2023 Shanghai Ranking affirms UP’s research excellence and impact

Posted on August 18, 2023

On 15 August 2023, the University of Pretoria (UP) once again demonstrated its strong performance in the 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), widely known as the Shanghai Ranking, by retaining its joint-third national ranking in South Africa. With this, UP reaffirms its status as a prominent research-intensive institution within the country. The annual ARWU evaluates over 2 500 global institutions, assessing various indicators of academic and research distinction. Globally, UP secured its place within the 401-500 band, maintaining the same position as in 2022 and solidifying its standing among the world's top 500 universities.

Among the 18 African universities ranked in the 2023 ARWU, UP was ranked fourth on the continent. South Africa and Egypt dominated with nine and seven universities each. UP's standing reinforces its stature as a pillar of quality higher education in Africa.

The ARWU ranking uses six indicators to assess universities. These include the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, highly cited researchers, papers published in prestigious journals such as Nature and Science, papers indexed in Science Citation Index, and overall academic performance per faculty member.

In the highly cited researchers' category, which measures the number of researchers recognised for producing significant influential research, UP was ranked second in South Africa and Africa – this is UP’s best performance among the six indicators. This indicator is extracted from Clarivate and only the primary affiliations of highly cited researchers are considered. This underlines the groundbreaking discoveries and innovations happening at UP across diverse fields.

UP also performed well both in the number of papers indexed in Science Citation Index and the number of papers published in Nature and Science, ranking fourth in South Africa and Africa for its robust research activity. For per capita academic performance, which looks at productivity per faculty member, UP ranked fourth in South Africa and fifth in Africa. This highlights UP's ability to maximise its intellectual capital and maintain efficient world-class research and teaching standards.

As UP Interim Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Themba Mosia noted: "We are delighted that UP continues to maintain its position globally and in Africa. This drives us to enhance our excellence even further in education, research and innovation for the public good.”

“UP's results validate its strategic direction as a research-intensive university producing graduates who are ready to provide thought leadership and to drive positive societal impact with their skills and knowledge. UP remains committed to global benchmarking and engagement as it pursues its vision to be a leading research-intensive university in Africa, recognised internationally for its quality, relevance and impact.”

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