The RUR Rankings Agency in partnership with international company Clarivate Analytics announces their second release of the Russian university ranking: RUR Russian Universities Ranking.


Ranking Methodology


The methodology of RUR Russian ranking of universities uses 20 indicators, combined in 4 kinds of measurement:

  • Teaching – 40%;
  • Research – 40%;
  • International Diversity – 10%;
  • Financial Stability – 10%;

  • Universities are evaluated in accordance with the following metrics:


    Teaching Indicators (40%):


     1. Academic staff per students (8%)
     2. Academic staff per bachelor degrees awarded (8%)
     3. Doctoral degrees awarded per academic staff (8%)
     4. Doctoral degrees awarded per bachelor degrees awarded (8%)
     5. World teaching reputation (8%)


    Research of Indicators (40%):


     6. Citations per academic and research staff (8%)
     7. Doctoral degrees awarded per admitted PhD (8%)
     8. Normalized citation impact (8%)
     9. Papers per academic and research staff (8%)
    10. World research reputation (8%)


    International Diversity Indicators (10%):


    11. Share of international academic staff (2%)
    12. Share of international students (2%)
    13. Share of international co-authored papers (2%)
    14. Reputation outside region (2%)
    15. International level (2%)


    Financial Sustainability Indicators (10%):


    16. Institutional income per academic staff (2%)
    17. Institutional income per students (2%)
    18. Papers per research income (2%)
    19. Research income per academic and research staff (2%)
    20. Research income per institutional income (2%)


    Overview of RUR Russian Universities Ranking


    In 2020, 82 universities took part in the Russian version of RUR, compared with 74 a year earlier. The ranking publisher notes that Russia is one of a leader in terms of the number of universities represented. For example, only 11 national universities competed for the international podium in 2010, but over 10 years the number of national higher education institutions has increased by more than 7 times. RUR experts associate such a significant increase in interest in an objective assessment based on international standards with a number of state initiatives implemented in the 2010s. First of all, the surge was due to the Russian Academic Excellence Project, also known as Project 5-100.


    74 universities participating in the 2020 ranking are located in 34 regions and 33 cities of Russia. Relative to 2019, 2 more regions joined it. Moscow, represented by 20 universities, has become an expected leader among the cities. Thus, metropolitan universities accounted for 24% of participating universities (27% a year earlier). Hence, we can see a slight decrease in Moscow share among participating universities due to an increase in universities of other Russian regions.


    St. Petersburg, represented by 6 universities (+1 relative to 2019), takes the second place with more than threefold lag behind Moscow. Ufa, Kazan and Tomsk with 4 participants in each share the third place. Voronezh and Krasnoyarsk with 3 universities in each share the fourth place. In total, 27 universities, or 33% (35% a year earlier), account for 2 capitals, and 55% for the first 7 cities. Finally, 10 cities are represented by two universities, and 17 cities - by 1 university. An interesting conclusion follows from the geographical distribution of universities. Firstly, there is a slight decrease in Moscow and St. Petersburg share. It is expected to decrease even more in 2020, when about 20 Russian universities are added. Secondly, more than half of the country's leading universities are concentrated in only eight metropolitan areas. This fact eloquently suggests that competition for applicants occurs not only between universities, but between cities, too.


    University profiles distribution


    Most of the universities represented in the ranking are either classical (33) or technical (32). In total, these two categories provide 79% of the total sample of ranking participants. Universities of other profiles are represented by a small number of participants:


  • Economic - 6
  • Medical - 5
  • Architectural - 2
  • Humanitarian - 2
  • Pedagogical – 2

  • Average Russian university overview


    University ranking provides many options for evaluating national education systems, in addition to comparing universities among themselves. For example, the ranking can help to evaluate an average Russian university according to the ranking statistics. It is important to note that the data presented below are based on a sample of 82 Russian universities that submitted their data. In accordance with monitoring the effectiveness of universities, there were 709 universities operating in Russia in 2019 (excluding branches). Thus, the RUR sample covers 8.67% of Russian universities. However, such a sample is representative, because it includes a section of leading international universities, which are ambitious enough to participate in a global competition.


    For instance, 12,421 student study in an average Russian university (+81 relative to 2019) compared with 23,354 in the world. Thus, an average Russian university is almost 2 times more compact than a global one. In terms of the faculty number, a Russian university is close to the world average level, i.e. 1,100 faculty (+18 compared with 2019) versus 1,419 in the world.


    The internationalization indicators of Russian universities are significantly lower than the world average. For example, on average there are 53 international academic staff in a Russian university (+2 compared with 2019) versus 180 in the world. The number of foreign students looks a bit better. There are 1,246 in the Russian Federation and 2,736 in the world, i.e. the difference is a bit more than 2 times.


