Iran increases share of world's top universities

September 5, 2020 - 1:26

TEHRAN – Times Higher Education has published its annual ranking of the world’s top universities for 2021, listing 47 Iranian universities, which shows an increase of 7 universities compared to the last year, according to The Times Higher Education website.

With 47 Iranian universities ranked among 1,527 top universities of 93 countries in the world in 2021 rankings, Iran achieved a great improvement in the academic field.

Times Higher Education is the data provider underpinning university excellence in every continent across the world.

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, founded in 2004, provides the definitive list of the world’s best universities.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings are the only global performance tables that judge research-intensive universities across all their core missions based on 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook. It includes almost 1,400 universities across 92 countries, standing as the largest and most diverse university rankings ever to date.

In comparison to the 2020 ranking, along with the increase in the number of Iranian universities among tops, some universities, including the Sharif University of Technology, universities of science and technology including, Iran, Tehran, Kordestan, and Shahid Beheshti achieved a 100-level improvement.

From 2012 to 2014, there was only one university from Iran on the list. In 2015, Sharif University of Technology and Isfahan University of Technology were included, and in 2016, the number of universities reached eight. 

In 2017, it has increased to 13 universities, in 2018 to 18 universities, and in 2019 and 2020 to 29 and 40 universities, respectively.

Universities of Islamic countries in Times 2021 ranking

Some 21 Islamic countries were also listed in the ranking, however, Iran holds the highest share with 47 universities.

From other Islamic countries, 43 Turkish universities, 21 Egyptian universities, and 17 Pakistani universities tops the list for the highest number of universities.

Malaysia with 15 universities, Algeria and Saudi Arabia with 10 each, Indonesia with 9 universities, Nigeria and Tunisia with 6 universities each, Jordan, Morocco and UAE with 5 each, Lebanon with 4 universities, Iraq and Kazakhstan with 3 each, Bangladesh with 2, and other countries of Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Uganda with one was on the list.

In total, only 18 universities in Islamic countries are ranked below 500. However, according to the 10-year plan of science, innovation, and technology of OIC member states (approved in 2017 in Kazakhstan), it is necessary that by 2026, 50 universities from Islamic countries will be among the world's top 500.

Universities of medical sciences presence in Times 2021 rankings

Medical sciences universities of Kurdistan, Mohaghegh Ardabili, Kerman, Arak, Hakim Sabzevari, Lorestan, Razi, Sistan-Baluchestan, and Shahid Rajaei Teacher Training Universities, were listed on 2021 ranking for the first time, while Zanjan University and Imam Khomeini International University, which included last year, missed the ranking this year.

Top 10 universities worldwide

The University of Oxford tops the list for the fifth consecutive year, with Stanford and Harvard second and third, respectively. The California University of Technology, MIT, and the University of Cambridge (UK), California Berkeley, Yale, Princeton, and Chicago are ranked 4th to 10th in the world, respectively.

Among the top 10 universities in the world are two from the United Kingdom and eight from the United States. 

China's Tsinghua University is also the first Asian university to rank 20th in the rankings.

In addition, the United States with 181 universities, Japan with 116, Britain with  101, China with  91, India also with 63 universities, Brazil with 52 universities,

Spain with 50, Italy with 49, Germany and Russia each with 48 universities, Iran with  47, were ranked.

Moreover, 43 universities from Turkey, 41 universities from France, 38 universities of Taiwan, 37 universities of Australia, 35 universities of South Korea, and 30 universities of Canada were among the best institutions worldwide.

Iranian universities appear in various rankings in the world

With a scientific growth rate of 10.4 percent in 2019, Iran ranked second among the top 25 countries in the world, next to China with a growth rate of 12.9 percent, according to the Web of Science website.

In 2000, Iran's share of scientific productivity was about 0.1 percent, which reached about 2 percent with a 20-fold increase in both Scopus and WoS citation databases.

According to statistics released by the International Web of Science Database, Iran's citation rank has always been on the rise over the last eight years, from 24 in 2012 to 16 in 2019.

Iran ranks first in terms of the number of universities in the region and among Islamic countries, according to Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2020.

Two Iranian universities have been ranked among the top 100 universities in Asia, according to Webometrics Ranking of World Universities for July 2020.

Moreover, 7 Iranian universities have been listed among the best 1000 worldwide; including, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Sharif University of Technology, Tarbiat Modares University, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Isfahan University of Technology, Iran University of Science and Technology, came in 539th, 656th, 826th, 908th, 915th, 916th places, respectively, according to Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.

In June, THE Asia University Rankings 2020 ranked five Iranian universities among the top 100 universities worldwide.

The Center for Science and Technology Studies Leiden Ranking has placed 36 Iranian universities in the list of over 1,000 major universities worldwide in 2020 compared with 26 universities in 2019.

Also, five Iranian universities have been placed among the world’s top 1,000 universities announced by the prestigious Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2021.

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