Front runners: Munich Technical University, University of Heidelberg, University of Karlsruhe
In comparison to last year, the leading group in the latest research ranking published by the CHE (Centre for Development in Higher Education) has become smaller, comprising only eight out of 62 universities. These eight are Munich Technical University, the Universities of Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Freiburg and Stuttgart, Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University and the Universities of Göttingen and Frankfurt am Main. The research activities of universities were evaluated in a total of 16 subjects from the humanities, economics, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering. The new subjects included in the evaluation this year are mathematics, medicine and dentistry. The leading group is made up of universities with an outstanding showing in at least half of the subjects investigated. The most important criteria are external funding and the number of doctorates, publications and patent applications.
Three-quarters of the universities surveyed were able to shine in at least one subject. Although the ranking does not consider absolute results only, 16 of the universities were unable to achieve such a showing. The ranking also measures research achievement in ratio to the number of scientists and scholars on the universities' staff-list, thus ensuring that smaller universities are not disadvantaged. "The results show that research competition is hotting up," says CHE director Detlef Müller-Böling. "Top-flight universities across the board are becoming fewer, the rest of them are attempting to carve out specific profiles for themselves. More universities are developing special strengths."
The abundance of indicators drawn upon by the CHE for the research ranking makes the survey unique in Germany. 2006 is the first time that all the medical faculties in Germany have been investigated for person-related publication activities. In the science subjects, the number of inventions per university have also been used as additional information. Inquiries addressed to professors are used to gauge the reputation of a university. The results of the CHE research ranking are based on extensive surveys that make the CHE ranking the most comprehensive and detailed assessment of German-speaking universities.
The weekly newspaper Die Zeit is the CHE's media partner. In its issue dated 5 October 2006, the paper has published extracts from the results in its Wissen section. The publication is supported by the Deutsche Telekom Foundation.
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