Sant’Anna School continues to build its reputation for being one of Italy’s most prestigious universities.  Sant’Anna placed 1st among the Italian institutions in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019 and for the third year in a row has risen up the rankings and placed 153rd in the world. Three Italian universities ranked in the top 200 in the world, the Scuola Normale Superiore placed 161st and the University of Bologna ranked 180th.

The latest edition of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings assessed over 1250 (1100 in 2018) of the best universities in the world through performance indicators grouped into teaching, research, highly cited publications, knowledge transfer and international outlook. 86 countries are currently represented, including UK University of Oxford and University of Cambridge that are the best universities in the world for the third year in a row. Overall, the University of Stanford placed 3rd, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ranked 4th, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) dropped from 3rd place to joint 4th. Yale University is the only newcomer to the top 10, joining at 8th place, up from 12th.

“China and other emerging economies’ nations – said Phil Baty, editorial director of THE Global Rankings – are home to the highest concentration of leading universities. The Chinese government has been working very strategically in attracting the best global talent. China and Asian competitors could overtake the UK and US as the second best nations in the world. Universities from the US, Europe and Australia were at risk of slipping further as those regions experienced the effects of deepening cuts and creeping isolationism. Maintaining current standards of excellence on those terms is unsustainable, and – he continued - amid mounting global competition, we again see signs of stagnation and modest decline among established strongholds, with individual successes the exception. In a competitive world, our universities cannot rest on their laurels. We need sustained investments to adapt and respond to student needs and ensure our universities are set up for the future”.

Despite fast rising Asian competitors are overtaking us, 43 (40 in 2018) Italian universities made the rankings. In particular, Sant’Anna School, Scuola Normale Superiore and the University of Bologna have expanded their presence and climbed up the table.

Following several years of decline, Europe’s performance is still strong, according to THE editors. Our old continent retained seven higher education institutions within the top 30 in 2019. “While there is great success for many European countries and universities in this year’s rankings, a shift in the political climate across the continent could damage many of its higher education systems in future years,” says Ellie Bothwell, Rankings Editor for THE. “Universities in the UK, and Europe as a whole, will lose out if its pan-European mobility and research collaborations are restricted as a result of Brexit, while the rise in far-right populism is already impacting universities’ academic freedom as a result of Brexit. These factors combined with stiff competition from Asia will put European universities under a great deal of pressure over the coming 12 months.”

Rectors Pierdomenico Perata and Vincenzo Barone said the results confirmed a deep commitment to communal enduring values: “To be judged the best university in Italy in the THE global rankings is a great source of pride. Together with IUSS Pavia University, our consortium is recognised internationally for the contribution to many fields of inquiry. We would continue to maintain good performance in teaching (we ranked in the top global 70) and research, and nurture partnerships with leading Italian companies. However, to continue improving, we hope that our government can invest higher percentages of GDP into higher education and bring back overseas Italian talented researchers”.

Click here for the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2019