Improved data collection has enabled QS to expand its unique ranking of universities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) from 150 to 200 institutions. But there is still remarkable stability at the top.
A total of 24 countries are represented in the 2016 edition of the ranking. Once again, Russia has by far the largest representation, its universities taking almost a third of the places. Among the 63 Russian universities in the ranking, five reached the top 20 and 11 the top 50.
For the first time, the top three EECA universities are all Russian. Lomonosov Moscow State University retains the lead it has held in all three editions of the ranking, with Novosibirsk State University still in second place. Saint-Petersburg State University, which has moved up four places in two years, has overtaken the Charles University, in Prague, to complete the clean sweep.
Turkey has the next-largest representation in the ranking, with 20 of the region’s top 200 universities. They are led by Bogaziçi Üniversitesi, which teaches in English at its six campuses in Istanbul and is the only Turkish university in the top 10.
The Czech Republic is also well represented in the upper echelons of the ranking, despite losing the Charles University from the top three. There are three Czech universities in the top ten, including the Czech Technical University In Prague and Masaryk University, and nine in the top 100 – an unusually high proportion of the country’s higher education institutions.
Poland is the other strong performer in the region, with two universities in the top 10 and 11 in the top 100. The University of Warsaw and the Jagiellonian University lead 15 universities in the ranking as a whole.
The new ranking shows a number of universities making strong progress. Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, in Almaty, for example, has jumped ten places since last year to the verge of the top 10. It leads 18 universities from Kazakhstan in the ranking as a whole.
Further down the ranking, Tallinn University, in Estonia, has moved up 20 places and the Technical University of Ostrava, in the Czech Republic, 24 places. But neither can compare with the University of Nova Gorica, in Slovenia, which has jumped 96 places from the position it would have occupied last year if the ranking had stretched that far.
The methodology behind the EECA ranking is unchanged since last year, with nine indicators: academic and employer reputation; faculty/student ratio; the proportion of international faculty and students; the proportion of staff with a PhD; the number of research papers per member of faculty; and citations per paper; and online visibility as measured by Webometrics. The indicators and weightings were chosen to reflect the strengths and priorities of leading universities in the region. Staffing levels, for example, are regarded as particularly important throughout the region and were therefore weighted more highly than in some of the other regional rankings produced by QS.
The top 100 universities are ranked, with the next 50 placed in bands of five universities and those between 151 and 200 listed alphabetically so as not to make distinctions that cannot be justified by the data.
Written by John O’Leary
Executive Member of the QS Advisory Board