Analysis Contents Ranking Monitor

Times Higher Education Emerging Economies 2020

As the sample has expanded over the past five years – from 200 in 2016 to 533 in 2020. This means that while the universities have improved in all indicators over this period, it cannot be said with certainty that this relates to absolute gains.

The Times Higher Methodology favours small, well financed universities with long histories and high reputations – 32% of the weighting is based on a reputation survey of international academics, the other 68% is size-independent (based on ratios, proportions and normalisations). 18.25% of the indicators are representations of the financial resources that the university is able to attract (as core budget, as competitive research grants and resources generated from industry). The methodology is weighted towards universities with large proportions of PhDs compared to undergraduates, and who are most productive in terms of PhDs per FTE member of staff, as well as favouring universities who recruit heavily internationally.

The definition of emerging economy is not defined by World Bank income categories, as might be expected, but by the FTSE Equity market rating, meaning that it is judging countries for inclusion based on the maturity of capital markets, not on the actual resources available to the university, thus including Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Czech Republic, Chile, the UAE among various others that are high income and so would be excluded.


UniversityYearRankScoreCitationsIndustry incomeInternational outlookResearchTeaching

USP has maintained its position in this ranking remarkably consistently for a ranking that is usually highly volatile. Most impressive is the increase in citation score, which has grown faster that can be accounted for by the decreasing mean citation score. Despite its large size, USP performs well in this ranking – it is the only university of over 60,000 students in the top 100, and the highest ranked university over 40,000 students. The research score has fallen in the past five years, in large part due to declining research funding available from federal sources, while teaching is heavily affected by classroom size, and so expansion of the university, plus difficulties in hiring new staff will tend to decrease this score.

Areas to improve in this ranking: improving the reporting of industrial income would be the simplest indicator to improve.


UniversityYearRankScoreCitationsIndustry incomeInternational outlookResearchTeaching

Unicamp, despite improving its overall score over the past four years, has dropped 31 positions, to outside of the top 50. The reason for this is not that Unicamp is not improving, but that the Double First Class plan universities are squeezing the university out. In 2016, there were seven Chinese universities ahead of Unicamp – most of the C9 group. By 2020 this number has risen to 20. This excellence initiative has encouraged the formation of poles of excellence in areas of knowledge, a policy that has helped mid-sized universities like Unicamp to achieve international recognition through the strategic deployment of research funding.

Area to improve in this ranking: Unicamp’s performance in industrial income per member of full time academic staff has traditionally been one of its major strengths, owing not only to its relatively high concentration of applied sciences and outstanding local engagement.


UniversityYearRankScoreCitationsIndustry incomeInternational outlookResearchTeaching

Unesp’s decline in ranking position is the most superficially concerning of the three. However, its real performance in terms of indicator scores is relatively similar to the other two. The only measure of impact, citations, has increased markedly (although it is still significantly lower than where it ought to be). The decline in industry income is contingent on local economic conditions, but the fact that it is relatively comparable to USP and Unicamp’s, without as much profile in specific innovation ecosystems (Unicamp) or strong presence in the capital (USP) shows that Unesp is engaging actively with its surroundings.

Area to improve for this ranking: Unesp still loses a significant proportion of its publication output to mis-afilliation, with research produced by the university not effectively attributed to it. While this is slowly improving, this is the area with most growth potential for Unesp.

Scival Analysis

Benchmark institutions

For USP, there are few institutions next to whom they should be compared, due to the heavy size independence of the ranking, comparisons should be made with universities of similar size. In this case, the benchmarked universities are the only ones in the top 50 with over 35,000 FTE students. They are all C9 universities – and the larger they are, the worse they tend to score in the ranking.

UniversityFTE StudentsRankScoreCitationsIndustry incomeInt. outlookResearchTeaching
Shanghai Jiao Tong38,853660.847.999.949.56358
Huazhong UST56,3791747.659.890.425.839.141
Wuhan University52,5021946.452.584.740.13444
Sun Yat-Sen University53,6032345.663.556.434.835.843.6
UniversityFTE StudentsRankScoreCitationsIndustry incomeInternational outlookResearchTeaching
HSE University22,1111847.478.156.541.937.335.9
Beijing Normal University23,5242445.548.657.142.839.646.5
Harbin institute of Technology29,6032645.34499.336.536.839.5
Beihang University29,9525139.738.198.228.534.230.4

For Unicamp, the margins in indicator change for positional change are much smaller than for USP, explaining the greater variation in ranking position. Given that for teaching and research (reputation, productivity and intensivity) Unicamp scores among the best for this benchmark, the university must concentrate either on citation impact – which has not grown at the same speed as USP in recent years, or on improving its reporting of industrial income, something that Unicamp already does extremely well. Learning from the mechanisms in place in other universities should bring large improvements in position.

UniversityFTE StudentsRankScoreCitationsIndustry incomeInt. outlookResearchTeaching
University of the Phillipines39,8777037.586.939.438.117.224.1
Xiamen University40,841973557.153.331.522.927.3
University of Indonesia41,17010834.216.781.653.319.238.7
Dalian University of Technology39,66511833.
Shanghai University36,63716728.829.66030.824.821.2
U Chile35,44719327.533.934.551.617.123.2

For Unesp to get into the top 100 of this ranking, they must focus on improving their research attribution, improving their citation score to around 1.0 (although it should be noted that many of these institutions, despite a similar number of students, are much less productive than Unesp; this ranking rewards low productivity and high citation impact much more). Better recording of institutional income should be the other priority, as the University of Indonesia, with similar size, similar citation impact and similar research output are just outside the top 100.