Sweden’s top university Karolinska tumbles in global ranking

Sweden’s reputed Karolinska Institute (KI) has tumbled in its international ranking, slipping a full 10 points year-on-year in the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) World Education Rankings 2018 which was released on Tuesday.

Sweden's top university Karolinska tumbles in global ranking
The scandal involving KI’s former surgeon Macchiarini could have played a factor in the drop. Photo: Thomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Stockholm’s KI, which selects the winners of the Nobel Prize in medicine and which ranked 28 among the world’s top 1,000 universities last year, now comes in at number 38. In an e-mailed response to Swedish news agency TT, Phil Baty, the editor of THE, described the result as “a shame” for the institution.

According to Baty, much of the tumble can likely be blamed on the scandal hitting the institution involving celebrity Italian surgeon Paolo Macchiarini. The surgeon was fired from KI over accusations of misconduct after several of his trachea transplant patients died.

READ MORE: Macchiarini's seventh transplant patient dies 

Baty said, however, that those handing out the scores in its annual ranking don’t need to motivate their choices, “but in this case (Macchiarini) could have been a factor”.

But KI isn’t the only prominent Swedish university doing worse off this year: Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology fell from 159 to 173 and the University of Gothenburg to 198 from a previous 170.

Uppsala University, on the other hand, climbed to 86 from 93, Lund University to 93 from 96 and Stockholm University to 134 from 144.

Britain’s Oxford University topped the list for the second year in the row, followed by Cambridge in second place, while the California Institute of Technology shared a third place with Stanford.

A total of 77 countries take part in the annual ranking.


Police probe opened after poster campaign against ‘Islamophobic’ lecturers at French university

The French government condemned on Monday a student protest campaign targeting two university professors accused of Islamophobia, saying it could put the lecturers in danger.

Police probe opened after poster campaign against 'Islamophobic' lecturers at French university
Illustration photo: Justin Tallis/AFP

Student groups plastered posters last week on the walls of a leading political science faculty in Grenoble that likened the professors to “fascists” and named them both in a campaign backed by the UNEF student union.

Junior interior minister Marlene Schiappa said the posters and social media comments recalled the online harassment of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty last October, who was beheaded in public after being denounced online for offending Muslims.

“These are really odious acts after what happened with the decapitation of Samuel Paty who was smeared in the same way on social networks,” she said on the BFM news channel. “We can’t put up with this type of thing.”

“When something is viewed as racist or discriminatory, there’s a hierarchy where you can report these types of issues, which will speak to the professor and take action if anything is proven,” Schiappa said.

Sciences Po university, which runs the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in Grenoble in eastern France, also condemned the campaign on Monday and has filed a criminal complaint.

An investigation has been opened into slander and property damage after the posters saying “Fascists in our lecture halls. Islamophobia kills” were found on the walls of the faculty.

One of the professors is in charge of a course called “Islam and Muslims in contemporary France” while the other is a lecturer in German who has taught at the faculty for 25 years.