U-Multirank is a new multidimensional, user-driven approach to international ranking of higher education institutions. It compares the performances of higher education institutions – in short: universities – in the five broad dimensions of university activity: (1) teaching and learning, (2) research, (3) knowledge transfer, (4) international orientation and (5) regional engagement. The U-Multirank web tool enables comparisons at the level of the university as a whole and at the level of specific fields of study. Based on empirical data U-Multirank compares institutions with similar institutional profiles (‘like-with-like’) and allows users to develop their own personalised rankings by selecting indicators in terms of their own preferences.
Based on the results of a feasibility study covering 150 universities which was carried out in 2010/11, the European Commission decided to fund the implementation of U-Multirank. This roll out is carried out by a consortium led by the Centre for Higher Education (CHE) in Germany and the Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS) at the University of Twente and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University both in the Netherlands. Other partner organisations include the Bertelsmann Foundation, student-consult group Push and the software firm Folge 3. The consortium also works closely with a range of national ranking partners and stakeholder organisations.
The first U-Multirank ranking was the 2014 edition, covering more than 850 higher education institutions from more than 70 countries. It provided a ranking at the institutional level as a whole as well as at the level of specific subject areas. Since then, the coverage of institutions and subject areas have been expanded each year. The 2016 edition now covers more than 1,300 universities from over 90 countries worldwide, and 13 subject areas in total: electrical and mechanical engineering, business studies, physics, psychology, computer science and medicine, as well as biology, chemistry, mathematics, and – featuring social sciences and humanities the first time – history, sociology and social work/welfare. Additional universities and subject areas will be added each year.
U-Multirank is an independent ranking prepared with seed funding from the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme. The work of the U-Multirank consortium is overseen by an Advisory Board.