Society 09/06/2021

UB, UAB and UPF: three Catalan universities in the world's top 250 for the first time

The University of Barcelona climbs 15 positions and is the first university in Spain

2 min
Panoramic view of the oldest university building in Catalonia, the UB.

BarcelonaFor the first time since the ranking QS Quacquarelli Symonds exists, three Catalan universities are among the top 250 positions. The list, which is one of the three most important in the world (along with the Times Higher Education and the University of Shanghai), was published on Tuesday and ranks 1,300 universities according to the academic works published and cited and the opinions of 130,000 academics and 75,000 professionals who work in them. The three Catalan universities are among the 20% of the best in the world.

The ranking shows a quite spectacular rise of the UB, which climbs 15 positions thanks to the "great improvement in the score in terms of research impact" and is placed 168th in the world and 55th in Europe. "This is an extremely important result because our field of reference is Europe and that is where we have to compare ourselves in the first instance", said the rector of the UB, Joan Guàrdia. According to the rector, the results of the ranking are "exceptionally positive" for the UB, which is 39 steps above the next Spanish university, the Autonomous University of Madrid (207th).

In fact, for the last few years the two Autonomous Universities have been very close and, if two years ago the UAB overtook the UAM, this year the Autonomous University of Madrid has been placed two positions above the UAB. The difference between the two universities has been reduced because the UAM has fallen seven positions and is no longer among the top 200 in the world, while the UAB has risen four places compared to last year.

UPF has entered the top 250, after climbing 39 positions in just one year and going from being the 287th best university in the world to being the 248th. The Complutense of Madrid, in 223rd place, is the other centre that is part of the top positions of the ranking at a national level. In total, 26 Spanish universities are among the 1,000 best in the world, among which are the UPC and Ramon Llull.

Changes in the top 2: Oxford overtakes Stanford

There have also been changes at the top of the list: although the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology once again heads the ranking (it has now been at the top for 10 years), the University of Oxford returns to 2nd place for the first time since 2006 (a year ago it was in 5th place) and Stanford University, in the USA, moves down one position, tied in third place with Cambridge, which has moved from 7th to 3rd place in one year.