POST CONFERENCE NOTE
IREG 2023 post conference note
The word “breakthrough” characterized discussion at IREG 2023 Conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (27-28 April), leading to the conclusion that nothing in the world of rankings will be the same in the coming years: “I often participate in various conferences and seminars, but I have not met such a substantive and engaged discussion for many years” observed Komiljon Karimov, first deputy minister of higher education, science and innovation of Uzbekistan.
Alex Usher of Higher Education Strategy Associates, Canada added: “One of the most interesting ranking discussions I’ve heard in years. The difference in discourse around rankings after leaving a rich country is huge – here there is much less about marketing and much more about system control/benchmarking.”
This proves again that the annual IREG conferences are the only neutral place in the world where rankers, experts & analysts of higher education and universities, often represented by rectors, can meet and engage in debate under the IREG banner. These discussions have a direct impact on the standards of world rankings.
I want to thank Ibrokhim Abdurakhmonov, minister of higher education, science, and innovations of Uzbekistan and Komiljon Karimov, first vice-minister of higher education, science, and innovation for inviting IREG Conference to Uzbekistan and creating excellent conditions for the meaningful debate.
The IREG 2023 Conference with close to 200 participants from 28 countries was hosted by the TIIAME National Research University. Much appreciation to our host, Bakhadir Mirzaev, rector of TIIAME and his excellent team.
I also want to thank the rectors: Kongratbay Sharipov of Tashkent State University of Economics, Alisher Shadmanov of Tashkent Medical Academy, Nodir Khaydarov of Tashkent State Dental Institute and Jasur Rizaev of Samarkand State Medical Academy for their generous help with the conference.
The success of the IREG 2023 was determined by keynote speakers: Prof Seeram Ramakrishna, FREng, Everest Chair, National University of Singapore, and Alex Usher, HESA, Canada; and excellent speakers: Isidro F. Aguillo, Webometrics, Spain; Ying Cheng, ShanghaiRanking, China; Bogumila Kaniewska, Rector, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland; Tom Parker, US; Gero Federkeil, CHE, Germany; Piotr Stepnowski, Rector, University of Gdansk; Marian Preda, Rector, University of Bucharest, Romania; Frans Kaiser, CHEPS, Netherlands; Mustafa Kok, Rector, METU University, Turkey; Gyorgy Fabri, ELTE University, Hungary; Ghassan Aouad, Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University, Habib M. Fardoun; Sergei Khristoliubov, QS; Riri Fitri Sari, GreenMetrics, Indonesia, Abdolbast Greede, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Libya and others.
A significant contribution to our debate was made by the team of Elsevier, a partner of the conference, headed by M’hamed el Aisati.
I want to assure you that we will continue the debate initiated at IREG 2023 in Tashkent – universities and rankers expect, and deserve it!
President of IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence
IREG 2023 Conference
Rankings and University International Exposure
26-28 April, 2023
IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence
Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of Uzbekistan
TIIAME National Research University
Tashkent State University of Economics
Tashkent State Dental Institute
Samarkand State University
TIIAME National Research University
Addres: Uzbekistan, Tashkent, 39 Kori Niyazov str.
(as of 17.04.2023)
26 April 2023 (Wednesday)
All day – Arrival of IREG Conference participants
IREG Pre-conference events
Venue: Tashkent State University of Economics, Tashkent, 49 Islam Karimov str.
16:00 – 17:00 IREG Executive Committee meeting
16:20-17:00 Elsevier Workshop “Local challenges, international impact”
- Marat Fatkhullin, Vice-President, Elsevier
- Kirill Ivanow, Research Intelligence CC, Turkey, Western & Central Asia
18:00 – 20:30 IREG Welcome reception
Venue: Campus of the Tashkent State University of Economics
27 April (Thursday)
Venue: TIIAME National Research University,
Tashkent, 39 Kori Niyazov str.
9.30 – 10.00 OPENING Session
- Bahadir Mirzaev, Rector, TIIAME National Research University, Uzbekistan
- Ibrokhim Abdurakhmonov, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Uzbekistan
- Waldemar Siwinski, President of IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence
10.00 – 10:20 Special guest
- Komiljon Karimov, First Deputy Minister, Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of Uzbekistan: – Reforms in Higher Education System of the Republic of Uzbekistan
10.20 – 11.00 Academic keynote address
Introduction: Gero Federkeil, Vice-president of IREG, Managing Director, U-Multirank, Germany
- Seeram Ramakrishna, National University of Singapore, Singapore: Where is science heading? The main challenges before today’s scientists.
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
11.30 – 12.30 FIRSTH SESSION
University and Rankings – A difficult neighborhood?
