QS World University Rankings: ITMO Among Top 2% of World’s Universities

ITMO University has made its debut in QS World University Rankings, placed 601-650 in the global ranking. This year the QS company evaluated more than 4,300 higher education institutions for its ranking, of which 980 have ended up in the final list – 62 more than last year. There are approximately 26,000 universities in the world, meaning that ITMO University is among the world’s top 2%. This spring, ITMO University also made its debut in QS’s Subject Rankings being placed 351-400 in two subjects: Computer Science & Information Systems and Physics & Astronomy. 

Almost all of the Russian universities in the rankings have shown good student-to-faculty ratios and ITMO wasn’t an exception: our university ranks #202 in the world in this criteria.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the rankings’ results:

ITMO’s Research activity

ITMO University earned its place in the rankings thanks to its increase in academic productivity. The number of publications indexed by Scopus has increased greatly and so did the citation indexes of the university’s scientists and professors. The number of peer-reviewed publications at ITMO has increased by 150% as compared to last year, while the number of citations (self-citations not included) has increased by almost four times! The QS rankings account for publications over the course of five years – 2011 to 2015, and citations over the course of six years – 2011 to 2016.

ITMO University is 7th among the 24 Russian universities in the rankings by its number of citations per faculty member.

ITMO’s International activity

The QS rankings have underlined another of ITMO University’s strengths – the high level of its internationalization. ITMO is ranked #340 by the number of international students, which places it much higher than most universities on the list. ITMO is 7th among the Russian universities on the rankings according to its number of international students, professors and researchers.

QS – a ranking of reputation

The QS ranking, unlike many other rankings, places much more emphasis on a university’s reputation. For that reason, results of a global expert survey play a deciding role in the final ranking: 50% of the final evaluation is determined by the university’s reputation (recognizability) among academics (40%) and employers (10%). In certain subject rankings those percentages are even higher. The survey accounts for responses from a period of five years, which means that in the near future ITMO has a great potential for growth in that criteria.

“For better or worse, a number of great achievements don’t affect a university’s placement in the ranking – only cumulative achievements over the course of several years and a wide global recognition can effect it,” – says Ilya Kuftiryov, head of ITMO’s Rankings Research Center – “ending up in the QS rankings is a long-term process that requires dedication and active participation: one needs to send objective statistics on the university to the ranking agency, as well as references for its experts, e.g. experts from academia or industry who are aware of the university and can vouch for its status as a leader in its field of expertise. It also needs to be taken into account that the experts’ responses to the survey are collected over a period of five years. Thus, a university’s placement in a QS ranking is dependent on experts and their willingness to take part in a ranking agency’s survey”.

As noted by Marianna Chistyakova, head of ITMO's Strategic Development Department and Project 5-100 manager, the university's development strategy is focused primarily on impactful change and a through transformation of its structure. ITMO University's clear advance in rankings is a result of that effort.

“Since 2013, as part of Project 5-100, we’ve begun the process of large-scale transformation and development of our university in the fields of science, education, entrepreneurship and industry cooperation. Our primary goals are improving international accessibility in all aspects of our work, networking and increasing our intellectual capital by means of, among other things, recruiting scientists, professors and staff with experience in working at leading Russian and international universities and scientific centers,” – comments Ms. Chistyakova – “ITMO University’s rise through the ranks is a clear outcome of the actions and measures we have taken with an aim to develop our system for international research, global education, structural transformation and focus on cutting-edge fields of research with a high scientific, educational and commercial potential -  these are, first and foremost, IT, photonics and biotechnology.”


Marianna Chistyakova

Ms. Chistyakova also adds that among other major changes achieved during the implementation of Project 5-100 are: introduction of international Master’s and Postgraduate educational programs, including ones with double diplomas, and the launch of several initiatives to increase the university’s visibility and academic reputation in the global scientific and academic community. She notes that the actions needed to ensure the university’s further growth in competitive performance by 2020 and after are already being outlined in the new Project 5-100 roadmap. It is based on a vision for the university’s development up to 2035 which was formed during a series of strategic sessions between students, staff and groups of outside experts.

In total, 24 Russian universities have been included in the rankings. The ranking agency noted that Russian universities have shown impressive results in recent years, a success which they attribute to increased government funding and improvement in student mobility. 14 Russian universities have improved their standing and only 2 fell behind their previous result. Notably, 15 of the universities on the list are participants of Project 5-100.

The full results of QS World University Rankings 2018 can be found here.

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