Archive for August, 2009

EU university quality initiative – The CHERPA-Network wins European tender to develop multi-dimensional global ranking of universities

August 1, 2009

The CHERPA*-network has won an open call for tender by the European Commission to develop and test an alternative design for a global ranking of universities. During the next two years, the network will conceptualize and test the feasibility of a multi-dimensional global ranking based on the CHE ranking methodology and on the classification of higher education institutions developed by CHEPS.

In the project, a design for a global ranking of higher education institutions will be developed which avoids the flaws and deficits of existing international rankings and which should provide a valid, fair comparison of institutions. The design will follow the “Berlin Principles on the ranking of higher education institutions” which stress the need to take into account “the linguistic, cultural, economic and historical contexts of the educational systems being ranked”.

The basic approach underlying the project is to compare only institutions which are similar and comparable in terms of their missions and structures. Therefore the project is closely linked to the idea of a European classification (“mapping”) of higher education institutions developed by CHEPS. The feasibility study will include focused rankings on particular aspects of higher education at the institutional level (e.g., internationalization and regional engagement) on the one hand, and two field-based rankings for business and engineering programmes on the other hand.

The field-based rankings will each focus on a particular type of institution and will develop and test a set of indicators appropriate to these institutions. The rankings will be multi-dimensional and will – like the CHE ranking – use a grouping approach rather than simplistic league tables. In contrast to existing global rankings, the design will compare not only the research performance of institutions but will include teaching & learning as well as other aspects of university performance.

The different rankings will be targeted at different stakeholders: They will support decision-making in universities and especially better informed study decisions by students. Rankings that create transparency for prospective students should promote access to higher education.


CHERPA – the Consortium for Higher Education and Research Performance Assessment is a European network of leading institutions in this field, including the CHE – Centre for Higher Education Development, Gütersloh, Germany, and the CHEPS – Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies at the University of Twente, Netherlands.

Check: 2 June 2009

Povl Tiedemann

July 2009

Further project partners:

Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University, Netherlands. The research division INCENTIM at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Observatoire des Sciences et des Techniques (OST), Paris.

The European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI) and the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) are also associated with the project.