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Stellenbosch University climbs on global university ranking
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking
Published: 02/09/2021

​​​​Stellenbosch University's (SU) ranking position has increased and it is now second in South Africa according to the 2022 Times Higher Education (THE) World Universities Rankings (WUR) that was released earlier today.

SU is ranked in the category 251–300 (for a third consecutive year) and moved up one place from last year (2021) when it occupied the third spot in South Africa. More than 1600 universities from 93 countries are ranked on the THE WUR.

“Stellenbosch University's consistent performance on the THE World Universities Rankings bodes well for the institution's vision of being 'Africa's leading research-intensive university, globally recognised as excellent, inclusive and innovative, where we advance knowledge in service of society'," says Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy and Internationalisation.

“What is even more encouraging is that SU managed to improve on most of the indicators used by THE World Universities Rankings. This is no mean feat taking into account the pandemic and especially the challenges faced by universities in emerging economies."

She reiterated that while universities are aware of the importance of rankings in the overall perception of an institution's global academic and research standing, “at Stellenbosch University our focus remains on academic and research excellence that will shape a better world for all. It is, however, very gratifying when we gain international recognition in our quest to provide solutions to societal problems through world-class research and scientific programs. "


An authoritative ranking of the world's best universities, the THE World University Rankings are the only global performance tables that judge research-intensive universities across all their core missions namely teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. THE WUR does not include the subjective perception indicator used by several other rankings..

SU improved again on the indicators Industry Income (knowledge transfer and a university's ability to attract funding in the commercial marketplace), Teaching, Research (number of published academic papers, reputation for research excellence, and income) and Citations (number of times a university's published work is cited by scholars globally).

The most significant improvement was on the industry income * and teaching** scores with an increase of 8.8% and 5.6% respectively. With an increase of 8.8%, the industry income score improved from the  previous (2021) score of 73.1   to the 2022 score of 79.5. The 5.6% growth brings the teaching score to 30.3 compared to 28.7 in 2021.

*THE WUR defines the 'Industry Indicator' as a university's ability to help industry with innovations, inventions and consultancy has become a core mission of the contemporary global academy. This category seeks to capture such knowledge-transfer activity by looking at how much research income an institution earns from industry (adjusted for PPP), scaled against the number of academic staff it employs. The category suggests the extent to which businesses are willing to pay for research and a university's ability to attract funding in the commercial marketplace – useful indicators of institutional quality.

** The 'Teaching' category is underpinned by the annually run Academic Reputation Survey that examines the perceived prestige of institutions in teaching and research. As well as giving a sense of how committed an institution is to nurturing the next generation of academics, a high proportion of postgraduate research students also suggests the provision of teaching at the highest level that is thus attractive to graduates and effective at developing them.