The university failed to make the top 600 in the overall 2015 world rankings, but nevertheless achieved a score of 99.9 out of 100 in the international outlook metric, displacing École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) from the top spot for the first time in six years.
The Swiss institution came in fourth, following the University of Luxembourg and the University of Hong Kong.
The ranking’s international outlook metric takes into account three equally-weighted elements: the international to domestic student ratio; international to domestic staff ratio; and international collaboration, based on the proportion of institutions’ research papers with at least one international co-author.
“We are keen to use our resources to give deeper, richer insights into the global higher education landscape beyond the rankings”
The international metric was one of 13 used to rank universities in September’s league table, and makes up just 7.5% of a university’s overall score.
“As THE sits on an extraordinary rich wealth of data, we are keen to use our resources to give deeper, richer insights into the global higher education landscape beyond the rankings,” the rankings’ editor, Phil Baty, told The PIE News.
“We are also keen to encourage the users of rankings to drill down beneath the overall, and of course rather crude, composite scores.”
“There’s a lot to be learned about the world’s best universities beneath the overall ranking list.”
Qatar University, whose research publications have climbed 246% in the last five years, is the only GCC university to make the top 200 list.
The Qatar National Research Fund has encouraged international collaboration and “could be said to be the main reason why Qatar University tops the list of the most international universities”, according to the university’s scholarships and partnerships director, Cesar Wazen.
“The efforts of this Middle Eastern country to invest its wealth into education and research are finally bringing rewards in the most prestigious and comprehensive of ranking systems,” he wrote in THE.
Switzerland remains the most-represented country in the top 10, with four institutions lauded for their international outlook.
UK institutions, however, dominate overall, accounting for almost a third (64) of the top 200 positions, led by Imperial College London in 10th place, while Australian universities claim 24.
“Of course, having lots of international students and staff, and lots of international research collaboration is not in itself indicative of excellence, but it provides a powerful insight into the shape and profile of the world’s leading institutions, and raises lots of questions about the role of geography and resources for example, in a university’s globalisation strategy,” Baty said