First Ranking of BRICS Countries- Out 17th December

QS is to publish the first bespoke ranking for universities in the so-called BRICS countries next month.

Like its other regional rankings, the one for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will have measures and weightings designed specifically for the group of countries concerned, rather than simply representing an edited version of previously published results.

In order to make valid comparisons between more universities than have precise positions in the QS World University rankings, and to reflect common priorities in the five countries, the new ranking will contain eight measures. They will include the proportion of staff with a PhD and the number of papers published per faculty member.

QS has worked with Interfax, the Russian news agency, to produce the new ranking. Interfax was commissioned by Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science, earlier this year and chose QS to compile the ranking because of its experience with regional and subject comparisons. The ministry has ceded control of the design of the ranking and any editorial content. The results of the pilot study will be presented at a conference in Moscow on December 17.

The ranking has also been discussed with India’s Minister for Human Resources and Development, Dr ShashiTharoor, and the Education Secretary, Ashok Thakur. Both are encouraging Indian institutions to participate in and submit data to international rankings to see if such comparisons can help them.

Dr Juliana Bertazzo, Higher Education Policy Adviser and coordinator of the Brazilian project ‘Science without Borders’, as well as Dr Renato Prado Guimarães, Secretary General at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, were also supportive of the new project, which will highlight the strengths of the universities of these emerging markets.

More than 400 universities across the five countries have been assessed for the new ranking. Only the top 100 will appear in the initial publication.

The methodology will be similar to those used for QS’s regional rankings for Asia and Latin America. Academic reputation will be the most heavily-weighted indicator, but at less than the 40 per cent weighting it receives in the QS World University Rankings.

Ben Sowter, who is responsible for the exercise as head of the QS Intelligence Unit, said the results would be valuable because the five nations had comparable characteristics that led to the development of the “BRICS” term in the first place. The company did not intend to include other emerging nations with few similarities simply because it had the capability to do so.

Jim O’Neill, who coined the term as chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said this month that the group remained a valid point of comparison, although Indonesia could have been included. Between them, they already represented a bigger market than the United States and would play important roles in the future, he said in a speech in London.

QS is to work with the Indian Centre for Assessment & Accreditation (ICAA), a private accreditation body, on a separate evaluation of Indian universities to be published next year. Dr Arun Nigavekar, the ICAA’s founder and a former chairman of the University Grants Commission, said the aim for Indian exercise was to create a system that was “globally accepted, yet locally grounded”.

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