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A total of 22 French schools placed in the top 500 ranking publish Monday, making France the sixth-highest ranking country, after the US, China, Germany, the UK and Australia.
The Shanghai Ranking’s “Academic Ranking of World Universities”, which was launched in 2003, takes into account six criteria in order to rank the top 500 of the world’s 1,200 listed universities.
Criteria include the number of former students who have earned Nobel prizes, the number of researchers who are the most-cited in their field, and the number of articles published in the journals Science and Nature.
Critics have said that the Shanghai Ranking stresses science over the humanities in its grading.
Universities from mainland China broke into the global top 100 in the annual ranking for the first time while Harvard remained number one for the 14th consecutive year.
China’s prestigious Tsinghua University was 58th, beating elite Peking University in 71st place. The National University of Singapore also entered the top 100 for the first time, tying for 83rd.
For the top 10, Stanford maintained second place but MIT dropped from third to fifth, with the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Cambridge each moving up one spot to take third and fourth.
Princeton University was sixth again, with another three US institutions – the California Institute of Technology, Columbia University and the University of Chicago – in places eight to 10.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the University of Tokyo was top at number 20 overall.
The Shanghai Ranking is consistently largely static at its top levels, and this year nine of the top 20 were in unchanged positions, and another nine moved by only one place.
Thierry Mandon, France’s secretary Minister of State for Research, noted that France ranks higher on the Reuters ranking of the world’s most innovative research institutes: “the CEA (Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) occupies first place, CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) fifth place, Inserm (French Institute of Health and Medical Research) tenth pace and the Institut Pasteur 17th place”.
The biggest change was by Britain’s Oxford University, which climbed three spots from 10th to seventh.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich was the highest-ranked entry from continental Europe, in 19th place, while the University of Copenhagen in Denmark – which came 31st – overtook France’s Pierre and Marie Curie University (39th) as mainland Europe’s next best, the statement said.