Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has published the results of the annual QS University Rankings BRICS 2018 — the best universities of BRICS country. The published part of the Ranking 2018 included 400 universities which is 100 greater than in 2017. The number of Russian HEIs in the Ranking 2018 has increased from 68 to 101. The leaders among Russian universities were Moscow State University (6th place) and Saint Petersburg State University (11th place). The top five universities are from China, and Tsinghua University in Beijing has become a leader for the sixth time in a row.
The QS BRICS University Rankings includes the universities of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the Republic of South Africa. The ranking is compiled based on eight university evaluation criteria: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, staff with a PhD, papers per faculty, citations per paper, international faculty and international students.
There are five Chinese universities at the top of the Ranking-2018. Tsinghua University in Beijing has been a leader since 2013. Lomonosov Moscow State University took the 6th place, Saint Petersburg State University — 11th place. Twenty- four Russian HEIs made it to Top 100. Fifty leaders of 2018 include Novosibirsk State University (NSU), Tomsk State University (TSU), Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), National Nuclear Research University (NNRU), Higher School of Economics (NRU HSE) and Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU).
It was the first inclusion in the ranking for I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University and Tyumen State University (TSU) and two Russian non-governmental universities — Russian New University and New Economic School. Vladimir Zernov, Chairman of the Council of the Association of the non-governmental higher education institutions of Russia, Rector of Russian New University, considers that it is rather difficult for private universities to be competitive in such selection conditions. In his opinion, the ranking compilers should take into consideration a greater number of criteria that would evaluate a certain HEI's contribution to scientific and technological breakthrough and knowledge transfer quality. However, he notes that inclusion in the ranking is a good indicator of success, and this is more important than the ranking position.
The Ranking 2018 included all universities participating in Project 5–100, initiated by President Vladimir Putin in 2012. The project is expected to propel Russian higher education institutions to Top-100 of global rankings leaders by 2020. According to Irina Karelina, Director of the HSE Development Program, the BRICS University Ranking arouses a particular interest because the BRICS countries have the biggest number of HEIs participating in the academic excellence projects similar to the 5–100 project. The fact that all the project participants managed to be included in the Ranking 2018 and six of them have been steadily in Top-50 QS BRICS for two years in a row proves the effectiveness of this initiatives for the nth time.
Let us remember that the ranking 2017 included 300 universities, 68 being Russian ones. The leading Russian HEI in the QS BRICS Ranking 2017, like in 2018, was Moscow State University which then rounded out the top five.
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