40 Countries Represented at the QS Middle East and Africa Professional Leaders in Education Conference

MApleBy John O’Leary

More than 300 academics and administrators from 40 countries attended the biggest-ever Middle East and Africa Professional Leaders in Education (QS-MAPLE) conference in Abu Dhabi this month. The proceedings were streamed live to 30 countries.

Over 100 of the delegates stayed on for a separate consultation the following day on plans for a new QS ranking of universities in the Arab World. Debate centred on whether the ranking should cover only Arab countries or the whole of the Middle East. But there were a number of proposals on the measures to be used in the exercise and for sources of data to ensure the widest possible coverage of research in Arabic.

The session, which took place at Khalifa University of Science and Technology, followed two days of discussion and networking in the main conference. The university, founded in 2007 with a strong research brief, was one of the two main sponsors of QS-MAPLE, with the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

Among the plenary speakers was Professor Sultan Orabi, Secretary General of the Association of Arab Universities, who appealed for stronger investment in the region’s higher education systems and more autonomy for its universities. He said that talented academics were often denied promotion in favour of longer-serving colleagues and paid too little to prevent them joining the brain drain.

Almost a third of qualified graduates were leaving for Western countries, he said, half of them trained doctors. Instability in the region since the ‘Arab Spring’ had accelerated the process. Universities could only reach their full potential with political stability and better salaries and incentives.

The conference saw the award of two scholarships to two students from Khalifa University. Derek Bastienne, who is studying aerospace engineering, and Abdul Rahman, an undergraduate in mechanical engineering, received $6,000 from the QS Education Trust. The trust uses the surplus from delegates’ fees at QS conferences for scholarships and other philanthropic activities.

There was also a new series of QS Asia Creative Awards for university website and marketing materials, won by Dar Al-Hekma University, in Saudi Arabia; Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore, and the University of Newcastle, Australia. At the same session, the University of Malaya was awarded 5 QS Stars, University of Malaysia Perlis 3 Stars; and the University of Babylon, in Iraq, 2 Stars.

Next year’s conference will be in May 2015 in Doha, with Qatar University as the host institution. Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa will have their own conference in Rwanda later in the year.


University College London to host IREG-7 conference

By Martin Ince

The IREG-7 conference in London, organised by QS and its partner organisations, is now only a few weeks away. It will be held at University College London, the fourth-ranked institution in the World University Rankings.

The theme for this conference is Employability and Academic Rankings, although there will be sessions on a full range of rankings topics.

To help us think about the link between university rankings and graduate employability in the global market, we have a distinguished panel of speakers from employers including Airbus, Siemens and others. Contributors from universities, and external observers from bodies such as the World Bank, will look at employability and skills as a new measure of higher education performance. This issue has emerged in recent year as a major concern for universities around the world.

There are also to be strong sessions on current and future rankings systems, globally and increasingly regionally, for example in the Middle East and the BRICS nations. An especially strong set of presentations will look at developments in Russia and Eastern Europe. In addition, the QS Asian University Rankings for 2014 will be released on May 13, immediately before the opening of the conference.

We very much hope to see you at IREG-7. The full programme is here and you can register here.




Reimagining Education: Wharton and QS join forces to identify innovation in higher education teaching

By Martin Ince

What does the world’s most innovative higher education teaching look like in 2013? And how can it be brought to a wider student audience?

QS is aiming to answer this question, in collaboration with the Wharton School of Pennsylvania University, one of the world’s best-reputed business schools.

The two organisations are launching a unique competition, Reimagine Education, to find new approaches to teaching that meet the needs of today’s hyper-connected and demanding students.

Jerry Wind, director of the SEI Centre for Advanced Studies in Management at Wharton, is a member of the Academic Advisory Board for the QS World University Rankings, and Reimagining Education was his idea. He says that despite innovations such as MOOCs or the Khan Academy’s bite-sized learning modules, even the most prestigious of universities tend to rely on top-down and traditional approaches to teaching, with too little regard for the learning that might result.

He adds that new approaches to learning are also needed because of the growing diversity of the student body. They can be of almost any age, and their motivations for study might be anywhere on the spectrum from professional advancement to the pure love of knowledge.

Reimagining Education is intended to recognise educators who have thought of new approaches to pedagogy in higher education. We are looking for novel teaching with demonstrable results in terms of improved learning.

The distinguished judging panel for Reimagine Education will award prizes for distance, presence and mixed forms of learning. One of these three will also be the overall winner. There may also be awards, if entries of sufficient merit come in, for the best innovative pedagogy in each of the five faculty areas of the QS rankings: the natural sciences, the social sciences including business, biomedicine, technology and engineering, and the arts and humanities. There may be further prizes too, maybe on a regional basis.

The first Reimagine Education prizes will be awarded at a major conference on innovative pedagogies which we are holding at the Wharton School on December 8-10. Professor Wind intends it to be the first activity of many for spreading new practice in higher education learning.

Full details of the competition, the judges, the judging criteria and the thinking that lies behind the idea are at http://reimagine-education.com. Entries have to be submitted by the end of August. Please do think of entering, and encourage others to do so.



IREG-7 Conference in London


If you care about global higher education, London is the place to be in May this year. The IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence is working with QS to hold the IREG-7 conference at University College, London on 14-16 May, bringing the world’s top rankings event to its fourth-ranked university.

Like previous IREG Observatory conferences, this one has a specific focus, this time on the connection between academic ranking and graduate employability. We know that the desire for a well-paid job is the main reason many students go to university, and that this applies with special force to internationally-mobile students, the principal audience for world university rankings. This is one reason why the QS rankings methodology involves an extensive global survey of where international employers like to recruit graduates.

The full programme for IREG-7 is available here. The speakers come from 20 countries with a full range of university systems and approaches. Most are based in higher education, but there are also employers such as Siemens, and independent observers of higher education and labour markets. The discussions will have a particular focus on the links between employability and rankings, and on the growing pressure on universities around the world to expand the employability of their graduates.

For QS, IREG-7 forms part of the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the World University Rankings, which were published for the first time in September 2004.

So the programme will naturally include briefings on the latest rankings developments, including new international rankings and the use made of existing rankings systems by universities around the world. All the main rankings organisations will be speaking, and a particular highlight will be the first presentation of some initial results from the EU’s U-Multirank project.

We very much hope to see you in London in May. Sign up here  for IREG-7.


QS attended International Conference on MOOCs

On 28 January 2014, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director of QS Intelligence Unit was invited to attend a major international conference in London with senior education leaders around the world to have a discussion on the future of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

This conference is organised by The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, University of London International Programmes, and Leadership Foundation on Higher Education’s titled ‘MOOCs: What we have learned, emerging themes and what next’, in the Senate House of University of London, UK.


(Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, UK Open University gave the keynote speech at ‘MOOCs: What we have learned, emerging themes and what next’, in the Senate House of University of London, UK.)

Some of the most influential speakers on MOOCs have confirmed to speak at this high profile conference, including:

Confirmed speakers:

· Professor Sir Adrian Smith, Vice-Chancellor, University of London

· Tim Gore OBE, Director of Global Networks and Communities, University of London International Programmes

· Dr William Lawton, Director, Observatory on Borderless Higher Education

· Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities & Science, Minister for Universities & Science, Department for Business, Innovations and Skills

· Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, UK Open University

· Professor Jenny Hamilton, Director, University of London Undergraduate Laws Programme

· Jon Harman, Learning Design & Media Director, College of Law

· Professor Stephen Brown, Professor of Learning Technologies, De Montfort University

· Professor Neil Morris, Chair of Educational Technology, University of Leeds

· Professor Fred Mulder, UNESCO Chair on Open Learning

· Michael Gaebel, Head of Unit, HE Policy, European University Association

· Professor Dinesh Singh, Vice-Chancellor, University of Delhi

· David Lock, Director of International Projects, Leadership Foundation

· Dr Mark Pegg, Chief Executive, Leadership Foundation

· Professor Daphne Koller, Chief Executive, Coursera [via video]

· Will Archer, Chief Executive, i-graduate

· Simon Nelson, CEO, FutureLearn

· Tom Flynn, Vice-President Education, University of Bristol Students’ Union

· Professor Jeff Haywood, Vice Principal Knowledge Management, University of Edinburgh

· Michael Kerrison, Director of Academic Development, University of London International Programmes

· Michel Bernard, Universities Relations Manager, Google

· Stephen Haggard, Education Consultant

· Dr Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive, Association of Learning Technology

· Marielle van der Meer, Minerva Project

· Benjamin Barbon, Reader in English Literature and Digital Education

During the opening session of the conference when Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, UK Open University gave the keynote speech, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit asked Martin a question on if there has been any research done properly globally on how employers see the future and values of the MOOCs development globally. Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, UK Open University said Christina asked a great question because currently around the world, most of the empirical research on MOOCs are usually from the views from universities. There s a gap to start to engage employers in this important process.

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang also talked to and met other senior leaders of the conference and discussed potential opportunities for collaborations.


(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit asked Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, UK Open University a question on if there has been any research done properly globally on how employers see the future and values of the MOOCs development globally. )


(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit talked to old friend Tim Gore OBE, Director of Global Networks and Communities, University of London International Programmes on the opportunity to work closely on promoting on-line education globally)

Christina with Google UK Director

(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang and David Black, Director of Google UK talked about the possibility of participating in QS Global Employer Survey, as well as enjoyed an interesting discussion about the rise of WeChat around the world and reaction from Google about this booming mobile phone based app. )

Denish 1

(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Professor Dinesh Singh, Vice Chancellor and Professor of Mathematics on a discussion of the MOOCs development in India.)


(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Professor Fred Mulder, UNESCO Chair on Open Learning and had a discussion about getting QS involved in UNESCO’s work on opening learning)

Image courtesy of Supertrooper_FreeDigitalPhotos.net

IREG-7 Call for papers

The IREG-7 Conference will be held on 14-16th May 2014 at University College London and this year the theme centres on Employability. However, the IREG conference plays an important role in facilitating the discussion and debate around academic rankings in general. As such the programme is designed to emphasize employability but also explore other trends and developments and how they influence, or are influenced by academic rankings.

The first session will feature employers’ views in panel form, but for the remaining sessions the IREG-7 Programme Committee would like to invite you to submit papers in tune with the identified themes of the six other sessions:

Read more


IREG-7 Conference 14-16 May 2014

The IREG-7 Conference organized by IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence and QS Intelligence Unit will be held in University College London, United Kingdom. The theme will be Employability and Academic Rankings – Reflections and Impacts:

What does the average student go to university for? By far the most substantial subsequent destination is the world of work. A job. Whilst statistics suggest that a university degree is still, on average, a ticket to better job and a better salary, with the massification of global higher education it has become a hirers’ market and employers are beginning to expect and even demand that graduates are more than their degree certificate. As the cost of higher education escalates around the world, students are turning to their universities expecting to be equipped with the skills employers are seeking.

Students look to universities to get employed and rankings to help them choose a university, employers look to universities to provide work-ready graduates and to rankings to help them identify where to find them.

Programme: Click here to see the IREG-7 Programme.

The registration fee includes the Welcome Reception, Conference Gala Diner, coffee breaks and lunch on Thursday 15th May.

If you want your institution to be featured as a key partner please contact Jason Newman for sponsorship opportunities: jason@qs.com

Practical information:

When: 14-16th May 2014
Where: University College London, United Kingdom
Registration fee: IREG members – 250€ – full rate 475€.


To attend and find more information, please register now to enjoy the early bird rate (valid until 31st December 2013).


Gold sponsor: qatar-university-landscape-logo-lo-res

Regional sponsors:

AUT Intl Logo for promoUniversityOfWaterloo_logo_horiz_rgb





QS Rankosium: Global rankings – a detailed comparison at QS-APPLE 2013

The QS Rankosium workshop will take place at the QS Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education – QS-APPLE – is the prime conference and exhibition for international educators in Asia, Europe, America and Australia.

The 9th QS-APPLE will carry on the well-established QS tradition of improving international recognition and globalisation of Asia-Pacific universities, which reinforces its mission to help build world-class universities for regional communities through global partnership and collaboration. As a leading international higher education event, it will continue to improve and evolve in response to participants’ changing needs and in anticipation of new trends in this important sector. The engaging conference programme reflects our vision of supporting the internationalisation of Asia Pacific universities by providing valuable opportunities for networking, exchanging best practices, and discussing recent developments in higher education in this dynamic region.


Conference & Exhibition: October 30 – November 1
(Wednesday – Friday)

Sungkyunkwan University Campus, Seoul, Korea

Program on Wednesday 30th and Thursday 31st October including parallel session.

Program of the QS Rankosium workshop on Friday 1st November 2013:

14:00 Opening address

  • Mandy Mok, Managing Director, QS Asia

14:05 Keynote address

  • From domestic to global, a brief history of university rankings and their impact, John O’Leary, Times Good University Guide (UK) and Executive Advisory Board Member (QS World University Rankings®)

14:25 PANEL 1 – Driving Performance

  • Deriving focus: identifying and establishing centres of excellence, Maxim Khomyakov, Vice-Rector (International Affairs), URAL FEDERAL UNIVERSITY
  • Establishing and using KPIs to convert strategy into actionable tactics, Michael Fung, Director of Planning and Institutional Research, HONG KONG UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
  • Research Measurement Impact: Transformation of behaviour and culture in a university environment, Michael Khor, Director, Research Support Office and Bibliometrics Analysis, NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

15:15 Measuring Progress: Exclusive analysis

  • Global rankings – a detailed comparison, Ben Sowter, Head of Division, QS INTELLIGENCE UNIT

15:45 Coffee break

16:00 PANEL 2 – Measuring Progress

  • Choose your poison carefully: leveraging rankings without selling your institution’s soul, Kevin Downing, Director (Knowledge Enterprise Analysis), CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
  • Staying on top of the world, Robert Partridge, Head of the International Office, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON

16:50 PANEL 3 – Attracting Recognition

  • Driving and leading the national brand – raising awareness of a new frontier, Mukash Burkitbayev, First Vice-Rector, AL-FARABI KAZAKH NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
  • Driving reputation – how to make the world take notice, Jun Young Kim, President, SUNGKYUNKWAN UNIVERSITY

17:40 Q&A Session – All panellists and speakers

18:00 End

More information and registration on the QS APPLE website.

Sustainability workshop Italy_21 Oct 2013_web banner

Sustainability in University Rankings workshop in Italy

QS is co-organizing with Ca’ Foscari University of Venice a complimentary workshop about Sustainability in University Rankings on Monday 21st October 2013 from 9am. It is complimentary to attend and lunch is provided by the university.

This initiative aims to include these indicators in order to spread a sustainable perspective into all academic institutions. Universities are playing a key role in the education of a future generation of sustainable leaders and they can contribute to create and spread sustainable behaviours. Many academic institutions are strongly committed in sustainability and have already integrated it in their organisations and educational programs. But we need to spread the relevance of this issue also to the others.

There are various rankings specialised in sustainability, but an integration of sustainable indicators into traditional rankings will stimulate a serious awareness of this issue and a consequently inclusion of sustainability into all universities agenda.

With this workshop we want to share ideas and motivations with relevant and authoritative players of the rating systems and with experts in sustainability and sustainability rankings: we will have the chance to discuss and select the possible kit of indicators to be included.

Who can attend? Anybody interested the integration of sustainability indicators into University Rankings


09:00 – 09:30 Registration

09:30 – 09:45 Opening del Rettore

09:45- 11.30 Session 1

  • Opening, Rector Carlo Carraro
  • Professor Chiara Mio, Rector’s Delegate on Environmental Sustainability and University Social Responsability
  • Mr. Ben Sowter – Head of Division Intelligence Unit of QS World University Ranking
  • Mr. Adam Tyson – Head of Unit Higher Education, DG Education and Culture, European Commission
  • Professor Stefano Paleari, Deputy Chairman of EUA – European University Association
  • Mr. Philippe Pypaert – Senior Programme Specialist UNESCO
  • Mr. Jonas Heartle, Head, PRME Secretariat [in teleconference]

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee Break

11.30 – 13:30 Session 2

  • Professor Riri Fitri Sari – Chairperson of UI GreenMetric World University Ranking
  • Mrs. Lisa McNeilly – Director of Sustainability University of California, Berkeley
  • Professor Jiang Wu – Vice Dean, Tongji University and Dean of UNEP-Tongji Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development
  • Mr. Mahesh Pradhan – GUPES – Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability [in teleconference]

13:30 – 15:00 Lunch break

15:00 – 18:00 – Work session with

  • Mr Jean-Christophe Carteron – CSR Director KEDGE Business Scholl, and Director of the platform for sustainability performance in Education

18:00 – Closing

20:30 – Guided tour at St. Mark’s Basilica*

Register here.

EAIE 2013

Magic triangle: partnerships between universities, employers and alumni

I attended this session at the EAIE Conference in Istanbul in September 2013 and would like to share the highlights of this session.

Edyta Lachowicz Santos from University of Economics in Katowice in Poland chaired the session and brought her expertise on what makes a student employable. Education, soft skills, ability to navigate through recruitment process, international experience, practical skills gained through internships for example and lifelong learning for professional and personal development. Read more