An upward trend
Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a definitive ‘university ranking’. Rather, what we have are rankings of certain attributes or characteristics of universities (much like those we might expect to observe in the case of an individual, for instance: age, weight, height or intelligence).
With this caveat in mind, when the criteria used in a ranking can be tracked over time, observing how a university’s relative position has evolved can provide valuable and pertinent data.
So, how has the University of Granada’s position evolved in recent years, according to international rankings? Let us examine a number of internationally renowned rankings based, to a large extent, on objective measurements of scientific and research output.
Perhaps the most high-profile of all is the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Ranking. In this ranking system, the UGR has substantially improved its position over the past decade, rising almost 200 places in total. The 2018 edition of the ARWU places the University of Granada in 278th position in the world and as the third-highest ranked University in Spain, reaffirming its position as an institution at the forefront of national and international research.
The UGR holds third place after the University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra University in the 2018 ARWU, outperforming — for the third year running — other important Spanish institutions such as the Complutense University of Madrid, the Autonomous University of Madrid, the University of Valencia and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Viewed from the perspective of its performance in specific academic subjects, the UGR has also set a new record, with a staggering 34 subjects taught at the University featuring in the 2018 ARWU — 12 more than in 2017. The University of Granada is surpassed only by the University of Barcelona, which has a total of 37 academic subjects in this year’s ranking. The UGR is also the leading university in Andalusia, followed by the University of Seville (27 subjects), University of Córdoba (9 subjects), University of Málaga (9 subjects), University of Cádiz (4 subjects) and the University of Jaén (2 subjects).
Furthermore, five UGR subjects feature among the world top 100, marking another significant milestone. Particularly noteworthy are the University’s achievements in the subjects of Library & Information Sciences (28th worldwide); Food Science & Technology (38th worldwide); Computer Science & Engineering (global top 76-100), Mathematics (global top 76-100) and Oceanography (global top 76-100).
In the disciplines of Earth Sciences; Statistics; Transportation Science & Technology; Nursing; and Dentistry & Oral Sciences, the University of Granada features among the top 101-150 institutions on the globe, and among the top 151-200 in the subjects of Psychology; Physics; Atmospheric Science; Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Instruments Science & Technology; Management; Geography, Public Administration; and Hospitality and Tourism Management. Given this exceptional performance in the prestigious ARWU, the academic year 2018-2019 promises to be another momentous era for our institution.
We find a similar trend reflected in another leading ranking system — the 2018 CWTS Leiden Ranking — in which the UGR is currently ranked 4th in Spain and 251st in the world (CWTS 2018). Elsewhere, in the NTU (Taiwan) Ranking, the UGR has reached 292nd position internationally and is ranked 6th in Spain (NTU 2018). In the 2018 edition of the University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP 2017-2018), the UGR has attained 241st position in the world and 6th in Spain. Meanwhile, the Scimago Institutions Rankings places the UGR 11th from among 59 higher education institutions in Spain (SIR 2018).
Finally, in the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, an initiative developed by the Cybermetics Lab (CSIC; Spanish National Research Council) which examines scientific activity, knowledge generation and scholarly communication through the Internet and on specific websites, the UGR currently holds 16th place from among 261 research institutions in Spain (Webometrics 2018).
The data presented in this article, highlighting the UGR’s continual progress in global university ranking systems, is just that; data. However, considering the socio-economic context in which the UGR operates and the resources-per-student at its disposal, this progression has been highly positive, and is a clear indication of the University's unyielding commitment to excelling in higher education.