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Global Competition of Universities in the Mirror of International Rankings


Shifts in the global competition in the market of world-class universities (WCUs) are analyzed; the long-term restructuring of this market is considered in three geopolitical centers—the United States, Europe, and Asia—over the past 18 years of the 21st century. Nine of the most authoritative global university rankings were used as an information base. Calculations show that even though the positions of American universities in the top lists of world rankings are weakening, giving way to European and Asian universities, the United States continues to maintain leadership in this area. However, the authors’ expert forecast makes it possible to say that, if the emerging trends continue, by 2030 the number of WCUs of Europe and the United States in the Top 100 of many global ratings can be equalized, leading to a kind of Euro–American parity in the higher education sector. According to the authors, the desire of countries to create their own WCUs is a positive trend in terms of the development of global science.

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  14. In fairness, it should be noted that in 2011 a new university was created in Russia in strict accordance with international standards—the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech). However, it is too early to speak about its achievements. In addition, Skoltech belongs to the category of small universities: in 2018, there were only 108 professors, 613 students, and 259 graduate students. With such parameters, this university cannot yet claim global leadership.


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This article was prepared within a 2020 State Assignment of the Russian Government for the Financial University (topic no. АААА-А19-119092590051-2).

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Correspondence to E. V. Balatsky or N. A. Ekimova.

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Translated by B. Alekseev

Evgeny Vsevolodovich Balatsky, Dr. Sci. (Econ.), is Director of the Macroeconomic Research Center, Financial University under the Russian Government, and Chief Researcher at the Central Economics and Mathematics Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences (CEMI RAS). Natal’ya Aleksandrovna Ekimova, Cand. Sci. (Econ.), is a Leading Researcher at the Macroeconomic Research Center, Financial University under the Russian Government.

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Balatsky, E.V., Ekimova, N.A. Global Competition of Universities in the Mirror of International Rankings. Her. Russ. Acad. Sci. 90, 417–427 (2020).

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  • world-class universities
  • global university rankings
  • competitiveness
  • geopolitical inversion