In Search of New Tools for Assessment of UniversitiesMay 21, 2021
On May 21, 2021, "Expert" analytical center held a round-table discussion "Research and Innovation Activity in Russian Universities: 2020 Ranking Results and Development Prospects". Representatives of the academic community, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, Project 5-100 participants and representatives of other Russian universities attended this event. The key issue of the held discussion was finding new tools to evaluate quality of the universities activities while their functions are expending. The expert discussion was focused on search for proposals to change the methodologies for universities assessment used in the existing rankings.
The discussed theme is topical because of the processes that take place both in the Russian higher education and in the international scientific and educational sphere, i.e. transition from the "University 2.0" to "University 3.0" model, and in some cases to "University 4.0".
The international universities rankings drawn up at the beginning of the 21st century evaluated mainly two functions of the university: education and the development of science. At the same time, the rankings were often criticized. One of the reasons was lack of a comprehensive assessment (measurement tools) for the quality of education which could be applied to all universities in the world.
Today there are many international and national rankings that assess university effectiveness in different areas. A number of rankings already include assessment of the third university function in their methodology, i.e. technology transfer and commercialization of the developments.
Leading universities both in Russia and all over the world respond to modern challenges dynamically and become not only research and educational centers with a wide range of partnerships but also perform another significant function. They have an impact on the development of the society, regions and country, i.e. they are transformed to "Universities 4.0". There are still no adequate measurers to evaluate this fourth model although some rankings already include metrics under test that can assess the interaction between university and society. The fact that "University 4.0" has not been clearly defined by the expert community makes the situation more complicated.
Dmitry Tolmachev, Director of the "Expert" analytical center, presented to the participants of the round-table discussion the preliminary results of two Russian universities rankings developed by the "Expert" analytical center ("Expert" research department) with the methodological support of the Ural Federal University. The scientific and patent activity rankings are drawn up in accordance with the updated methodology. The change in the set of indicators shifts from the quantitative measurement to the assessment of the qualitative characteristics as follows: development of science, technology transfer and commercialization of developments are to be assessed. The obtained results can serve as a basis for benchmarking and adjusting of the university development strategies.
Boris Filippov, Head of the Project 5-100 Project Office, spoke about the main results of the Project 5-100 implementation, as well as about ambitious challenges and tasks of the new program of strategic academic leadership PRIORITY-2030. Boris Filippov highlighted that Project 5-100 participants managed not only to carry out their own qualitative transformation but also become a development driver for the entire system of the local higher education, increase its global competitiveness and promote Russian science on the world stage. The experience of Project 5-100 implementation was taken into account in the development of the new PRIORITY-2030 program. Its main goals are to increase the contribution of the Russian universities in achievement of the national development goals, balanced development of the country in all areas, ensuring availability of high-quality higher education in the regions of the Russian Federation, providing opportunities for self-realization of the talented youth.
“A university is an organization that is often difficult to be institutionalized. Implementation of changes within the tight timeline is even more challenging. Today, not all Russian universities can be defined as "University 3.0" model, which performs to educate, develop science and transfer technology, and to commercialize. But life sets higher standards. Now a modern university is moving to model 4.0, when it not only participates in the development of regions and the country as a whole, but also becomes one of the key subjects of such development,” Boris Filippov said.
The results of the 2020 subject ranking for the scientific productivity in the Russian universities (ranking of faculties), as well as the patent activity ranking (Index of inventive activity) will be published by the "Expert" analytical center on June 7, 2021.