RUR Rankings Agency, the publisher of the international university rankings announces Round University Ranking 2017.

763 universities from 72 countries took part in RUR rankings 2017. In terms of the number, the United States are represented by 140 universities, which is one university less than in 2016 and the country remains the undisputed leader. The second place is occupied by Greater China (People's Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Macao) with 81 universities, 40 of which come from China and 36 from Taiwan. The fourth place is followed by the UK with 77 participating universities, which is 4 less than the year before. Russia is surprisingly #4 with 67 participants compared with 23 last year. Japan closes the top five with 40 participating universities against 39 a year earlier. In total, the top ten world leading countries comprise 13 countries in terms of the number of participants, which is 71% of the total number of universities that participated in the ranking 2017. Detailed data on the universities distribution by countries are presented in the table below:

The first 10 countries by the number of participants:

  Country Number of participating institutions Share
1 USA 140 18.4%
2 United Kingdom 73 9.6%
3 Russia 67 8.8%
4 China 40 5.2%
4 Japan 40 5.2%
5 Taiwan 36 4.7%
6 Australia 26 3.4%
7 Germany 25 3.3%
8 Canada 21 2.8%
8 Italy 21 2.8%
8 Spain 21 2.8%
9 Republic of Korea 20 2.6%
10 Turkey 14 1.8%

The distribution of higher education institutions within the first ten remained practically unchanged in comparison with the year 2016. Nine out of ten universities have maintained their leading positions in the global top ten. Duke University left the ranking and Princeton University was included in the list of world leaders. Below is a list of the first ten universities in RUR World University Ranking 2017 with changes in their positions.

World TOP 10:

  1. Harvard University, USA (+1)
  2. California Institute of Technology, USA (-1)
  3. University of Chicago, USA (-1)
  4. Imperial College London, UK (+2)
  5. Stanford University, USA (-2)
  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA (-4)
  7. University of Oxford, UK (+3)
  8. Columbia University, USA (position unchanged)
  9. Cambridge University, USA (position unchanged)
  10. Princeton University, USA (entered the TOP-10)

Harvard University returned to the first place in the world again, which was held by the California Institute of Technology for 2 consecutive years. The latter took the 2nd place in the world in 2017. University of Chicago closes the top three, swapping places with Stanford University (the 5th place in 2017 and the 3rd in 2016).

Thus, World TOP 10 includes 7 universities from the USA and 3 universities from the UK. There are 3 more countries in TOP 20 - two universities from Switzerland (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (the 11th place) and ETH Zurich (the 1th place), one from Sweden (Karolinska Institute – the 13™ place) and France (Ecole Polytechnic – the 16th place).

There is no change among the UK universities - the top three leaders remained unchanged and entered the world TOP 10. Imperial College London improved its position by 2 points taking the 4th place and coming very close to the American leaders. University of Oxford was ahead of its eternal rival from Cambridge and took the 7th line rising in the world rankings by 3 points. University of Cambridge has retained its place in the TOP-10 of the world's leading universities – the 9th place.

Russia's universities demonstrated unprecedented interest in the ranking taking 67 positions out of 763 possible. This brought Russia to the 3rd place in the world (without “Greater China” which is likely geographical definition) by the number of participants against 23 in 2016 and 27 participants in 2015. Despite wide representation, only 10 Russian universities entered the TOP-10, while the remaining 57 universities were located in the Global League RUR outside the TOP-500. At the same time, the leading Russian universities demonstrate significant progress in the ranking, which is a direct consequence of the efforts taken by the Russian government in order to increase the international competitiveness of its higher school. The three leaders remained unchanged, while each of the top three showed significant success. For the first time in 8 years of RUR ranking, Lomonosov Moscow State University entered TOP-150 taking the 145th place (+27 positions). National Research Nuclear University MEPhI added 40 positions and took the 231st line. Finally, Tomsk State University entered the world's TOP-300 for the first time taking 256 positions at once (+71 position).

China Mainland universities increased their representation by 25% in comparison with the results of 2016. In 2017, China’s 40 universities took part in the ranking. Leading university of China - Peking University - added 12 positions rising from the 57th to the 45th place. Even higher dynamics were demonstrated by the second leading university of China Mainland - Tsinghua University – which took the 75th place in 2017 compared to the 98th a year earlier. The third university - Fudan University - demonstrated even more impressive growth adding 16 positions from the 93rd to the 77th position.

