Ranking of the top young universities in the world according to British magazine "Times Higher Education": now the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna is the only Italian university to place in the world top 10

There is an Italian university among the first top 10 universities in the world under fifty years old: it is the "thirty years old" Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa (founded in 1987) which, according to the 2016 ranking of the 150 best young universities in the world compiled by the Times Higher Education (THE) and released today. Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna placed tenth in global rankings and ranks first in Italy.  Our country was represented by another five institutions, and the ranking released today confirmed the competitive strength of our research and university system, also showing Milano Bicocca as 51st position,  Verona joint 66th, Rome III 72nd, Tor Vergata 81st and Brescia joint 86th in the world’s top 100 universities.

In the world scene today the contours of the best young universities drawn by the “Times Higher Education" influential listing, look different from the past. So far, United Kingdom and United States of America had dominated the world stage with "historic and most reputable" universities; nowadays the viewing angle of the ranking has changed, taking into consideration only the top 150 universities in the world , under 50 years of age.

Rankings may change, such as the countries where the leading institutions are based;  therefore Asian countries assert themselves, and more generally, so do other emerging economies. After the Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne moved to first place, the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore ranked second; the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology placed third;  the South Korean Pohang University of Science and Technology and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in the fifth and sixth position. Rankings of the best universities in the world changed, if valued on the basis of the youth (under 50 years old). UK and England have three institutions in the top 40, and the the 150 world best young universities are located in 39 countries.

For the first time Italy can boast its international ranking among the top 10 universities in the world. And the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa, ranked tenth, continues its unstoppable rise in the prestigious "Times Higher Education" ranking. Requirements to be included in “Times Higher Education” rankings are very stringent to ensure equality, balance and impartiality. For example, only universities with at least 1.000 publications are  eligible, 200 papers for each of the previous five years published by international scientific journals of high impact.  

The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, is the first university in the world, under 50 years of age. The Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna some years ago started important collaborations with the ''École Polytechnique Fédérale” in the field of neural engineering, bionics and neuroprosthesis. This partnership has resulted in several joint publications in prestigious international journals, such as Science Translational Medicine and eLife, just to name some of the most important ones. The bionic prosthesis moving with the power of thought, through neural implants, and the new "bionic fingertip" recently developed, are the results of joint projects between the École Polytechnique Fédérale and the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna.

“It is a matter of great satisfaction to Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna – Sant’Anna rector Professor Pierdomenico Perata says – to be ranked among the top 10 young universities in the world founded less than 50 years ago. Sant'Anna School is under 30 years old and is already at the top of the global ranking, and the first in Italy. This ranking - continues Perata - highlights the presence of young universities in highly innovative countries, such as Switzerland, since  the EPFL Lausanne ranked first, and fast growing countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea. The presence of an Italian university among the top 10 and five other universities in the top 100 ranking shows how the university system, despite the difficulties, is able to boost young and dynamic organizations, that can help the development of our country. I am happy to hear Phil Baty statement, the Times Higher Education rankings editor, according to which 'it is significant that Italy, which boasts some of the oldest universities in the world, is so well represented in the ranking of universities founded in the last 50 years'. A sign of vitality that  gives reason to hope for the future of the country demonstrating that the investment in training and research carried out by Italian companies - rector says - can be a path to improve the Italian university system.

World  Ranking of young universities:  Italian  Universities



Year of Establishment


Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna



University of Milan-Bicocca



University of Verona



University of Rome III



University of Rome II – Tor Vergata



University of Brescia