The session will be devoted to the presentation by rectors from four countries (Poland, Romania, Turkey and Uzbekistan) of their approach to including rankings in the university development strategy. The areas in which the rankings have the greatest impact on improving the quality of research, popularity among candidates for studies and the international visibility of the university will be indicated.
Chair: Thomas Parker, Senior Associate, Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington DC, United States
- Mustafa Versan KÖK, President, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
- Bogumila Kaniewska, Rector, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland
- Bahadir Mirzaev, Rector, Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers
12:30 – 12.50 Sponsor Presentation
- M’hamed Aisati, Vice President, Data and Analytical Services, Elsevier (Netherlands)
12:50 – 13:00 Photo session
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.00 – SECOND SESSION
Rankings – competition and social responsibility
Rankings are an instrument of competition. The high attention global rankings receive, is an expression of growing international competition in higher education. At the same time, they reinforce this competition by their own results. Yet, recently the social role of universities and issues co-operation have been put more in the foreground. This session discusses those issues on two levels: On a meta level, a cooperative project of German universities to monitor their performance in competitive global rankings will be presented. In the second part, the development of indicators on social inclusion by U-Multirank, and the student perspective on the social role of universities and rankings will be presented.
Chair: Gero Federkeil, Vice President of IREG Observatory, Head of U-Multirank, Germany
- Sarah Spiegel, German Rectors Conference (HRK), Germany
- Wim Gabriels, Director of Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Brussels: – The social role of universities. What students expect from rankings
- Frans Kaiser, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS), University of Twente, Netherlands: – New indicators on social responsibility and inclusion – the U-Multirank perspective
15:00 – 16:30 THIRD SESSION
The World of Rankings in difficult times
Chair of the session: Alex Usher, President, Higher Education Strategy Associates, Canada
- Ying Cheng, President & CEO, Shanghai Ranking Consultancy (Shanghai Ranking)
- Sergei Khristoliubov, Regional Director, Central Asia, QS (QS Rankings)
- Bob Morse, Chief of Data, (USN Global University Rankings) (online)
- Isidro Aguillo, Director of Webometrics, Head of Cybermetric Lab – Scimago Group, IPP-CSIC, Spain
16:30 – 16:45 Coffee break
16:45 – 18:00 FOURTH SESSION
Will ranking catch up with changing social expectations and geopolitical shifts?
Rankings entered the higher education with a bang – first at the national level (US News 1983) and then internationally (Shanghai 2003). Its have become such a powerful instrument for evaluating the quality, or prestige, of academic institutions that more and more is expected of them. But since 1983 a lot has changed in the world – from the emergence of the Internet to the rapid spread of Artificial Intelligence. Whether the rankings can capture the changes and trends, and then properly address them by including these new phenomena in methodologies? The invited speakers will tell how are they looking for a ranking answer to the ongoing changes.
Chair of the session: Piotr Stepnowski, Rector, University of Gdansk, Poland:
- Riri Fitri Sari, professor of Computer Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Chairperson of UI GreenMetric, Indonesia
- M’hamed Aisati, Vice President, Data and Analytical Services, Elsevier (Netherlands)
- Paweł Poszytek, director, National Agency of Erasmus+, Poland
- Miłosz Rojek, Head of EngiRank analytical team, Perspektywy Education Foundation, Poland
- Mahdi Amini, International Affairs Executive at Mustafa Science and Technology Foundation, Iran
19.30 – 22:00 Conference Gala Dinner
Venue: Restaurant in Tashkent (tbc)
28 April (Friday)
09.30 – 10:00 – Second Day Keynote Speaker
- Alex Usher, President, Higher Education Strategy Associates, Canada: – Breakthrough changes in global higher education and a place for modernized rankings
10:00 – 11:00 FIFTH SESSION – Regional
Uzbek universities – focus on excellent and international visibility
During the session, the latest academic achievements of leading Uzbek universities will be presented – in the context of the country development strategy.
