Another Top 100 for Groningen

This week the University of Groningen entered the Top 100 of the prestigious QS University Ranking for the first time. Now the University occupies a top-100 position in the three most important global rankings.

Last year Groningen was 109th in the QS Ranking. Then, a month ago, the University entered the Top 100 of the Shanghai Ranking for the first time ever. The Times Higher Education had already listed Groningen in 89th place in its ranking.

Sibrand Poppema, President of the Board of the University of Groningen, is extremely happy. ‘It means that the accomplishments of our scientists and our reputation are acknowledged worldwide.’ This is important in order to attract international students and researchers.

Other leading Dutch universities are ranked as follows: University of Amsterdam  (58), Leiden (74), Utrecht (81), Rotterdam (92) and Delft (95). Harvard, Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are the global frontrunners.

More publications

Jules van Rooij, the University’s rankings expert, says the University’s recent success is partly due to more publications appearing in better research magazines, which increases the University’s citation scores. Also, the fact that the Times Higher Education had already listed Groningen among the world’s best 100 universities ensured that academics around the world were more familiar with the University of Groningen and so named it as a leading university more often.

Van Rooij attributes the most value to the Times Higher Education list. ‘All rankings use different indicators to determine a value for citation and reputation, which makes it a bit of a hotchpotch. However, the Times Higher Education only surveys academics who actually peer-review for research magazines, while QS, for example, surveys anyone who has an academic address.’


He warns not to take the rankings too seriously, though. ‘For every ranking you can ask questions about the methods used. Placing too much value on them is almost Kafkaesque. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.’

However, he also realizes how important the lists are as a marketing tool. That makes it even more convenient that the University achieved this success so close to the celebration of its 400th birthday in 2014.

‘Did you know we also came 53rd in the Green Metric World University Ranking for Sustainability? It may not be as well known as the other rankings, but it’s very fitting for the University’s lustrum year and its theme “For Infinity”.’