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VU Amsterdam ranks 115 in THE World University Ranking 2022

2 September 2021
Highest ranking ever.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ranks 115 in the World University Ranking 2022, published by Times Higher Education. This moves the university up one position compared to last year (2021 edition - position 116) and of all the years the university has participated in this ranking, it is ranked highest this edition. More than 1600 institutions worldwide participated in the ranking and 22,000 people filled in the questionnaire on academic reputation.

The Times Higher Education World University Ranking is published by Times Higher Education and is a ranking based on the overarching objectives of a university: education, research, knowledge transfer and international orientation. These objectives are further specified by thirteen performance measures, divided into five broad domains with different weighting factors:

  • Teaching: the learning environment and reputation, 30%;
  • Research: volume, income and reputation, 30%;
  • Citations: research influence, 30%;
  • International outlook: staff, students and research, 7.5%; and
  • Industry income: knowledge transfer, 2.5%

With respect to the five categories, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam ranks highly regarding the category research quality. Furthermore, once again this year, the score and positioning increases the most in the education category, including those related to learning environment and reputation among international students.

Indicator for scientific and societal impact
The several international rankings – such as Leiden ranking, Shanghai ARWU ranking, Times Higher Education World university and Impact ranking, and QS ranking – aim at ranking universities based on several domains: scientific impact, scientific reputation, societal impact and some of them based on the contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Although university rankings can have their shortcomings, all together they do provide an overall picture of an university. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam does underline that it is important to monitor how the outside world and media reflects on the university, and that it is important as well to reflect on its international profile in a broader context than solely scientific impact.

Diversity and sustainability
In this context of rankings, for example, Impact ranking of Times Higher Education fits in well. This impact ranking has existed since 2018 and is innovative because it focuses on the contribution universities make to the United Nations' sustainable development goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The striking thing about VU's result on this THE Impact ranking is that, in addition to a solid VU score on research output and excellence, this impact ranking highlights the distinctive VU profile with regard to the university's social connection and ambitions related to diversity and sustainability.