Positive Results for French Universities in the 2021 Shanghai Ranking of World Universities

Positive results for French universities as Paris- Saclay University was ranked 13th in the latest Shanghai University Ranking, whilst the Sorbonne University and Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) maintained their position in the top 50.

The 2021 edition of the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Ranking, was published last Sunday. ARWU uses the following six indicators to assess and rank world universities:

  • The number of alumni and staff who won Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals.
  • The number of highly cited researchers selected by Clarivate Analytics.
  • The number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science.
  • The number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index.
  • The number of articles indexed in Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index.
  • Per capita performance of a university.

Although the table remains dominated by American universities (16 universities in the top 20, with Harvard holding first place for the 19th consecutive year), four French universities have maintained their position in the top 100.

The Minister of Higher Education Frédérique Vidal welcomed the news positively as she stated on Twitter: ‘France is once again shining in the Shanghai Ranking which can be regarded as a marker of the country’s scientific excellence and the success of our research policy!’

Paris-Saclay University gained one place in comparison to the previous ranking and was ranked 13th, thereby becoming the first and only EU entry in the top 20. Sorbonne University also improved its ranking and gained four places compared to last year (35th). PSL (38th) and University of Paris (73rd) respectively lost two and eight places but maintained their place in the top 50 and top 100. In an official statement, the Minister also congratulated INSA Toulouse and Montpellier Business School for their entry into this year’s ranking.

In this statement, Frédérique Vidal also praised the French government’s policies with regards to universities (regrouping smaller universities together in order to create bigger and more powerful institutions), research and higher education. She stated:

‘Once again, France shines internationally thanks to the excellence of its universities, schools and research organisations. More than ever, the new university models put in place in 2018 are proving their worth: three of the four French universities ranked in the Top 100 have emerged from this policy of merging institutions together.’

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)