UCT has been placed at 113 in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2012, released on 3 October. The university was ranked at 103 in 2011 and 107 in 2010. In addition to being once again ranked among the top 200 universities in the world, UCT has also, more significantly, been listed for the first time among the Top 50 clinical, pre-clinical and health universities around the world. Acting vice-chancellor Professor Danie Visser said: "Our ranking remains a measure of consistently high international standing and reputation. Our positions over the last three years indicate a consistently strong performance relative to the thousands of other universities around the world who are ranked by the THE system." In fact, UCT's scores rose over the year in all but one of the system's measurement categories (see the accompanying table for a full breakdown of the categories).
The THE system uses 13 individual performance indicators, which are intended to cover all three core missions of a university in its methodology: research, teaching and knowledge transfer. The highest-weighted category remains 'research influence', measured by the number of times a university's published work is cited in the papers of other academics. Knowledge transfer activities are also included in an 'industry income - innovation' category (worth 2.5% of the total ranking score) based on research income from industry.
"There are thousands of universities in the world and the rankings are a relative positioning," said Visser. "It is possible for a university to score better on all the criteria but still end up lower on the rank scale, just because some other institutions tried even harder."
UCT also featured strongly on the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings for 2012/13 released on 11 September, placing at 154. The Shanghai Jiao Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), released in August, once again ranked UCT in the 200-300 range, with UCT remaining as the top-ranked university in Africa.
"The high international rankings held by UCT and other South African universities help to send out the message that students can receive a world-class education in South Africa. However, the rankings do not measure many crucial aspects of a particular university's mission, especially in the developing world," said Visser.
Spot the difference: The table shows UCT's performance in the measurement categories used by the THE ranking system.
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