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17 August 2021

Shanghai ranking 2021: France strengthens its position

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Since 2003, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) is an annual ranking of major world university institutions designed by a team of experts from the Jiao-Tong University of Shanghai. Out of the 2,000 institutions which scientific results are analysed, only 1,000 institutions are included in this ranking, that usually favours English-speaking institutions, and particularly American ones. The French Minister for Higher Education said after the release of the results that “the excellence of French universities and the strength of their relations with national research entities led France to keep its 3rd position worldwide, after the US and the UK”.


The University of Paris-Saclay confirms its rank at global scale


For France, the University of Paris-Saclay has managed a remarkable performance, reaching the leading position of France institutions.  In 2020, Paris-Saclay was indeed the first French university to directly join the 15 first places of the ranking of best global institutions. This year, the University of Paris-Saclay even went up one rank, reaching the 13th global rank, and the 3rd European rank.

Paris-Saclay is not the only institution to enter the Top 50, since two other French institutions are present. In the ranking, Sorbonne University went up four ranks and reached 35th position, and the PSL University (Paris Sciences and Letters) reached the 38th rank.


17 French institutions in the Top 500


Farther in this ranking is the University of Paris, an institution that took the 73th position and completes the French ranks of the Top 100, that includes four institutions in total.

Beyond, in the Top 500, between the 101th and 300th rank, seven universities implemented regions are included, such as the University of Aix-Marseille, the University of Grenoble-Alpes, the University of Strasbourg, the University of Montpellier, the Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, the University of Bordeaux or the University of Lorraine.

From rank 300 to rank 500, six additional French institutions are included: the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Lyon, the Institut Polytechnique of Paris, the Paul Sabatier – Toulouse 3 University, the University of Toulouse 1, the Côte d’Azur University and the University of Lille. And between rank 301 to 1,000, 13 additional institutions are present. In total, 30 French institutions are included this year in the Shanghai ranking 2021.


A method focused on research


To reach this internationally-acknowledged ranking, experts from the Jiao-Tong University of Shanghai used a method focusing on quantitative criteria of research, and much less the qualitative criteria, more academic in nature. The number of Nobel Prizes and Fields medals are also significantly taken into account, as the number of researchers quoted in their discipline and the number of publications in specialised reviews.

To know more: 

Shanghai ranking 2021

- Press release from the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation


Photo credit: ©Monkey Business -


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