WUR best agricultural university – for now

Three Chinese universities are closing in on WUR.
Chinese students packaging Chinese rose cabbage. The cabbage was developed by professor Hou Xilin of Nanjing Agricultural University. Photo Alamy/Imagechina

Since the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), or the Shanghai-ranking, makes a sub-list of the best agricultural universities, Wageningen has been listed at the top of the list. For the fifth time this year. The Chinese ranking follows the National Taiwan University (NTU) Ranking, which has been publishing a separate ranking of agricultural universities for many years.

Since Wageningen first led the NTU ranking, WUR has been switching places with two American universities, the University of California in Davis and Cornell University. However, the American agricultural sciences have dropped in the ranking and can now be found in places 6 and 9 of the Shanghai ranking.

In contrast, Chinese investments in agricultural sciences are beginning to bear fruit. Wageningen (302 points) is closely followed by the China Agricultural University (292 points), Nanjing Agricultural University (288) and Northwest A&F University (286). All three received considerably more points than last year.

Citation score

The Shanghai ranking is based on the number of publications in leading journals such as Science and Nature per institute, the number of frequently cited researchers per university, the citation score of the university and the number of researchers and alumni who have been awarded a Nobel prize. With the Times Higher Education ranking, this is considered the most influential university ranking, and many Asian students base their choice of university on it. There is, however, also criticism: the rankings cause publication and work pressure.

WUR also scores high in the Shanghai ranking in other fields. Wageningen veterinary research ranks first, its ecological research takes fourth place, geographical research is second, and nutrition research comes in third. The latter is already dominated by Chines universities.

The ARWU general ranking is dominated by large, wealthy universities such as Harvard University.

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