New UN-backed benchmarking system gives greater weight to university research

20 October 2010

Created on the premise that current rankings do not adequately measure universities’ performance, a new United Nations-backed benchmarking system seeks to give greater weight to the research activities of these institutions.

The newly-formed Global Alliance for Measuring University Performance has found that although existing rankings exert large influence on how schools operate and public perception of them, they do not provide the information needed for universities to improve their performance.

The first task under the new scheme will be to measure university research activities to strengthen both the quality and impact of their research.

Peter Haddawy, Director of the International Institute for Software Technology of the UN University (UNU-IIST), told reporters in New York today that “the evaluation of university research is so important that it should be done in a rigorous manner with full participation from the academic community, which is in stark contrast to the existing university ranking systems.”

He also noted that universities’ contributions cannot be captured in a single number in a table.

“Universities are making contributions that are much more complex than that and so the system that we’re putting together is designed to measure and to represent the richness of the contributions of universities,” Mr. Haddawy.

He stressed that the new partnership will also look into interdisciplinary areas to see how higher education can address climate change, poverty and other pressing global challenges.

 

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