IREG-8 Conference:

University Rankings and International Academic Relations
- a Bridging Tool or a Hindrance?

organized by: IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence
hosted by the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

in partnership with: CRUP (Council of Rectors of Portuguese Universities)
CRASP (Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools of Poland)

Venue: RectorateBuilding, Campus de Campolide Universidade NOVA de Lisboa

4-6 May 2016, Lisbon, Portugal

Status: updated 28 April 2016




All day

Arrival of participants

15.00 - 18.00

IREG Observatory Executive Committee meeting (closed session)
Venue: Hotel "Sana Malhoa", Ave. Jose Malhoa 8

19.30 - 21.30

Welcome Reception
Venue: Hotel "Sana Malhoa", Ave. Jose Malhoa 8



8:00 - 9:00

Registration and welcome coffee

9:00 - 9:30

Opening Session


  • Jan Sadlak, President of IREG Observatory
  • António Rendas, Rector, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
  • João Queiroz, Director-General of Higher Education, Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Portugal
  • António M. Cunha, President of the Portuguese Rectors Council (CRUP)
  • Wiesław Banyś, President of Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools of Poland (CRASP)
9:30 - 10:00

Keynote speech

  • Marco Antonio Zago, Rector, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
    The Quality of Higher Education: Rankings, Internationalization and Beyond
10:00 - 11.30

Session I: The Impact of Rankings on Internationalization
Rationale of the session:

Internationalization has been a major trend in higher education for the past few decades. Ever since the first release of Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Ranking) in 2003, global university rankings have transformed higher education of the world. Universities worldwide have become open to international comparison, which in turn has promoted internationalization of higher education in many ways and aspects. Speakers to be invited by the organizer or selected from submissions will be experts on the study of the impacts of rankings on the internationalization of higher education in the world.

Chair: Liu Nian Cai, Dean, Graduate School of Education Shanghai Jiao Tong University;
Vice-president of IREG Observatory, China


  • Simon Marginson, Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education, UCL Institute of London, United Kingdom: Global university ranking and performance improvement (abstract in pdf)
  • Hans de Wit, Director of the Center for International Higher Education, Boston College, United States:
    The Impact of Rankings on Internationalization (abstract in pdf)
  • Alberto Zigoni, Senior Consultant, Research Intelligence, Elsevier: International Collaboration of Research, The Netherlands
11:30 - 12:00

Coffee break

12:00 - 13:30

Session II: Reflections of Internationalization in Rankings
Rationale of the session:

Internationalization, along research, teaching and innovation, constitutes one of the classic groups of indicator used in most global and national rankings. It is usually measured by the percentage of students and academic staff with foreign passports, international cooperation and joint research. The kind of indicators used depend on what the concept of internationalization, the methodology of a particular ranking is based upon.

The session will review existing concepts of internationalization in the context of ranking indicators. We will analyse indicators used by main global and national rankings. We will also discuss misunderstandings and pitfalls connected with indicators of internationalization, and will try to answer, for example, if internationalization measured by the number of international students is indeed a sufficient prove of the quality of an institution? Should we view the joint research as a value in itself considering the fact that the results of the research are measured, anyway, as publications and citations? We will also discuss possible new internationalization indicators that will be free of allegation of being biased towards Anglo-Saxon universities.

To speak at the session, we will invite authors of rankings that use indicators based on internationalization, analysts and representatives of universities with internationalization high on their strategy agenda.

Chair: Waldemar Siwiński, President, Perspektywy Education Foundation, Vice-president of IREG Observatory, Poland


  • Markus Laitinen, Vice President, European Association of International Education (EAIE); University of Helsinki, Finland: Internationalisation through the rankings looking glass
  • Gero Federkeil, Coordinator, U-Multirank, Centre for Higher Education (CHE); Vice-President, IREG Observatory; Solveig Gleser, Project manager, U-Multirank, CHE, Germany: Measuring the international orientation of universities in rankings (abstract in pdf)
  • Alexei Falaleev, Head, Expert Support Department, Project Office Coordinator, Russian Academic, Excellence Project 5-100, Russian Federation: Internationalization in rankings: some obvious measurement faults and ways to fix them
13:30 - 14:30


14:30 – 14:35

Opening of poster session

14:35 - 14:45

Special plenary presentation: Euiho Suh, President, University Ranking Forum in Korea (URFK): New ranking initiative in the Republic of Korea (abstract in pdf)

14:45 - 16:15

Session III: Rankings and Internationalization in Latin America
Rationale of the session:

The role of rankings in Latin America has specificities that need to be taken into account related to the fact that national policies are acting on a diversified scene, from country to country. Issues such as the governance models, the relations between public and private institutions, the involvement of transnational actors and the diversity of the students markets are examples of additional factors that contribute to the complexity of the situation. Another issue that needs to be considered, within each national context, is the potential social and political instability of some countries which may have deleterious effects on the continuity of policies.

