University rankings


Sir, – I read with great interest the views of John Kelly, professor emeritus, about the attention given to university rankings (September 7th). He is of course completely right. Many international rankings of universities focus so heavily on the institutions’ research output that they fail to capture the many other, equally important dimensions of their work.

That is why the European Commission has supported the development of an alternative approach to presenting university performance, U-Multirank (

This not-for-profit tool attempts to capture the way universities deliver on five different aspects: teaching and learning, research, knowledge transfer, international orientation and regional engagement. It shows that no one university can claim to be “the best in the world” across all dimensions, with many smaller institutions outperforming their better-known peers on aspects such as teaching and learning and regional engagement. This transparency is good for prospective students, good for employers, and good for university leaders and policymakers. And with nearly 1,500 institutions worldwide in its database, it is also the most comprehensive of its kind in the world. No ranking can give a wholly accurate representation of anything as complex as a university. But in the current state of the art, U-Multirank is as good as it gets. – Yours, etc,


Head of the European

Commission Representation in Ireland,

Lower Mount Street,

Dublin 2.