2023 The World Reputation Rankings cements UP’s standing in teaching and research

Posted on February 21, 2024

The University of Pretoria (UP) continues to rank among the top higher education institutions in Africa, South Africa and the world, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) Reputation Rankings 2023, securing notable positions in both teaching and research.

For teaching, UP maintained its second-place position in South Africa, and is ranked fourth in the research category. Globally, the University is ranked 395 in the world, 385 in teaching and 398 in research.

“Our second-place standing in South Africa is not just a number; it symbolises our commitment to fostering an environment that encourages critical thinking, innovation and practical learning experiences,” said Professor Themba Mosia, interim Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UP. “This achievement has been made possible through our investment in cutting-edge teaching technologies, continuous professional development for our academic staff, and our innovative curriculum that meets both the current and future needs of our students and society,” he said, adding that collaboration between departments, the integration of research with teaching, and UP’s focus on creating a supportive and inclusive campus culture have been key enablers in the University’s journey towards educational excellence. “As we celebrate this milestone, we are reminded of the importance of our mission to not only educate but to empower our students to make meaningful contributions to the world.”

According to Times Higher Education, the World Reputation Rankings are created using the world’s largest invitation-only academic opinion survey of experienced, published scholars who offer their views on excellence in research and teaching within their disciplines. The 2023 rankings were based on a survey conducted between October 2022 and January 2023. Almost 40 000 academics from 166 countries and regions were asked to name the universities they consider the best in their field, with the top 200 ranked. Invitees can vote for any number of universities up to a maximum of 15, both in teaching and research. Academics are also asked how important various factors, such as conferences or geographical proximity, are to them when deciding how to vote. One key consideration when computing the ranking is to ensure that the results of the survey are representative of the distribution of scholars globally. The benchmark for this is publicly available data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics.

“UP’s position in the research category affirms our position as one of the leading research-intensive universities in South Africa and beyond,” Prof Mosia said. “Despite the competition level in the rankings, securing a rank within the top echelons globally is a testament to our robust research ecosystem, characterised by pioneering innovation, multi- and inter-disciplinary collaboration, and a commitment to addressing global challenges. This achievement is underpinned by our state-of-the-art research facilities, substantial investment in research development, and a strategic focus on attracting and retaining top-tier researchers and scholars.

“UP serves as a crucible for groundbreaking research that not only advances academic knowledge but also translates into tangible benefits for society. The support from our network of international partnerships and our commitment to research excellence has been instrumental in enabling this success. As we move forward, UP remains dedicated to enhancing its research capabilities and reinforcing its role as a beacon of knowledge creation and innovation.”

Maintaining its third-place ranking overall in South Africa, alongside securing second place in teaching and fourth place in research, is indicative of the dedication, innovation and hard work of UP’s faculty, students and staff, Prof Mosia added.

“This recognition underscores our unwavering commitment to excellence in teaching, research and community engagement,” he said. “We remain focused on our mission to inspire the leaders and innovators of tomorrow, ensuring that UP continues to be a beacon of knowledge, not just in South Africa, but around the globe. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has contributed to our success, and look forward to forging new paths of excellence in the years to come.”

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