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BlueSky Ranking Of University Rankings 2022/23 – Europe

The dominance of UK universities at the top of the European league table has not diminished since Brexit. Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College and UCL continue to fill the top 4 places as they did five years ago, with Edinburgh, King’s and Manchester ensuring that 7 of the top 9 universities in 2022/23 are from the UK.

The transformation of the French higher education system in the last decade has seen the merger of many smaller prestigious institutions to create a number of mega-universities whose combined reputations and research output have been rewarded in the four global university rankings of THE, QS, US News and ARWU Shanghai.

Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) is now among the top 10 universities in Europe, climbing 5 places since 2018, followed by Paris-Saclay University (formerly University of Paris-Sud among others) that has risen over 30 places to #14, and Sorbonne University (that now includes University Pierre et Marie Curie and has ties with INSEAD) which has seen a similarly dramatic rise of 36 places among European universities to this year rank #15.

The BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings aggregates the performance of schools across the four major global rankings. Each of them uses a different methodology and measures different things with the inherent limitations of each assessment, so doing particularly well in one ranking and less well in another is reflected in the overall average score.

The exception is Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, whose anomalous 2018 ranking by QS below 1,000 ensured that this year’s QS position at #89 catapulted the school to #12 in the overall BlueSky Ranking of Rankings – Europe.

Comparing the combined results of 2022/23 with 2017/18, universities in Germany have made steady progress among the top 50, with TU Munich, Free University of Berlin and the University of Bonn making advances. But elsewhere in Switzerland and Northern Europe, the great majority of universities have slipped, sometimes dramatically.

Other than the University of Oslo, which climbed 9 places to #26, Scandinavian institutions have slumped. Uppsala University and Lund University in Sweden fell 18 and 16 places respectively, While Finland’s Helsinki University fell 8 places, and Denmark’s Aarhus University fell 8 places and the University of Copenhagen fell 5 places. Stockholm University and KTH Royal Institute of Technology also lost ground.

Switzerland, with a population of 8.7 million hosts a remarkable number of world-class academic institutions for countries their size. But in the past 5 years their universities have struggled in the international league tables. The University of Geneva has fallen 19 places, the worst performer among the top 50 universities in Europe. EPF Lausanne has also struggled, falling 8 places while the University of Zurich and the University of Basel both slipped.

The Netherlands, with a population of 17.5 millions is another remarkable university hotspot, with 8 universities among the top 50 in Europe. But Leiden University has lost 9 places compared to European peers since 2018, and Erasmus University (down 8 places), Wageningen University and Delft University of Technology (both down 4 places) add to the rankings decline, with the universities of Groningen, Amsterdam, Utrecht and VU also nudging lower.

There are winners and losers in every ranking of course, and all of the institutions in the top 50 are leading lights for European research, academic reputation and learning. But in a competitive higher education landscape, the BlueSky Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 highlights fascinating international shifts over the past five years.

Global Top 100: BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 – Global

N.America Top 50: BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 – N.America

Asia & Oceania Top 30: BlueSky Thinking Ranking of University Rankings 2022/23 – Asia & Oceania

