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KU Leuven rises, ULB falls in world university ranking
Academics in Belgium are congratulating themselves for a good showing in the World University Rankings. The country has four universities in the top 200 of the prestigious league table, produced by Times Higher Education, a specialist newspaper based in London. In all, Belgium has seven universities in the top 800.
The ranking uses a panel of indicators to assess a university's teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.
KU Leuven (pictured) has the most cause to celebrate, rising from 55 in the previous ranking to 35 in the new list. Ghent University comes in at 118, a drop of 28 places, while the Université catholique de Louvain rises four places to 167. Antwerp University fell 20 places, but still remains in the top 200 at 190.
The scene is less happy at the Université libre de Bruxelles, which has plummeted from an unspecified spot between 201 and 225 last year to the grey area between 351 and 400. Two years ago it was within the top 200, at 176.
ULB has reacted by calling the ranking "unacceptable", pointing out that the methodology has changed significantly since last year. "When it comes to research, you can't fall 150 places in one year," said Catherine Dehon, in charge of rankings at the university, when Le Soir asked what had gone wrong.
She also suggested that the system confuses ULB with its Flemish neighbour VUB. The two institutions are close enough to share the same postal code, and both names translate into English as the Free University of Brussels.
photo © KU Leuven - Rob Stevens