Stellenbosch University
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SU among world’s best for research excellence and innovation
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking
Published: 02/09/2020

Stellenbosch University (SU) is recognised locally and abroad for its research excellence and innovation. This has been confirmed once again by the latest Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2021 that is released today (embargoed for Wednesday 2 September 2020 at 13:00).

The University is ranked in the category 251–300, occupying the third spot among leading universities in South Africa. This year 1,527 institutions from 93 countries have been ranked.

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.

Commenting on SU's latest achievement Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Internationalisation at SU, says that SU's established ranking is proof of SU's research impact world-wide and the recognition afforded to the calibre and stature of its researchers. “Being ranked in the band 251-300 means that SU excelled well above the vast majority of universities world-wide that took part in this ranking. While the University remains cognisant of the importance of rankings in the overall perception of an institution's academic and research standing, our focus is on academic and research excellence that will shape a better world for all. It is, however, hugely gratifying to receive international recognition in our quest to become Africa's leading research-intensive university that is globally recognised as a place of excellence, innovation, and where knowledge is advanced in service of society."


Stellenbosch University improved again on the indicators Industry Income (knowledge transfer and a university's ability to attract funding in the commercial marketplace), 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* score, 23.7% – from the current previous (2020) score of 59.1, to 73.1 on the 2021 THE WUR. Receiving a score of 73.1 on the 2021 THE WUR and a rank of 152 out of 1 527 universities ranked on the 2021 THE WUR, means that SU excelled well above the vast majority of universities world-wide that took part in this ranking. The median score for all universities ranked in this indicators is 38.5, the third quartile is calculated at 50 and the top whisker is 72.8 which means that a score of 73.1 is a top outlier score.

Last month, SU was also ranked among the top universities on the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), also known as the Shanghai Rankings.


*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."