IREG 2021 Jeddah Conference

Effects of Rankings on Community and Society

University rankings despite their diversity and sophistication still lack indicators measuring the role of universities in meeting the needs of local community and national economy. This role is especially relevant in the post pandemic time as universities are main players in the development of the knowledge economy. The IREG 2021 Conference will discuss the extent to which global rankings monitor the quality of university education outcomes and their impact on the community and the economy. Also discussed will be the influence of COVID-19 on university rankings, and relations between university rankings and internationalization.


This year, the main subject of the Conference will be enhanced by an “Invited session” on the globalization of science.


IREG 2021 Jeddah Conference
Effects of Rankings on Community and Society
15 – 16 November 2021

IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence
King Abdulaziz University




Monday, 15 November


11:00 AM OPENING video
  • Luiz Costa, President, IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence
  • Abdulrahman Obaid Al-Youbi President, King Abdulaziz University


11:15 AM – 12.15 PM First Session video

Arabic universities and their effect on the societies and communities for the transformation to better future.

Any government looks forward to the development of its society and the prosperity of its national economy. It seeks to develop plans and programs targeted at its various national sectors. Universities are main players in the development of the knowledge economy and building capacities, but despite the diversity of global university rankings and the accuracy of their measurements, these indicators are not always clear about the relationship between the rankings and their influence on the progress of industry, technology and economy. At the session representatives of leading Arab universities will discuss – in the ranking context –their institutions strive to improve quality of teaching and research in order to meet challenges facing societies in their countries.



  • Jan Sadlak, f. President of IREG (France)




12:15 PM – 12:30 PM Break


12:30 PM – 14:00 PM Second Session (Invited Session) video

Globalization of Science

Globalization of science is today one of the most significant processes affecting higher education systems and the academic profession. Universities are the most globalized social institutions and globalization is a major driving force behind science. However, international collaboration on a massive scale creates tensions both between scientists and states, and between researchers on different continents. Global rankings stratify universities into different tiers. Is the era of collaborative global science the best of times for science across the world?


Moderator: Peter Maassen, University of Oslo, Norway



  • Marek Kwiek, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, (Poland) – The Dynamics of Global Science and New Tensions in Academic Knowledge Production
  • Simon Marginson, Director, Center for Global Higher Education (CGHE), University of Oxford (UK) – Global science in a world of nation states: Do those who pay the piper call the tune?
  • Isidro F. Aguillo, Head, Cybermetrics Lab – Scimago Group (Spain) – Open Global Science and the Higher Education




14:00 PM – 14:15 PM Break


14:15 PM – 14:40 PM Special Presentation video

Research in the MENA universities and its engagement in the transformation projects in the region

Chair: Waldemar Siwinski, Vice-President, IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence; President, Perspektywy Education Foundation, Poland

Speaker: M’hamed el Aisati, Vice President, Elsevier


14:40 PM – 16:00 PM Third Session video

What’s new in rankings

The pandemic has increased interest in university rankings. In absence of personal visits on campuses prospective students look to rankings while searching for studies that best suite them; researchers use rankings to learn about institutions that represent certain level of research and teaching where it pays to have contacts with. Following the tradition of IREG conferences in the past, we have invited representatives of international rankings to share information on recent developments in these rankings.


Chair: Waldemar Siwinski, Vice-President, IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence; President, Perspektywy Education Foundation, Poland



  • Lu Wang – Ranking Manager, ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, China: – Latest global academic ranking performance of universities from the perspective of ShanghaiRanking
  • Gero Federkeil – U-Multirank Coordinator, Centre for Higher Education CHE, Germany: – The profiles of Arab universities in global context – evidence from U-Multirank
  • Duncan Ross – Chief Data Officer, Times Higher Education THE, UK: Social aspects in THE Impact Ranking.
  • Ural Akbulut – URAP Coordinator, Professor of Middle East Technical University, Turkey: – New face of University Ranking by Academic Performance


Tuesday, 16 November


13:00 PM – 14:00 PM Fourth Session video

Distance learning is to stay after the pandemic; will it impact rankings?

In the Distance Learning session we shall discuss the increase of the distance learning during the Covid-19 pandemic and the likeness that it will continue afterwards. It will be very important for rankings and society to look at the quality of distance learning.


