The University of Cape Town has been ranked one of the top 10 universities in the BRICS countries, which include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
According to the QS University Rankings: BRICS 2014, UCT is the only South African university to feature on the top 10 list '“ sharing ninth place with the Universidade Estadual de Campinas of Brazil.
The top-ranked university for 2014 is the Tsinghua University in China. China claims six of the top 10 places, ahead of Brazil (2), Russia (1) and South Africa (1). Seven other South African universities have made it onto the top 100 list.
Launched in 2013, the QS University Rankings: BRICS compares the top 200 institutions in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It draws on two huge global surveys of academics and employers, combined with data on faculty/student ratio, research paper publications and citations, proportion of staff with a PhD, and percentages of international faculty and students.
Says QS head of research, Ben Sowter: "UCT has moved into the BRICS top 10, thanks to its high ratio of citations per academic paper that was superior to any of the universities represented in this year's rankings, in this indicator, among the five countries. UCT also scored well on the number of international students and faculty, and in the academic reputation indicator."
'Knowledge is the main currency'
The University of Cape Town has consistently been the top-ranked university in Africa in the QS University Rankings, as well as those of the Times Higher Education and Shanghai Jiao Tong.
"Our position in the BRICS rankings is significant because Africa needs to be on the agenda of the developing world," comments UCT's Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Danie Visser.
"We operate in a world in which knowledge is the main currency, and there are plans to improve Africa's participation in this. For instance, at UCT we are developing a strategy where we form global partnerships: strengthening PhD education in research areas in which we already have strength through collaboration with academics both in the Global North and Global South, especially in Africa. This intercontinental, often interdisciplinary research is key to attracting international funding and addressing complex local and global problems; these collaborations also incidentally drive us up in the world rankings by most measures.'
According to Visser, the University of Cape Town does well in these rankings thanks to its strong international collaborative research framework: "UCT has comparative advantage in attracting foreign funds: for instance, in 2013 UCT received more funds in direct grants from the National Institutes of Health in the USA '“ the largest source of medical funding in the world '“ than any non-American university.
"We have also been successful in attracting research income at a time when funding from the government is declining in real terms; last year alone we attracted just under R1 billion in research income."
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