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The Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE) in Germany has recently developed a “Ranking of Excellent European Graduate Programmes” (CHE Excellence Ranking) covering subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. The ranking strives to highlight the research strengths of European higher education institutions as well as to instigate new ideas for improvement. It offers students orientation among more than 1 000 doctoral or master programmes and research teams. From the total of programmes listed, a second tier of some 20 European institutions has been selected for detailed analysis. The selection was based on four criteria: publications, citations, most-cited authors and Marie Curie programmes.
The CHE Excellence Ranking is not to be confused with the CHE University Ranking. The latter is a broader comparison of certain subjects with high student numbers which is limited to Germany and some of its neighbouring countries. The CHE Excellence Ranking, on the other hand, is a comprehensive European analysis looking at research in particular.
The number of rankings and the importance ascribed to them clearly state the need to understand the logic behind them. A good way to do so is to participate in the European Policy Seminar on international rankings, which will be organised by ACA on 4 April 2008.