Moderator: Luiz C. Costa, President of IREG Observatory, Rector, IESB University (Brazil)



  • Albert Sangra Morer, Open University of Catalonia (CODUR) (tbc)
  • Robert Morse, US News, USA
  • Grzegorz Mazurek, Rector, Kozminski University (Poland)
  • Ellen Hazelkorn, Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)


14:00 PM – 14:15 PM Break


14:15 PM – 15:15 PM Fifth Session video

Challenges universities face implementing the third, social mission

Interaction with society is generally considered the third mission of the university, with the first two representing education and science. The mission’s relevance has been growing for at least two reasons: the dissemination of ideas of sustainable development, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, that has led to the reassessment of the university’s role and place in society.


Moderator: Oleg Yastrebov, Rector, RUDN University, Russia




15:15 PM – 15:30 PM Break


15:30 PM – 17:00 PM Sixth Session video

Rankings and Internationalization

In today’s highly internationalized and competitive global higher education landscape, there are significant synergies between rankings exercises and internationalization agendas. This session will explore how these two powerful forces, which have been evolving in relation to one another for nearly two decades, intersect from a variety of national, institutional, and thematic perspectives.


Moderator: Laura Rumbley, Associate Director, EAIE, (USA/Netherlands)



    • Gerardo Blanco Academic Director, CIHE at Boston College (USA)
    • Hans de Wit Former Director & Distinguished Fellow, CIHE at Boston College (Netherland/USA)
    • Fernando Leon Garcia, IAUP President Elect, President, CETYS University (Mexico)
    • Daniela Craciun, University of Twente (Netherlands)


17:00 PM– 17:15 PM CLOSING video
  • Edmund Adam, McMaster University (Canada), Winner of IREG Competition on best PhD on academic rankings 2021: – The influence of global rankings on institutional strategies.


Closing remarks


  • Habib Fardoun, Consultant for University Ranking & International Relations, King Abudlaziz University
  • Luiz Costa, President, IREG Observatory



Luiz Claudio Costa

President, IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence (Brazil)

Abdulrahman Obaid Al-Youbi

President, King Abdulaziz University (Saudi Arabia)

Isidro F. Aguillo

Head of Cybermetric Lab – Scimago Group, IPP-CSIC (Spain)

Simon Marginson

Director, Center for Global Higher Education (CGHE), University of Oxford (UK/Australia)

Marek Kwiek

Marek Kwiek, Prof., Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland)

Gero Federkeil

U-Multirank and CHE-Centre for Educational Development (Germany)

Albert Sangrà Morer

Professor, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain)

Laura Rumbley

Associate Director, EAIE (USA/Netherlands)

Robert Morse

Chief Data Strategist for US News & World Report (USA)

Hassan Rashid Al-Derham

President, Qatar University (Qatar)

Oleg Yastrebov

Rector, RUDN University, Moscow (Russia)

Waldemar Siwinski

Waldemar Siwinski, Vice President, IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence, (Poland)

Daniela Craciun

University of Twente (Netherlands)

Fernando León-García

IAUP President Elect, President, CETYS University (Mexico)

Amin Noaman

Vice-President, King Abdulaziz University (Saudi Arabia)

Duncan Ross

Chief data oficer, THE Impact, UK

Ural Akbulut

URAP (Turkey)

Lu Wang

Lu Wang is Ranking Manager at ShanghaiRanking Consultancy (China).

Peter Maassen

Professor in Higher Education Studies at the Faculty of Education, University of Oslo (Norway)

Prof. Ali M. Masmali

Vice Rector, King Saud University (Saudi Arabia)

Prof. David R. Namwandi

Founder and Chair, International University of Management (Namibia)

Julio César Medina Gamboa

Rector, Universidad Mayor de San Simón (UMSS) (Bolivia)

Gerardo L. Blanco

Associate Professor, Higher Education; Academic Director, Center for International Higher Education, Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College

Liu Hong

President, Dalian University of Foreign Languages (China)

Jan Sadlak

Higher Education Expert, former IREG Observatory President, France/Poland

Hans de Wit

Professor and Director of the Center for International Higher Education (CIHE), Boston College, USA

M’hamed el Aisati

Vice President, Elsevier, (Netherlands)

Denise Pires de Carvalho

Rector, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Amr Galal El-Adawi

President, Beirut Arab University (Lebanon)

Edmund Adam

McMaster University (Canada)

Grzegorz Mazurek

Rector, Kozminski University (Poland)