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Promoting excellence in education and skills development
Commitment 2-A
"Personalised" University Ranking
Innovation Union commitment text

In 2011 the Commission will, on the basis of the current preparatory work, support an independent multi-dimensional international ranking system to benchmark university performance. This will allow the best performing European universities to be identified. In 2011 further steps will be proposed in a Communication on the reform and modernisation of higher education.     

Combining University Map (U-Map) and University Multirank (U-Multirank) - A New Approach to User-driven Rankings
  • What is the problem?
  • What is our objective?
  • Implementation
  • Milestones
  • Background documents
  • Contact
  • Rankings are an instrument to enhance the transparency about the performance of higher education institutions. The Commission believes this transparency in performance is important to better inform students, employers and policy makers and to enable institutions to better benchmark and improve themselves.
  • The Commission has launched this project for the design and testing of a new ranking because existing rankings are mono-dimensional and do not cover the rich diversity of higher education either in Europe or across the world. Most existing rankings tend to focus on research and ignore the performance of universities in areas like teaching quality and community outreach. The Commission will have no role in a possible future implementation. This should be done by an independent organisation.
  • A feasibility study was launched in May 2009 to design and test the feasibility of a multi-dimensional, personalised ranking concept ie. going beyond the traditional focus on research performance favoured by the best-known rankings such as the Shanghai ranking. This tool must cover the full diversity of higher education institutions and their performance, not only in research, but also in other dimensions such as education, innovation, internationalisation and regional engagement. Furthermore, this tool will not produce league tables, but rather a "personalised ranking", based on the user's own priorities for the different dimensions.
  • The feasibility study finished in June 2011, and prepared the ground for the introduction of a personalised ranking concept, both by taking account and influencing the debate on rankings, contributing to further improve and sophisticate existing ranking systems. It carried out a pilot phase including a sample of 159 institutions in and outside the EU. This feasibility study concluded that the implementation of this ranking is possible, although continuous work will be required in some indicators and dimensions.
  • The Commission is currently preparing the next phase leading to the implementation of the multi-dimensional ranking instrument, so that this broader implementation is publicly available for the first time by mid-2013.
  • EAC funded and oversaw the implementation of the feasibility study, carried out by a consortium led by the Centre for Higher Education Polices (CHEPS) at the University of Twente (NL) and the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE) (DE). The website of this work is the following:
  •  In the first part of the project (May 2009 - March 2010) the multi-dimensional ranking concept was developed, based on an extensive SWOT-analysis of all existing rankings and extensive stakeholder and expert involvement. In the remaining part of the project (April 2010 - April 2011) this concept and the underlying indicators and data collection were tested on a sample of 150 institutions. The Consortium delivered its final report on the feasibility of global multi-dimensional ranking in June 2011.
May 2009 Start of feasibility study
Type: Other
May 2009 – May 2010 Design multi-dimensional ranking framework + indicators
Type: Other
June 2011 Final Conference
Type: Other
April 2010 – April 2011 Testing multi-dimensional ranking concept (with underlying indicators and data collection)
Type: Other
July 2011 Final Report of the Feasibility Study
Type: Other
File type Assessing Europe University-Based Research.pdf (1.47 MB)
Expert Group on Assessment of University-Based Research. Directorate-General for Research, 2010 Science in Society 2008 Capacities, 1.4.1 EUR 24187 EN.
File type UMR Overview Final -version EE2.pdf (1.05 MB)
Documentation of the Final Conference in 9th June 2011
File type U-Multirank Final Report - June 2011.pdf (2.81 MB)
Final Report of the U-multirank feasibility Study
File type Youth On the Move.pdf (1.04 MB)
The Youth on the Move Communication sets out a new framework strategy to address the challenges faced by young people in Europe and help them to succeed in the knowledge economy. It complements, but in no way replaces the existing ET 2020 strategy, which takes a broader lifelong learning approach. EUROPEAN COMMISSION, Brussels, 15.9.2010
Lead Directorate-General/Unit, Head of Unit

Directorate General Education and Culture, Unit C1, A. Tyson

Other Directorates-General/Units associated

DG EAC/C2, DG Research and Innovation, B-2 (part of the Advisory group to the project)

Key external partners

CHERPA-consortium implementing the project

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