Latin American universities have taken very few slots at this year’s Times Higher Education World University Rankings, with the University of São Paulo in Brazil being the only one in the region to feature in the top 400.
Brazil has a total of 10 institutions in the top 800, down from 12 last year. Overall, barely 21 Brazilian universities feature in the ranking of 1,000 global universities.
Nonetheless, some institutes in the region have been praised by authors of the report for their increased research activities, despite their challenging funding and science environments. Among them is Diego Portales University in Chile, which is the only Chilean university to have improved its rank (from the 601-800 band to the 501-600 band).
The Chilean university, says the report, gives financial incentives to its academics for publishing in international and prestigious journals. While it performed poorly in teaching environment, it has been ranked 265th on citations, an impressive leap of 187 places since last year.
Argentina, one of the region’s more advanced countries, has only one representative, the National University of Córdoba, in the 801-1,000 band.
Some analysts have pointed out that Latin American universities can become more innovative if they try to link academic disciplines with the problems belonging to the civil society.
In the study, lack of funds was the common reason universities blamed for their lower focus on research activities.
According to the report, there are currently around 20 million students, 10,000 higher education institutions, and 60,000 study programs across the region, including the Caribbean.