Japanese universities keep up with China. There were 40 Japanese participants this year compared to 39 in 2016. At the same time, the top three universities in the Land of the Rising Sun have shown some decline in positions. Tokyo University took the 43rd position (-6 relative to the last year). Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan's leading technical university, sank 15 positions finishing the 58th place against the 45th a year ago. Finally, Osaka University sank by 8 positions – the 82nd place.

The universities of the Republic of Korea and Singapore remain their leading positions in the absolute figures as before. Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech) became the leading university of Asia taking the 30th place and improving its result by 3 positions. At the same time, the second South Korean university and the second higher educational institution - Asia-KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), even though it remained the second position in Asia, lost 6 points in comparison with its last year's result – the 39th in 2017 versus the 33rd in 2016. Finally, National University of Singapore won the bronze medal this year taking the 40th place against the 46th in 2016.

The next country in terms of numbers is also from Asia. Taiwan increased its representation by 30% - from 25 to 36 universities, which makes Taiwan one of the world leaders based on number of universities / number of country residents ratio. University #1 in Taiwan - National Taiwan University – lost 19 points and thus dropped out of the 1st hundred taking the 107th place in the global rank in comparison with the 88th in 2016. Taiwan’s silver winner - National Tsing Hua University - on the contrary demonstrated a small growth - from the 162nd to the 151st position this year. Finally, National Chiao Tong closes the top three slightly changing its position – the 170th in 2017 compared with the 167th in 2016.

Australian universities traditionally demonstrate one of the highest levels of internationalization, and the higher education sector itself is annually included in TOP-3 sectors, which bring Australia the largest revenues. The combination of strong education and research base makes Australian universities one of the most attractive in the world, despite the remoteness of this continent. This is confirmed by the ranking results. Australian National University retained and strengthened its leadership adding 5 positions and finishing the 47th in the world ranking. University of Melbourne increased its position almost twice rising from the 138th to the 69th positions, which has become the largest value since 2010. University of Queensland Australia closes the top three leaders demonstrate ranking a decline of almost 20 positions - from the 94th to the 75th place.

Continental Europe demonstrates relatively stable results against the ups and downs of leading universities in Asia. The leader in this respect is Germany, the first three of which remained unchanged. Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich lost 2 positions – the 28th place against the 26th a year earlier. Technical University of Munich also lost 2 positions, moving from the 62nd to the 64th places. Finally, one of the oldest universities in Europe - Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg - retained its positions in the 9th ten but lost 7 positions – the 99th in 2017 against the 92nd in 2016.

Unlike Germany the universities of Italy and Spain showed more positive dynamics despite much lower absolute results. Indirectly, this trend can indicate leveling the conditions for obtaining world-class education between universities in Northern and Southern Europe. University of Barcelona took the 212th position against the 221st a year earlier. Results that are even more impressive were shown by University of Milan, which rose almost by 40 positions – the 204th place in comparison with the 243rd a year earlier.
The leaders of Continental Europe are some universities of Switzerland, France and Sweden. As mentioned at the beginning, the first 4 universities in addition to USA and the UK, entered the world TOP-20, which was the largest result for 8 years of RUR. That quite clearly shows the growing competition among the world's scientific and educational centers. Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne took the 11th place for the second consecutive year being close to the top ten. Also close to the top ten came the compact medical university from Sweden - Karolinska Institute – which ranked the 13th place in the world adding 5 positions in comparison with the results of 2016. ETH Zurich took the 15th place returning to the ranking again (this university did not participate in the ranking of RUR 2016). Finally, Ecole Polytechnic in Paris founded by Napoleon Bonaparte is close to its counterpart from Switzerland – the 16th place thereby adding 9 positions at once.

Among BRICS countries, the results are multidirectional. If the top three Russian universities grew on average by 46 positions at once, the first three Chinese - only by 17. TOP 3 among the Brazilian universities showed an increase of 25 positions: University of Sao Paulo – the 105th position (the 118th in 2015, the university did not participate in 2016), State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) – the 171st position (the 192nd in 2016), UNESP - Universidade Estadual Paulista added 40 positions - from 359 in 2016 to 319 in 2017. In contrast to Brazil, the leading universities of India, on the contrary, lost on average 10 positions.