St Petersburg University has retained its high positions in the oldest and one of the most respected global university rankings – the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2021. St Petersburg University has entered the 301–400 group again. Only Lomonosov Moscow State University has a higher place among Russian higher education institutions. 

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2021

Initially, ARWU was created by Shanghai Jiao Tong University – hence its other name the Shanghai Ranking. St Petersburg University appeared in the ranking when it was first compiled, in 2003, and was listed among the top 500 world universities.  Since then, the University has gradually been improving its positions.

This year, in addition to St Petersburg University and Lomonosov Moscow State University, ARWU includes seven more Russian institutions that are ranked 500 and below. Among them are: the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (the 501–600 group); the Higher School of Economics (the 601–700 group); Novosibirsk State University (the 601–700 group); MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute); and others. Compared to last year, three Russian universities have dropped out of the ranking: the National University of Science and Technology MISiS; Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University; and ITMO University.

Today's ranking compilers, ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, scrutinise the performance of more than 2,000 universities, and only half of them make the ranking list. ARWU uses six objective indicators to rank world universities. These are: the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals; number of highly cited researchers; number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science; number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index; and per capita performance of a university.

For reference: the ARWU subject ranking assesses the achievements of universities in 52 disciplines (areas of research and educational activities). St Petersburg University is listed among the top 100 world universities in ‘Automation and Control’ (the 51-75 group) and in ‘Mathematics’ (the 101-150 group).

These achievements show how high the position of the mathematical school of St Petersburg and St Petersburg University is not only in Russia, but throughout the world. It should be noted that it is St Petersburg that will host the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in 2022.  It is the most important meeting in the area of fundamental and applied mathematics worldwide. The opening ceremony of the congress announces the names of the winners of the Fields Medal, which is comparable in importance to the Nobel Prize.

The ICM organising committees include: Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University; Stanislav Smirnov, Head of the Chebyshev Laboratory, Fields medallist and Deputy Co-Chair of the Executive Organising Committee of the Congress; and other representatives of St Petersburg University.