New Delhi, April 30: The Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, has shown the way.
The young IIT from Assam has brought cheer to Indian academic institutions by occupying a place among the top 100 world universities — under 50 years of age — published by London-based Times Higher Education (THE) magazine today. IIT Guwahati has been placed 87th in the ranking that analysed 800 new-breed universities from 29 countries, including the US and the UK.
The magazine is known for its World University Ranking in which the age of an institution is no bar for participation.
Two years ago, the magazine has started a separate ranking for universities, which are below 50 years of age, to suggest which institutions have the potential to become the next generation’s Harvard or Oxford.
No Indian institution has ever figured among the top 200 positions in the ranking. Only five institutions, including four IITs, found a place in the top 500 world institutions in 2013, up from three in the previous year.
Punjab University was placed between 225 to 250 positions in the World University Ranking of THE last year, marking the best achievement by an Indian institution till last year.
“There has been a great deal of soul-searching in India over the fact that none of its universities make the World University Rankings top 200 — a serious concern given the country’s great intellectual history and growing social and economic influence. But this new analysis, which examines the next generation of global university stars, should be encouraging,” said Phil Baty, rankings editor, Times Higher Education.
Of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations, Russia, mainland China and South Africa do not make the grade, so it is cause for optimism that the IIT Guwahati, breaks into the top 100, Baty said.
The magazine looked at 13 criteria such as teaching, staff:student ratio, research output, citation impact, international outlook, international students, international academic staff, research income from industry among others.
From India, 19 institutions, including Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), provided their data for the ranking of under-50 institutions. JNU outperformed IIT Guwahati in the heavily weighted teaching indicators category, gaining a very good score on this indicator.
However, IIT Guwahati outperformed on the equally-weighted research indicator group, and far outperformed JNU in the citation impact indicator, which is also related to research performance. This means that many academics from all over the world are quoting the research being produced by IIT Guwahati.
IIT Guwahati’s director Prof. Gautam Biswas told The Telegraph that the increased research output had helped the institute find a place among the top 100.
“Some faculty colleagues have been able to demonstrate substantial intrinsic merit of their research. Also some research activities have excellent connect to industrial problems,” Biswas said.
For the third year in a row, the ranking is headed by South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech), while the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) holds on to the third spot it gained last year. Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne has retained second position.
East Asia’s dominance at the top of the table has increased this year. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology stays in fourth, while Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University moves up to fifth from eighth.
The top 10 includes representatives from eight countries. The Netherlands’ Maastricht University holds on to sixth, France’s Université Paris-Sud advances to the eighth spot (up from 10th) while the US’s top-ranked institution, the University of California, Irvine, has slipped from fifth to seventh position this year. Université Pierre et Marie Curie stays at ninth and the final top 10 position is taken by UK’s Lancaster University.
In terms of national strength, Australia now matches the UK with 14 representatives in the table of top 100 institutions. While it dominates the traditional university rankings, the US has only eight institutions in the 100 under-50.
No Indian institution had participated in this ranking last year.