Chair: Kongratbay Sharipov, Rector, Tashkent State University of Economics
- Alisher Usmankulov, Rector, Jizzakh Polytechnic Institute, Uzbekistan
- Abdulaziz Gulamov, Vice-Rector, Tashkent State Transport University, Uzbekistan
- Ilkhom Tukhtasinov, Rector, Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages, Uzbekistan
11.00 – 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 – 11:50 Special lecture
- Marian Preda, Rector, University of Bucharest, Romania: – The role of university networks and the EU initiative “European Universities” in strengthening international academic cooperation
11:50 – 13:00 SIXTH SESSION
The role of research in rankings
Chair: Habib Fardoun, Professor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- Ghassan Aouad, Chancellor, Abu Dhabi University, United Arab Emirates
- Bassam Badran, President, Lebanese University, Lebanon
- Gyorgy Fabri, former Vice-rector, ELTE University, Hungary
- Abdolbast Greede, Head, National Program for Enhancing the International Competitiveness of Libyan Universities, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Libya: – A Global University Ranking that Prioritizes Regional Issues
13:00 – 13.10 CLOSING Session
Chair: Bahadir Mirzaev, Rector, TIIAME National Research University, Uzbekistan
- Komiljon Karimov, First Deputy Minister, Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of Uzbekistan
- Waldemar Siwinski, President of IREG Observatory, Poland
14:00 – 15:00 IREG General Assembly
Afternoon Transfer to Samarkand
Hotel in Samarkand (tbc)
20:30 – 22.30 Reception by Rectors of Samarkand
29 April (Saturday)
Culture and history program at Samarkand (optional)
Transfer to Tashkent
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation in Uzbekistan
President, IREG Observatory, President, Perspektywy (Poland)
Founder of Perspektywy Education Foundation. Author of over 70 rankings of universities, business schools and secondary schools in Poland. Former President of the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
First Deputy Minister, Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation in Uzbekistan
Robert MorseChief Data Strategist for US News & World Report (USA)
Robert Morse is the Director of Data Research for U.S. News & World Report. He is in charge of producing the America’s Best Colleges, the America’s Best Graduate Schools and America’s Best High Schools rankings all of which are published annually by U.S. News & World Report. He takes the lead role in survey design, ranking methodology changes and higher education research.
Member of IREG Observatory Executive Committee.
Vice President Manager in Charge of Rankings, CHE-Centre for Educational Development (Germany)
He is also Managing Director at U-Multirank. Since 2000 he has been working at the CHE Centre for Higher Education Development as a project manager. His main fields of work are ranking, evaluation, quality management and performance indicators.
Seeram RamakrishnaCo-director, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative (NUSNNI), National University of Singapore, (Singapore)
Bahadir MirzaevRector, Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers (Uzbekistan)
Rector, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland)
Rector, Tashkent State University of Economics
CEO & Co-Founder at Shanghai Ranking Consultancy (China)
Alex UsherPresident, Higher Education Strategy Associates (Canada)
Alex Usher is an internationally recognized expert on higher education. He has authored numerous ground-breaking studies in higher education. In addition to his years of work on higher education in Canada, his recent works spans Asia, Europe and Africa as well.
Abdulaziz GulamovVice-Rector, Tashkent State Transport University, Uzbekistan
Rector, Jizzakh Polytechnic Institute, Uzbekistan
Rector, Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages, Uzbekistan
Regional Director, QS Quacquarelli Symonds
Over the course of his career, Sergei has held leading and senior roles in public authorities, start-ups, and Fortune 500 corporations, including Shell, Nokia, and Thomson Reuters. In 2011, he graduated from the Executive MBA programme of the London Business School.
Sergei’s professional experience includes joint projects and strategic initiatives in cooperation with ministries of education, academies of sciences, and higher education institutions all across emerging markets in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. He is an expert in university and business school rankings, scientometrics, research analytics, big data, and machine learning and a frequent speaker at conferences on higher education and scientific research.
Marian PredaRector, University of Bucharest, Romania
Rector, University of Gdansk, Poland
director, National Agency of Erasmus+, Poland
German Rectors Conference (HRK), Germany
Mustafa Versan KÖK
President, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Habib M. FardounProfessor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
Riri Fitri Sariprofessor of Computer Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Chairperson of UI GreenMetric (Indonesia)
Senior Associate, Institute for Higher Education Policy (USA)
Isidro F. AguilloEditor of Webometrics, Head of Cybermetric Lab – Scimago Group, IPP-CSIC (Spain)
Isidro F. Aguillo is the founder and editor of the journal “Cybermetrics”, the first electronic-only journal of the CSIC. He has published more than 60 papers in international journals. He was the chair or speaker at more than 400 workshops, seminars and conferences in more than 80 universities and professional societies worldwide.
M’hamed el Aisati
Vice President, Elsevier, (Netherlands)
Director of Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Brussels, Belgium
Frans KaiserCenter for Higher Education Policy Studies (CHEPS), University of Twente, Netherlands
Gyorgy FabriELTE University in Budapest, Hungary
Ghassan AouadChancellor of Abu Dhabi University, United Arab Emirates
Bassam BadranPresident of Lebanese University, Lebanon
Abdolbast GreedeHead of the National Program for Enhancing the International Competitiveness of Libyan Universities, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research Tripoli Libya
International Affairs Executive at Mustafa Science and Technology Foundation, Iran
Head of EngiRank analytics team, Perspektywy Education Foundation, Poland
The National Research University “Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers” (TIIAME) is hosting the IREG 2023 conference.
39 Kori Niyazov str.