Again this year, Utrecht University is the best research university in the Netherlands according to the prestigious annual Academic Ranking of World Universities by the University of Shanghai and published on 15 August. Utrecht University has been the best ranking Dutch university since the first ARWU ranking published in 2003. This year, Utrecht University is placed 17th in Europe and 56th worldwide. In the Natural Sciences and Mathematics ranking, Utrecht University is placed 45th.
Leading ranking system
Worldwide, the ARWU (or Shanghai) ranking is the leading system for assessing and comparing the quality of research universities. Of the more than 1,000 universities considered each year, the best 500 are included in the ARWU ranking.
The key assessment criteria include the number of times university staff are published or cited in scientific journals (e.g. Nature and Science) and the number of distinctions (e.g. Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals) awarded to university staff and graduates.
Top of the league
The top 5 is identical to last year's. Harvard University in the United States continues to lead the ARWU ranking. Second, third and fourth place are also held by American institutes: Stanford, Berkeley and MIT. The highest-ranked European university comes in at number five: Cambridge in the UK.
Natural Sciences and Mathematics
In the ARWU ranking in the field of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Utrecht University is also the highest ranking Dutch university, placing 45th. This ranking combines the disciplines of mathematics, physics, chemistry, geosciences and space sciences. In this field, Utrecht University scores particularly high on publications, especially the number of publications in top-rated 20% of scientific journals.