Two Belgian universities included in global academic ranking

Two Belgian universities included in global academic ranking
UGent is once again the highest-ranking Belgian university. Credit: Belga

Two Belgian universities, the University of Ghent (UGent) and the University of Leuven (KULeuven) have been included in ShanghaiRanking's top 100 universities in the world based on academics.

For the 19th year in a row, Harvard University in the United States was at the top of the list, which was published on Sunday, whilst UGent has once again been named the best Belgian university, in 71st place.

"In 2010, UGent was the first Belgian university to enter the top 100 of the so-called Shanghai Ranking (then ranked 90) and has been the highest-ranked university in the country ever since," a press release from the university stated. 

"UGent remains the highest-ranked Belgian university, and this year, it ranks 71st in this ranking of more than 2,000 research institutions from all over the world," it read.

According to UGent, it owes its position to its large number of scientific publications, whilst the presence of scientists who "are very often quoted by others" and the "number of publications in the top journals such as Nature and Science" have also contributed to its ranking.

This year, the university ranked slightly lower than last year - it dropped from 66 to 71 - whilst KULeuven was in 87th place, up by ten places from 97 in 2020.

Earlier this year, in the subject rankings of the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), UGent achieved a score in the top 50 for 8 subjects, including a first-place for Veterinary Medicine.

Nobel prizes and cited researchers

ShanghaiRanking has been publishing its ARWU list annually since 2003, and among the six criteria for institutions to be included and ranked are the number of Nobel Prizes won by alumni and professors, the number of top publications and the number of frequently cited researchers.

This year, US-based Stanford University was in second place, followed by the British University of Cambridge. All other universities in the top ten were either based in the US or in the United Kingdom and include MIT, Berkeley, Princeton, Oxford, Columbia, Caltech and Chicago.

The exact placing of universities that were included but were not in the top 100 hasn't been communicated, however, the French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is ranked between 101 and 150, while the French-speaking UCL is ranked between 151 and 200.

Meanwhile, the University of Antwerp and the Free University of Brussels (VUB) both rank somewhere between 201 and 300.

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