‘Outward looking’ universities boost sector rankings

Switzerland’s higher education system has been ranked second in the 2015 Universitas 21 global ratings, standing out on the criterion of ‘international outlook’. However, this is the area under threat after an anti-immigration vote last year, writes Isobel Leybold-Johnson for Swissinfo.ch.

The ranking differs from more conventional university rankings such as those from the Times Higher Education and Shanghai – in which Swiss universities typically make the top 20 or 40 – in that it considers the higher education system as a whole. Universitas 21, or U21, project leader Ross Williams, who is based at the University of Melbourne, said: “The secret to Swiss success seems to be that its universities are very outward looking: they have strong links with industry and business and with other international researchers.”

Antonio Loprieno, rector of the University of Basel, and board member of the association ‘swissuniversities’, which represents higher education in Switzerland, said although the rankings were useful, he sees a problem for international links due to the fallout from the Swiss vote in February 2014 to limit immigration, a move which resulted in the European Union freezing the Swiss out of key Europe-wide educational schemes, such as Horizon 2020, shortly afterwards.
Full report on the Swissinfo.ch site