Improves the ranking of the Italian university system in the QS World university rankings by topic 2022, with highlights including the Sapienza University in Rome, the world first in classical studies and ancient history, and the Politecnico di Milano with two departments among the top ten in the world (design and architecture). What is the reason for this slow but steady rise in rankings, and what does our university still need? We asked the rector of the Milan Polytechnic, Ferruccio Resta, chairman of Crui, the rector’s conference.
“The path of the Italian university was determined and long and also started with internal reforms. We have equipped ourselves with an external evaluation system, Anvur, which assesses the research, then we defined a clear system for evaluating the reward funds with the standard cost. So ours was a path that began a few years ago with an internal reform and an opening to the international dimension. We have worked on teaching English to attract students from all over the world, we have been aware of alliances with universities around the world, each within their own disciplines. We still need a sprint to understand what our strengths are and strengthen them further ».
Also this year, the ranking shows the precedence of Anglo-Saxon universities. What can we learn from that model?
“Ours is a completely different model than the Anglo-Saxon one, which asks some universities to run internationally and create a ruling class, while others ask to educate students more locally. This is a top-down policy. And it is a different model than the Italian or from other European realities. It is therefore difficult to compare the different systems. We do not have this system. But this should not be an excuse for not having universities among the first in the world on the rankings. I think our country should strive to have at least one Italian university in the top ten on the rankings for topics like this. That must be our goal. What can the measures be to get it? We need to understand that university education costs, represents an investment, and we need continuity in resources. We have an important moment with the NRP and with the increase in general funding provided by the current government. We want the tools in four years’ time to have important accessibility at an economic level. So it’s going to be four years where we can not go wrong. We need more international relations, more collaborations, a lot of research, because large research laboratories allow us to attract companies, international funding, allow us to be attractive to large researchers. This is the only way to trigger a virtuous path that allows us to grow ».
When you read the rankings, what was your first impression?
“I looked at the data this morning and looked at who we have in front of us. If I think about the results of the Politecnico di Milano, we have achieved results that were not predictable a few years ago. In engineering, we are now in seventh place. in Europe, but in front of us we have the English universities, the one in Zurich, and my wrists are shaking ».
Another positive fact this year is the entry into the rankings of four new universities: Silvio d’Amico National Academy of Dramatic Art in Rome, University of Calabria for Physics and Astronomy, “Gabriele d’Annunzio” in Chieti-Pescara for Medicine and Luigi Vanvitelli from Campania, again for Medicine. Beyond the specifics, ours is a system that is proving to be able to grow. On the basis of which pushes?
“As a rectors’ conference, we have for some years started a presidium of the rankings, to support all universities in dealing with them, because we need to understand what the structural and local weaknesses are and address them. And the results are coming. Our strength is a very widespread cultural and scientific infrastructure. This structure has been criticized many times, but we must understand that it is the only one that can make us cover the territorial gaps that we want to make. We are present throughout the country, but we must grow by strengthening the qualities that exist in the individual area and becoming more professional. And the attention to the ranking from Crui translates into an offer of professionalism for everyone ‘.