    The weakest indicator is the gross number of citations, which a Russian university shows only 6% of the global average number of citations according to the Web of Science Core Collection.


    Leaders of Russian higher education


    The first top ten universities of Russia according to RUR Russian University Ranking 2020:


     1. Lomonosov Moscow State University
     2. National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute)
     3. Tomsk State University
     4. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
     5. Saint Petersburg State University
     6. ITMO University
     7. RUDN University
     8. National University of Science and Technology MISiS (Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys)
     9. Tomsk Polytechnic University
    10. Lobachevsky University


    It is noteworthy that 8 out of 10 represented universities are participants in the Academic Excellence and 2 more (Moscow State University and St. Petersburg State University) are universities with a special status (managed according to a separate federal law).


    At the same time, in 2019, the first 10 Russian universities showed the highest dynamics in the international ranking for 10 years of the RUR Ranking – it increased on average by 45 positions. Moreover, for the first time we can see that the vast majority of Russian universities showed positive dynamics of 62 against 32 a year earlier. Only 8 universities demonstrated negative dynamics compared with 32 in 2019. Also, 12 universities either participated in the ranking for the first time or returned after a break.


    There are 3-4 universities out of 15-20 leaders in Russia, which have a chance to enter the global TOP-100. There is a gradual concentration of resources in a limited number of universities. This is a global trend in the vast majority of countries in the world.


    Specifics of Russian higher education


    Along with the main ranking, there are 4 more also published for certain areas of activity:


  • Quality of Teaching
  • Quality of Research
  • International Diversity
  • Financial Sustainability

  • These rankings evaluate universities according to 5 criteria of the general methodology, with equal weights of 20% each.


    Ranking by Teaching. TOP 10


     1. Lomonosov Moscow State University
     2. Tomsk State University
     3. National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute)
     4. RUDN University
     5. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
     6. Saint Petersburg State University
     7. Bauman Moscow State Technical University
     8. Lobachevsky University
     9. ITMO University
    10. Moscow Aviation Institute


    It is worth noting that 7 Russian universities entered Teaching Quality TOP-100 in RUR World University Ranking. They are Lomonosov Moscow State University (31), Tomsk State University (63), National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (75) RUDN University (82), Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (85), Saint Petersburg State University (89), Bauman Moscow State University (96). Moreover, Russian universities occupy 2–3 times higher positions in the teaching quality ranking than in general. This fact suggests that Russian universities are still more centers of education than science, in contrast to the global trend, when they are the synthesis of science and education in equal proportions.


    Ranking by Research. TOP 10


     1. National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute)
     2. Tomsk State University
     3. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
     4. Lomonosov Moscow State University
     5. Kazan Federal University
     6. National University of Science and Technology MISiS (Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys)
     7. ITMO University
     8. Saint Petersburg State University
     9. Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
    10. Lobachevsky University


    Ranking by International Diversity. TOP 10


     1. Lomonosov Moscow State University
     2. Tomsk State University
     3. National University of Science and Technology MISiS (Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys)
     4. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
     5. Innopolis University
     6. National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute)
     7. ITMO University
     8. Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
     9. Tomsk Polytechnic University
    10. Saint Petersburg State University


    Ranking by Financial Sustainability. TOP 10


     1. Tomsk Polytechnic University
     2. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
     3. Lomonosov Moscow State University
     4. National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute)
     5. National University of Science and Technology MISiS (Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys)
     6. Tomsk State University
     7. National Research University of Electronic Technology (MIET)
     8. Innopolis University
     9. ITMO University
    10. New Economic School


    About Round University Ranking


    Round University Ranking (RUR) is an international university ranking published by the RUR Rankings Agency. The ranking has evaluated activities of 1,100 leading universities from 82 countries over 11 years (2010-2020) according to 20 indicators measuring 4 areas of university activity: quality of teaching, quality of research, level of international diversity and level of financial stability. Such a wide coverage, both geographic and time-related, makes the RUR ranking a unique tool for choosing universities for study and work, comparing, and contrasting higher education institutions on a global scale. In addition to the general ranking, RUR ranking includes 30 rankings in 6 subject areas: humanities, life sciences, medical sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, technical sciences. Also, in 2019, for the first time, there were published individual rankings of the countries with the highest representation (TOP-10 countries by number of represented universities).


    RUR World University Ranking is the first regularly updated world university ranking of Russian origin. The ranking was created to evaluate and make decisions on the choice of universities in accordance with the personal tasks of key stakeholders: applicants and students, the academic community, university management, and the state authorities.


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