BlueSky Ranking of the University Rankings 2022/23 – Europe

Rank in Europe 2022/23Rank in Europe 2017/18Institution NameCountryTHE 2023QS 2023USNews 2022/23ARWU 20225-year Change
11University of CambridgeUK32840
12University of OxfordUK14571
33Imperial College LondonUK10613230
55ETH ZurichSwitzerland11929200
66University of EdinburghUK291534350
77King’s College LondonUK353733480
813Université Paris Sciences et LettresFrance472648405
99University of ManchesterUK542863380
1010LMU MunichGermany335947570
1112Technical University of MunichGermany304979561
1259Karolinska InstituteSweden4989514147
1311Universität HeidelbergGermany43655770-2
1445Université Paris-SaclayFrance9369601631
1551Sorbonne UniversityFrance9060484336
168École Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneSwitzerland411669125-8
1716KU LeuvenBelgium42765095-1
1817Utrecht UniversityNetherlands661124454-1
1914University of CopenhagenDenmark114824239-5
2018University of AmsterdamNetherlands605839125-2
2119University of ZurichSwitzerland82836759-2
2215University of BristolUK76619381-7
2326University of GlasgowUK8281741253
2423Humboldt University of BerlinGermany8613161-1
2522University of GroningenNetherlands751458866-3
2635University of OsloNorway12610189679
2734University of SouthamptonUK108781041047
2833Free University of BerlinGermany91118875
2921University of HelsinkiFinland1101069992-8
2920Leiden UniversityNetherlands7713174125-9
3138University of BirminghamUK10891891257
3230Ghent UniversityBelgium1071439574-2
3325Erasmus University RotterdamNetherlands802086587-8
3442University of BernSwitzerland941201071258
3531Wageningen University & ResearchNetherlands5912489175-4
3640London School of Economics and Political ScienceUK37562361254
3729Aarhus UniversityDenmark11716110969-8
3732University of WarwickUK10464163125-5
3936University of SheffieldUK11496134125-3
4039University of BaselSwitzerland10113615083-1
4137Delft University of TechnologyNetherlands7061169175-4
4224Uppsala UniversitySweden14812812789-18
4341University of LeedsUK12886140140-2
4428Lund UniversitySweden11995112175-16
4546University of BonnGermany89201138761
4627University of GenevaSwitzerland22512510962-19
4743Stockholm UniversitySweden17615312790-4
4854Université Paris CitéFrance114248786
4948VU University AmsterdamNetherlands12121482175-1
5044Queen Mary UniversityUK124125100250-6
BlueSky Ranking of University Rankings 202/23 – Europe

University Rankings Methodologies

Each of the major university rankings uses a different methodology and weights the use of different data to produce their league tables, so it is important to understand what is being measured. In simple terms:

THE – the performance indicators are grouped into five areas: Teaching (the learning environment); Research (volume, income and reputation); Citations (research influence); International Outlook (staff, students and research); and Industry Income (knowledge transfer).

Teaching (30%); Research (30%); Citations (30%); International Outlook (7.5%); Industry Income (2.5%).

QS– six indicators looking at four broad categories: research reputation, the learning and teaching environment, research impact, and internationalisation. 

Academic Reputation (40%); Employer Reputation (10%); Citations per Faculty (20%); Faculty Student Ratio (20%); International Student Ration (5%); International Faculty Ratio (5%)

ARWU – considers every university that has any Nobel Laureates, Fields Medalists, Highly Cited Researchers, or papers published in Nature or Science. In addition, universities with a significant amount of papers indexed by Science Citation Index-Expanded (SCIE) and Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) are also included.

Quality of Education (10%); Quality of Faculty (40%); Research Output (40%) Per Capita Performance (10%)

US News – calculates the rankings using 13 indicators and weights that U.S. News chose to measure global research performance.

Global Research Reputation (12.5%); Regional Research Reputation (12.5%); Publications (10%); Books (2.5%); Conferences (2.5%), Normalized Citation Impact (10%); Total Citations (7.5%); Number Of Publications Among 10% Most Cited (12.5%); Percentage Of Total Publications Among 10% Most Cited (10%); International Collaboration – Relative To Country (5%); International Collaboration (5%); Number Of Highly Cited Papers Among Top 1% Most Cited In Respective Field (5%); Percentage Of Total Publications Among Top 1% Most Highly Cited Papers (5%) 

About the author

Matt Symonds is Chief Editor of BlueSky Thinking. He is the S of QS, co-founding QS Quacquarelli Symonds, publishers of the QS World University Rankings and numerous business school rankings.

In 2010 Matt was the media consultant for Times Higher Education to support the launch of their own THE World University Rankings, and has subsequently worked for THE and WSJ for business school rankings.

Matt writes about Higher Education and management for Forbes, BBC, Times of India and formerly The Economist and Bloomberg.

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