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Nancy IP


The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

LIU Niancai


Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU)


Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) 


Da Hsuan FENG

Former Vice President for Research
University of Texas at Dallas

Former Senior Vice President
National Tsing Hua University


February 17, 2023


Rankings are important to universities. For Asian universities trying to compete with their Western counterparts, rankings provide a frame of comparison. As all universities look to attract top global talents, rankings has become a key differentiator for many. For governments and other stakeholders of a university, rankings are benchmarks of progress that they can easily understand, allowing them to sense the return on their investments.


However, as grades never fully reflect a student’s intellect, a university’s rankings do not determine its full excellence. This is especially the case for many Asian universities, which have tremendous local influences but are not highly ranked globally. Part of the reason is that global university rankings focus on research output, whereas many Asian universities concentrate on addressing local needs, such as skill training and industry collaborations. What does ranking truly mean to a university? How do Asian university leaders see rankings? How to strike a balance between pursuing rankings and responding to local needs?

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