The Formula for a World Class University Revealed

Published: Mon 15 Sep 2014 11:09 AM
- The characteristics of a typical world top-200 university are unveiled ahead of the 2014-15 Times Higher Education World University Rankings
The quest to create “world-class universities” has become a global obsession in the last decade, since governments across the world have put the development of competitive higher education and research systems at the heart of their national economic strategies.
In Russia, for example, President Vladimir Putin has made it a key policy to see five Russian universities in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by 2020. In Japan, President Shinzo Abe has said there should be ten Japanese universities in the world top 100 by 2023.
Now, ahead of the 11th annual edition of the THE World University Rankings to be published on 1 October 2014, Times Higher Education has shed new light on the subject, revealing for the first time the key characteristics of the average top 200 university in its 2014-15 World University Rankings. The top 200 represents the top 1 per cent of the world’s higher education institutions.
The average top-200 university:
Has a total annual income of $751,139 per academic
Has a student-to-staff ratio of 11.7:1
Hires 20 per cent of its staff from abroad
Has a total research income of $229,109 per academic
Publishes 43 per cent of all its research papers with at least one international co-author
Has a student body made up of 19 per cent international students
The characteristics are taken from the THE World University Rankings for 2014-15, which will be published in full at 21.00 BST on Wednesday 1 October 2014. The rankings are compiled using data from Thomson Reuters (Thomson Reuters InCites TM, 2014) and include the world’s top 400 universities, and the top 100 in each of six subject areas.
Phil Baty, editor of the THE World University Rankings, said: “Of course, excellent universities come in many different shapes and sizes, there is certainly no single model of excellence, and the THE World University Rankings are carefully designed to capture excellence in teaching and research against a university’s own mission and its own unique profile.
“But this new information, revealed for the first time from the rankings database, provides some clear pointers for any university or any government serious about building world class universities.
Baty continued: “Firstly, you need serious money – it is essential to pay the salaries to attract and retain the leading scholars and to build the facilities needed; second, providing an intimate and intensive teaching environment for students, where they can expect to properly engage with leading faculty, can really help. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a world class university really must be international – it must attract the most talented staff and students from wherever in the world they happen to come from and bring people together from a range of different cultures and backgrounds to tackle shared global challenges, and it must work and think across national borders.”
-ends -
Notes to editors
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-15 will be published on Wednesday 1 October 2014 at 21.00 BST (London, England).
About Times Higher Education magazine
Times Higher Education is the world’s most authoritative source of information about higher education. Designed specifically for professional people working in higher education and research,THE was founded in 1971 and has been online since 1995. It is published by TES Global.
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision-makers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, intellectual property and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organisation. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs approximately 60,000 people and operates in more than 100 countries. For more information, see

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