BRICS nations is waning, largely because of increased competition as a result of expanding the list to rank 300 universities from 41 countries, up from 200 institutions in 35 nations last year.

Brazil no longer has a university in the top 10, as the University of São Paulo slips four places to 13th, its lowest ever position, while half of South Africa’s eight universities have fallen.

Russia’s performance is more mixed; while 10 of its 24 universities have dropped places, Lomonosov Moscow State University holds on to third place amid increasing competition from China, and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology climbs 81 places to 12th, thanks to an improved performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

The THE BRICS & Emerging Economies University Rankings use the same 13 performance indicators as the flagship World University Rankings but are recalibrated to reflect the development priorities of universities in emerging economies.

 


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