Sussex shines in European university excellence ranking

The University of Sussex has been ranked among the top universities in Europe for excellence in politics, economics and psychology, in the CHE Excellence Ranking 2009.

Sussex features in the three Excellence Groups that comprise the rankings, thanks to outstanding achievements in research citations and publications, placing it among the top 11 out of 34 featured UK institutions, alongside Oxford, Manchester and Warwick.

The rankings, produced by the German-based independent education think tank CHE (Centre for Higher Education Development) and published in German national newspaper Die Zeit (28 October 2009), are based on analysis of individual research areas at universities across Europe.

Every year, the CHE compiles a new CHE-University Ranking, comparing European universities for first-year students. A relatively new initiative, the CHE-Excellence Ranking provides a comparison of the best European university research facilities for prospective Master's and doctoral programme students. The ranking results are available free on the internet.

Excellence Group selection is based on six criteria relating to research excellence and internationalisation: number of publications, number of citations, most-cited authors, number of Marie Curie programmes, offering of an Erasmus Mundus Master's course, teaching staff mobility, student mobility, and highly cited books. Selection also involved an institutional survey and a student survey.

The ranking is presented as a “multi-dimensional” analysis of European institutions, based on the idea that there is no “best” higher education institution. Instead of crowning an overall winner, stars to departments that do particularly well in any one indicator, instead of rank positions. This methodology is regarded by CHE as the most useful way to inform students of the best options open to them for further study.

Professor Bob Allison, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for research at the University, says: “Sussex has always been a University focused on research and the importance of an international outlook, so it is gratifying to see this focus translated into internationally recognised research. With the introduction of a new Graduate School, new schools of study and research themes that look to address global challenges, we will enhance further our appeal to discerning research students from beyond the UK.”

In last year's inaugural round, analyses for biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics were presented, which will be re-visited in the ranking for 2010.

News of the ranking follows another international achievement for Sussex. The University, has just been voted for the third year running as “best place to be” in England in the summer 2009 International Student Barometer, the i-Graduate international survey of student experience.

Notes for Editors


The CHE is a think tank for higher education based in Germany. Using international comparisons, it develops models for the modernisation of higher education systems and institutions and offers postgraduate students information on around 2,000 research groups. Facts and information about the CHE-Excellence Ranking can be found at The results can be found at

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Last updated: Thursday, 29 October 2009