Fin­nish uni­ver­si­ties best in world in GDP-ad­justed rank­ing

THE (Times Higher Education) - - CONTENTS - el­lie.both­well@timeshigh­ere­d­u­ca­

Fin­land’s uni­ver­si­ties are the high­est per­form­ing in the world when coun­tries’ lev­els of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment are taken into ac­count, ac­cord­ing to a rank­ing of na­tional higher ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems.

The Nordic coun­try has over­taken Ser­bia to claim pole po­si­tion in the Univer­si­tas 21 de­vel­op­men­tad­justed rank­ing for 2018, up from sixth in last year’s ta­ble.

The UK re­mains in sec­ond place in the rank­ing ad­justed for gross do­mes­tic prod­uct, while Ser­bia slips to third and South Africa drops five places to eighth. The US re­mains at 15th.

Fin­land is also joint sixth, up from ninth, in the over­all top 50 rank­ing, which is based on sys­tems’ ab­so­lute per­for­mance.

This ta­ble is topped by the US, Switzer­land and the UK. Swe­den and Den­mark swap places to claim fourth and fifth po­si­tions, re­spec­tively, this year, while Sin­ga­pore slips three places to ninth.

The Univer­si­tas 21 rank­ings are cre­ated by a global con­sor­tium of re­search uni­ver­si­ties to com­pare the per­for­mance of whole coun­tries, as an al­ter­na­tive to other rank­ings that fo­cus on in­di­vid­ual in­sti­tu­tions.

The rank­ings are based on 24 sep­a­rate vari­ables, in­clud­ing the num­ber and im­pact of re­search ar­ti­cles pro­duced, uni­ver­sity en­rol­ment and grad­u­ate un­em­ploy­ment, a qual­i­ta­tive as­sess­ment of a coun­try’s pol­icy en­vi­ron­ment, and spend­ing on ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion as a pro­por­tion of GDP.

The de­vel­op­ment-ad­justed rank­ing is mea­sured by ad­just­ing GDP in pur­chas­ing-power par­ity terms to com­pen­sate for different prices across coun­tries.

Ross Wil­liams, emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor of econo­met­rics at the Uni­ver­sity of Mel­bourne and lead au­thor of the study, said that Fin­land achieved a “higher rel­a­tive score on web im­pact”, which mea­sures the vis­i­bil­ity and im­pact of its uni­ver­si­ties’ on­line pres­ence and pub­li­ca­tions.

It also im­proved on a mea­sure that cal­cu­lates the scores that a na­tion’s three best uni­ver­si­ties re­ceived in Shang­haiRank­ing’s 2017 Aca­demic Rank­ing of World Uni­ver­si­ties and a met­ric com­par­ing the un­em­ploy­ment rates of ter­tiary ed­u­cated and non-ter­tiary ed­u­cated adults.

Pro­fes­sor Wil­liams added that Nordic coun­tries in gen­eral achieved high scores in the rank­ing “be­cause of high gov­ern­ment ex­pen­di­ture, and strong links be­tween uni­ver­si­ties, in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment”.

Mean­while, the in­clu­sion of new data from a Euro­pean Uni­ver­sity As­so­ci­a­tion sur­vey of the fi­nan­cial au­ton­omy of pub­licly funded in­sti­tu­tions low­ered Ser­bia’s score this year, he said.

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