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IREG Forum 2017:

Excellence as the University Driving Force

organized by: IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence and Qatar University

12-14 March 2017, Doha, Qatar
[venue: University Library, Campus of Qatar University]
See map

As of 6 March 2017


Sunday, 12 March


Executive Committee of IREG Observatory [closed meeting]

[venue: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel]


Welcome Reception

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel West Bay Lagoon, Doha, Qatar


Monday, 13 March




Opening Session: Welcome and opening remarks followed by keynote address

  • Jan Sadlak, President of IREG Observatory
  • Hassan Rashid Al-Derham, President of Qatar University

Keynote Speakers:

  • HE Ibrahim Al-Ibrahim, Board member at Qatar University and Economic Advisor for H.H. the Emir of Qatar at Amiri Diwan:
    Excellence in Higher Education and its role in Qatar National Vision 2030
  • Francisco Marmolejo, Lead, Global Solutions Group on Tertiary Education and Lead Education Specialist for India, The World Bank:
    Benefits and excesses in the use of rankings

First Session: Excellence as a "set of standards and guidance" for functioning and development of the university

Chair: Mukash Burkitbayev, First Vice-Rector, Al-Farbi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan


  • Andy Martin, Founder and Director of Firetail Limited, United Kingdom:
    Challenge from Mid-Ranking Universities: Findings of Firetail Report - Class of 2030: Which Universities Will Rise – And How Will They Do It?
  • Ying Cheng, Center for World-Class Universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China:
    How is Ranking Adopted in Setting WCU Policies in China?
  • Shadi Awwad, Elsevier Regional Solutions Manager – Turkey, Middle East and Central Asia Scientific Research in the Arab World: An internal look and a comparative analysis with the rest of the world



Coffee Break


Second Session: Excellence as “a framework” for teaching and organization of studies in the context of the needs of a country or a region

Chair: Marko Marhl, Professor, Faculty of Education & Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor, Member of the Executive Committee of IREG Observatory, Slovenia


  • Narimane Hadj-Hamou, Chief Executive Officer, CLIKS – Center for Learning Innovations & Customized Knowledge Solutions, United Arab Emirates: Redefining Excellence for Higher Education in the Arab Region: Strategies and Lessons Learned
  • Marek Kwiek, Director, Center for Public Policy Studies; Chairholder, UNESCO Chair in Institutional Research and Higher Education Policy, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan, Poland: University Rankings and the Competition for Prestige, Excellence, and Funding - in the Context of Central Europe and Its Reform Agendas
  • R. Lizzie Wahab, International Education Expert and former AVP at the University of New Haven, USA: Education Modalities: challenges of international frameworks for non-traditional learning environments in MENA countries





Poster session open


Third Session: Excellence in the context of cultural and economic transformations

Chair: António Rendas, Rector, University NOVA of Lisbon, Portugal


  • Karima Mariama-Arthur, Founder and CEO, WordSmithRapport, USA:
    Why Excellence Is the Best Place to Begin: The Transformative Power of Effective Leadership In Professional Contexts
  • Luiz Costa, Academic Vice Rector of IESB University, Former Vice-Minister of Education and former Rector of Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil:
    New Approach in Meeting Challenges of Wider Access and Pursuing Excellence in Brazilian Higher Education
  • Nico Jooste, President, International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA); Senior Director, International Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa:
    Excellence and world class: are university rankings helpful for societies in transition?



Coffee Break


Fourth Session: Principles of “excellence” in various academic disciplines and institutional settings

Chair: Khaled AL-Rasheid, Professor and Director of the Distinguished Scientist Fellowship Program, College of Science, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia


  • N.V. Varghese, Director, Centre for Policy Research in Higher Education (CPRHE), India:
    Ranking System Framework for Higher Educational Institutions of India – Empowering Tool for Enhancement of Quality
  • David Pendlebury, Senior Analyst, Clarivate Analytics, formerly the IP&Science business of Thomson Reuters, United States:
    Bibliometric Indicators of Research Excellence: Their Uses and Limitations
  • Amin Noaman, Vice-president for development, King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Saudi Arabia:
    Universties’ commitment to excellence in knowledge transfer and social entrepreneurship: KAU case study



Conference Gala Dinner

Venue: The Ritz-Carlton West Bay Lagoon, Doha, Qatar


Tuesday, 14 March


Fifth Session: International rankings and their regional variations: Experience of the Arab Region rankings [and beyond]

Chair: Mazen Hasna, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Qatar University

Speakers from invited global and regional ranking organizations:

  • Ben Sowter, Head of the QS Intelligence United Kingdom [QS World University Rankings];
  • Murat Perit Cakir, Middle East Technical University, Turkey [URAP - University Ranking by Academic Performance].
  • Richard Holmes, University Ranking Watch, International Rankings and the Assessment of Teaching: A Regional Perspective



Coffee Break


Sixth Session: New rankings and rankings-related initiatives

Chair: Daniel Guhr, Managing Director, The Illuminate Consulting Group, USA


  • Waldemar Siwiński, President, Perspektywy Education Foundation, Vice-President of IREG Observatory, Poland:
    IREG Inventory of International Rankings
  • Xuejun (Snow) Wang, Ranking Manager, Shanghai Ranking Consultancy Ltd, China:
    Shanghairanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2016: New Methodological Elements
  • Riri Fitri Sari, Professor, Chairperson of UI GreenMetric Rankings of World Universities, University of Indonesia:
    Trends in Sustainable Universities: 2016 UI GreenMetric World University Rankings Report

Invitation to IREG-9 Conference: presentation from the host institution

Closing remarks


General Assembly of IREG Observatory
[for members of IREG the organization]


qatar university logo organizers


qlogo elsevier


News from IREG Members

The worldwide ranking UI GreenMetric Workshop in Bologna

This Bologna workshop is aimed to highlight the commitment of Italian universities towards a sustainable 360° approach. UI GM Chairperson, Riri Fitri Sari, will showcase the ranking’s structure and indicators in details. Italian participants are warmly invited to ask questions and raise issues concerning the specificity of the Italian universities to fit into the UI GreenMetric ranking. The Alma Mater Studiorum assumes the role of National Network Hub for UI GM in the framework of this event that will also host experts from RUS (Rete delle Università per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile).

Ranking conference in Warsaw

Polish universities feel, they deserve a better place in international rankings. To discuss what can and should be done to improve the quality of research, rectors of best universities in the country gathered 1-2 December in Warsaw at the conference “Polish Universities in International Perspective – Rankings and Strategic Management of University” organized by Perspektywy Education Foundation jointly with the Conference of Rectors (CRASP) and Polish Accreditation Commission (PAC).

Conference on Universities’ Reputation

Spanish Universidad de Navarra organizes the International Conference BUILDING UNIVERSITIES' REPUTATION Understanding the Student Perspective – Key to a Reputation Strategy, Pamplona, Spain 30-31 March 2017.

Report on Activities of IREG Observatory 2015-1016

Dr. Jan Sadlak, President of IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence at the General Assembly held in Lisbon on 6 May 2016 presented a detailed report on activities of the organization, the President and members of the Executive Committee in the period: May 2015 – May 2016.

You may ready the report HERE.

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