Nations merge universities to ascend rankings

Ten miles from King Louis XIV's Palace of Versailles, another monument to French ambition is rising out of muddy wheat fields. Twenty colleges and research institutes are combining to create Universite Paris-Saclay, soon to be one of France's largest universities, at a cost of about EUR6.5 billion (US$9 billion), writes Oliver Staley for Bloomberg Businessweek.

It's France's bid to crack the top of the rankings that increasingly dominate international higher education. Countries from Finland to Portugal are shaping their higher education policies based on outside rankings, eager for the validation and attention the annual lists bestow, even while they are criticised as flawed or misleading.

Because bigger is perceived as better in these lists, governments are merging campuses in hopes of attracting research money and higher calibre faculty and students.
Full report on the Bloomberg site