The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has ranked in the top five higher education institutions in the world for research in a new independent evaluation funded by the European Commission.
The assessment, from U-Multirank, scored higher education institutions for the quality of their research and their ‘research linkage’ – which measures collaboration with other academic institutions and industry.
The ICR ranked joint fifth of the 1,200 higher education institutions overall for success across the seven research criteria. It was joint first when excluding a measure of the absolute number of research papers published – which favours larger organisations.
The ICR ranked fourth in the world for two separate blue riband markers of research quality – citation rate and the proportion of top-cited papers – behind only Rockefeller University, MIT and London Business School.
It was also assessed at the top A grade in three separate measures of success in research collaboration – for joint publications with partners regionally, internationally and with industry.
The U-Multirank system focuses on showing top performances in different aspects of research. It is an independent ranking launched in 2014 with funding by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme.
U-Multirank allows users to select different criteria to make their own rankings. Scores are based on empirical data to make ‘like-for-like’ comparisons with institutions of similar institutional profiles.
One of its purposes is to throw a spotlight on high-performing universities that might not be picked up by traditional international university rankings – some of the more established international systems have a bias towards the bigger universities and can overlook specialist institutions like the ICR.
The influential UK publication Research Fortnight said: “U-Multirank placed a number of small and specialised institutions among the high performers for ‘citation rate’ and ‘top cited publications’. These are the Hanken School of Economics in Finland, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Rockefeller University in the US.’
Research quality recognised
The ranking follows a recent Times Higher Education report that placed the ICR in the top 10 universities worldwide for collaboration with industry.
Dr Barbara Pittam, Director of Academic Services at the ICR, said: “It’s great that these rankings endorse the ICR’s position as one of the most successful academic research institutions in the world. I’m delighted to see that we not only rank near the top for the quality of our research papers, but also for our success at collaborating with academic partners and with industry. It’s a sign of our focus both on doing exceptional research and on working through partnerships to make sure our work has the maximum possible impact for patients.”
Professor Paul Workman FRS, Chief Executive and President of the ICR, said: “I am delighted that we are ranked in the top five institutions overall in this objective assessment by U-Multirank of academic research organisations across the world – and in fact that we are joint first when the criterion that favours large institutions is discounted.
"I’m especially pleased that the quality of the ICR’s publications reporting our discoveries in cancer research and treatment is scored so highly and in addition by the high ranking for the extent that our research is collaborative with other academic organisations across the world and also with industry. All these things help us to achieve our ultimate aim of improving and extending the lives of people with cancer.”