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Shanghai ranking criticised as France fails to rise

France’s higher education and research minister, Geneviève Fioraso, has criticised the Academic Ranking of World Universities, known as the Shanghai University Ranking, after hearing that France’s position has not changed since last year’s table.

Just three French institutions feature in the top 100 in the 2012 rankings, published on 15 August. All are Paris universities: Paris Sud (No.37 in the ranking), Pierre and Marie Curie (42), and the École Normale Supérieure (73). A total of eight French institutions feature in the top 200.

The minister said that the University of Strasbourg’s failure to penetrate the top 100 was “probably due” to the ranking not including Jules Hoffman’s share in the 2011 Nobel Prize for Medicine. Strasbourg’s score on prizes is less this year than last year.

“The ranking is characterised by a lack of reactivity and dynamism,” the minister said in a statement, arguing that it does not recognise teaching performance and largely ignores the humanities and social sciences.

She said that the Socialist government backs plans to create a European university ranking that better reflects the strengths of universities.