The session will present the perspectives of senior academic managers from Latin America on the role of rankings in the region and also on the importance of benchmarking, based on rankings, for the development of their institutions in teaching, research and in the relations with the community. The role of rankings in internationalization of the institutions will also be addressed.

Chair: António Rendas, Rector, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Portugal


  • Marcos Fernando Balseca, representative of the Higher Council of Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Ecuador: To be or not to be ranked: is that the question for Latin American universities?
  • Gustavo García de Paredes, Rector of Universidad de Panamá, Panamá
  • Isidro Aguillo, Head of Cybermetric Lab, Spanish National Research Council, Spain:
    Open Access: Key reason for the success of Latin America universities in the Ranking Web
16:15 - 16:30

Coffee break

16:30 - 18:00

Session IV: Internationalization and Rankings: Views and Policies of Institutional Stakeholders
Rationale of the session:

Importance of internationalization and rankings is reflected and confirmed, among other things, by involvement of variety of institutional stakeholders. This session will attempt to bring about experience and views upon the methodological approaches and practices for selection and implementation of activities in which, directly or indirectly, “rankings” are taken into consideration. Speakers to be invited for this session will be representatives of organizers and policy makers involved in formulation and/or implementation of activities under agenda of “internationalization”, such as; Programme Erasmus+, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), l'Agence CampusFrance, the Institute of International, the ”Study in Poland” Initiative of the Perspektywy Education Foundation, and the Kazakh Bolashak Programme/the Bolashak International Scholarship.

Chair: Jan Sadlak, President of IREG Observatory


  • Hari Purwanto, Expert Staff to Minister of Research, Technology, and Higher Education, Indonesia (abstract in pdf)
  • Gani Nygymetov, President, the Bolashak International Scholarship Programme, Ministry of Education and Science, Kazakhstan
  • Bianka Siwinska, Executive Director, Perspektywy Education Foundation, Poland: How rankings can stimulate the internationalization of higher education - Polish case study
18:00 - 19:00

Poster Session: New Voices on Internationalization and Rankings


Departure of busses (pick-up at Sana Malhoa Hotel)


Conference Gala Dinner
Venue: Espaco Lisboa -



9:00 - 11:00

Session V: New Developments in Rankings and Academic Excellence
Rationale of the session:

During the last years a number of new rankings have evolved – both national and international. At the same time they introduced new methodologies, perspectives and indicators to rankings. While the major international and national rankings have already been presented at IREG conferences this session will give floor to new initiatives which have been developed in recent years. This can include new approaches to measuring research excellence which has been in the foreground of major international rankings, but also new initiatives focusing for example on teaching and learning, employability and other aspects of performance of universities.

Chair: Gero Federkeil, Manager in charge of Rankings, CHE – Centre for Higher Education, Vice-president of IREG Observatory, Germany


  • Robert Tijssen, CWTS Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University, The Netherlands
    Leiden Ranking 2016: introducing the next level (abstract in pdf)
  • Laurent Dupasquier, Emerging, Paris, France:
    Emerging Global Employability University Survey and Ranking (abstract in pdf)
  • Magdalena Fonseca, Secretary General, Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education - A3ES, Assistant Professor at the University of Porto (Portugal) and Mark Frederiks, Coordinator ECA, European Consortium for Accreditation in higher education, The Netherlands:
    Assessing the Quality of Internationalisation: Experiences with the ECA Certificate (abstract in pdf)
  • Riri Fitri Sari, University of Indonesia:
    The UI Green Metric Ranking (abstract in pdf)
11:00 - 11:30

Coffee break

11:30 - 13:00

Panel Discussion: The Future of Internationalization and Rankings
Chair: Maria Helena Nazaré, Rector of the University of Aveiro [2002-2010], President of EUA – European University Association [2012-2015], Portugal


  • Stanislaw Kistryn, Vice-rector, the Jagiellonian University, Poland
  • Simon Marginson, Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education, Institute of Education, UCL, United Kingdom
  • Ben Sowter, Head of Division, QS Intelligence Unit, United Kingdom
  • Mikhail Strikhanov, Rector, National Research Nuclear University "MEPhI", Russian Federation
13:00 - 14:00

Final Session

Moderator: Jan Sadlak, President of IREG Observatory

  • Special Guest: Hassan Al-Derham, President, Qatar University: Invitation to IREG Forum 2017
  • Final keynote: Jamil Salmi, Global Tertiary Education Expert: Internationalization and Excellence Strategies: Is it Working?
14:00 - 15:00

Farewell lunch

15:15 - 17:00

IREG Observatory General Assembly (closed session)



Whole day:

Optional tourist program

Whole day:

Departure of participants




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