Bielefeld is one of the best young universities

International THE ranking of universities aged 50 years or under: Number 22 worldwide, Number 4 in Germany

For the sixth time in a row, Bielefeld University has been ranked as one of the best young universities in the world. In the ‘Young University Rankings’, published on Wednesday (5th of April 2017), Bielefeld University is ranked twenty-second; among German universities, it is fourth. Compared to last year, this is an improvement of one place in each ranking. The ‘Young University Rankings’, formerly called the ‘150 Under 50’, is viewed as an internationally influential university ranking carried out by the British academic magazine ‘Times Higher Education’ (THE). Following this year’s ranking, the Rektor of Bielefeld University, Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, gave an interview to the THE.

In his interview with the THE, Rektor Sagerer emphasized interdisciplinarity as a particular strength. This ‘was implemented in the DNA of Bielefeld University’ and makes it easier for academics in different departments to communicate with one another. Interdisciplinarity helps Bielefeld University to contribute to solving the complex challenges in society. ‘The renewed placing of Bielefeld University in the THE ranking is an acknowledgment of the outstanding research and teaching achieved in our institution. I heartily thank the members of Bielefeld University for their commitment – particularly in mastering the challenge of the great increase in the number of students,’ says Sagerer.

A total of eleven universities in Germany made it into the THE ranking. In the national ranking, Bielefeld University takes fourth place behind Ulm University, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and the University of Duisburg-Essen. This puts Bielefeld University in second place in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The ranking compares universities on various performance indicators: teaching, research, innovation, citations, and international outlook. The comparison of young universities is an extension of the ‘World University Ranking’ that places more emphasis on academic reputation. Old established universities often rank higher than their younger competitors in such a comparison. This is because the latter first have to build up their reputations. Since 2012, the THE has accordingly been carrying out a separate ranking that places less weight on academic reputation in order to better reflect the current and future potential of these ‘rising stars’. Up to 2016, the ‘Young Universities Rankings’ was called the ‘THE 150 Under 50’. In 2017, the number of universities’ included was raised from 150 to 200 worldwide. Once again, the first place in this year’s ranking went to the ‘École Polytechnique Fédérale’ in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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