, Volume 121, Issue 2, pp 771–792 | Cite as

Funding, is it key for standing out in the university rankings?

  • Mónica BenitoEmail author
  • Pilar Gil
  • Rosario Romera


This paper studies the influence of funding on the position reached by the top 300 universities (institutions) of the Quaccarelly Symond World University Ranking 2018. Geographical location, ownership nature (public/private), size and financial resources of these top universities are examined. Our analysis shows that public funding become critical up to 84% of these top universities, especially for the European universities. Moreover, funding explains up to 51% of the variability of the positions attained by the universities in the ranking. The influence of funding in the improvement of the universities’ ranking score is also studied. We provide evidence that the top 100 universities double the funds of the universities located in positions 101–200 and triple those of the universities in positions 201–300 of the ranking. This is an exceptional exercise in relating university funding and excellence that usually are examined for university systems (countries) not for universities themselves.


World rankings QS ranking Universities Funding and excellence 



Funding was provided by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidad Carlos III de MadridGetafeSpain

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