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Coimbra Group backs More Than Our Rank initiative

Image: Martin McQuillan for Research Professional News

Network of European universities expresses support for initiative promoting broader definitions of institutional success

The Coimbra Group of multidisciplinary European universities has lent its backing to the More Than Our Rank initiative, which aims to promote a broader appreciation for the variety of ways universities can be successful than is typically portrayed in rankings.

Several for-profit and non-profit organisations produce rankings of universities, based on various factors, which are sometimes used by institutions and academics as proxies for institutional success. This narrow view of success has attracted criticism for how it disadvantages some institutions that have fewer resources or specific aims.

More Than Our Rank aims to provide “an opportunity for academic institutions to highlight the many and various ways they serve the world that are not reflected in their ranking position”.

Supporting the initiative marks a “new milestone” for Coimbra, the group said in a statement on 19 April.

Promoting context and nuance

The group said it is aiming to advance a more “complex, contextualised and nuanced understanding of university excellence”.

By supporting More Than Our Rank, it aims to foster “open and honest discussions about issues that may challenge traditional practices and models in place at our member universities”.

Founded in 1985, the group is an association of long-established European universities including the University of Bologna in Italy, Trinity College Dublin (pictured) in Ireland and KU Leuven in Belgium.

Coimbra said that some of its members had already signed up to the initiative and that it was inviting the rest to consider doing so.

Its support for the initiative complements its contribution to drafting the European Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment and its participation in the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment.