Funding and Governance

As a new year of global higher education rankings is due to commence (watch out for our Subject Rankings in April), our Research Manager and Rankings guru, Baerbel Ecklemann, offers her two cents and gives us an overview of the QS World University Rankings® and the QSIU team.


One question I am frequently confronted with is ‘How much does it cost to be part of your rankings exercises? My response ‘nothing’ usually generates an aura of disbelief and surprise, followed by ‘so, how does it work then?’

With this in mind, independent expertise, integrity and passionate commitment to the global higher education sector are at the very core of our work. So, how do we establish these principles?

I invite you to read on:


The rankings are produced by the QS Intelligence Unit which is a distinct and autonomous division within QS.

Producing  a global rankings of the highest standard is an exercise that requires  considerable investment and commitment.

QS does not charge universities to participate.  In recognition that all global rankings take a particular, and somewhat limited, view of a university, QS has developed other forms of evaluation such as the QS Star ratings system which are devised to recognise excellence among a more diverse cross-section of institutions than the global rankings can handle.

These additional forms of evaluation and benchmarking are paid for services. The rankings contribute indirectly to support other QS activities, thanks to the interest they generate and the traffic they attract to the hosting website,


QS’s continuous engagement with the academic community was formalised with the establishment of a twenty person  Advisory Board.

The Advisory Board consists of international experts whose role is to guide methodology, ensure quality and promote new developments. Our diverse Advisory Board includes ; renowned statisticians, educationalists, scientists and social scientists among this distinguished group of academics, experts and university leaders, from Argentina, Australia, China, France, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, UK, USA.

Moreover, the employment contracts of the QS Intelligence Unit Team include a clause that demands staff maintain the utmost standards of independence and integrity at all times.

The penalty for breaching the company’s policy in this area includes dismissal.

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