Tuesday, 5 April 2016

World Ranking of Mineral & Mining Universities- a very strange list indeed!

The QS World Ranking of Top Mineral & Mining Universities has just been published and I am sure that anyone involved with the minerals industry will find this a very strange list indeed.
Many of the Universities and Institutions in the top 100 have no minerals departments, and of the top 10, I would personally recognise only 4 as minerals industry universities of repute. Many, including Oxford and Cambridge, are certainly fine universities, but do they have such a deserved reputation in the minerals industry?
What I find very worrying is that the Camborne School of Mines, one of the oldest and most respected mining schools, does not even rate a mention. Surely it merits similar stature to the other CSM, the Colorado School of Mines, which deservedly is in the top 10 and arguably rates its number 1 position.
I don't want to analyse this list in any detail, but would like the views of as many people in the minerals industry as possible, so I invite you to add your comments, and to make your colleagues in the industry aware of this and encourage them to comment also.
 
Twitter @barrywills

37 comments:

  1. Bolivia also a mining country has one of the best metallurgical universities and labs in Oruro University with Ph doctors and art's equipments such Kelsy Jig, FM spirals,Knelson etc etc lab equipments. So I do not fully agreed on the list. Also McGill t should be on the top ten.

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  2. I agree Barry, some of the criteria they use for rankings favours more established institutions and some are not really relevant to Schools or Departments. So take it with a bit of salt
    Leon Lorenzen, Lorenzen Consultants and Mintrex, Australia

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    1. Barry and Leon, I agree as well. The list seems very strange as many in the top 20 has nothing to do with mining or minerals processing. QS Rankings, while respected at a University-wide level, becomes laughable at this level (by discipline) when universities that do not have any mining or mineral processing are listed as top universities in this discipline.
      Jacques Eksteen, Curtin University, Australia

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    2. I think the list was actually posted on the 1st of April (fools day)!

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    3. Unfortunately not. And April Fool's pranks are meant as jokes. This was no joke!

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  3. Agree. Go to the home page and review methodology behind the ratings. It is purely an academic focus and can see it being a popularity poll given some of the 'key' measures'. It really tells me nothing re mineral process engineering or mining engineering. It almost seems wing of publishing?

    Robert Seitz, Freeport-McMoRan, Arizona, USA

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  4. Standford (3) & Berekely (6) used to have strong programs, but have totally desmphised them to the point of closing them down, with one or two tenured professors hanging on. BTW where is Witts (97?). Most of the schools on this list what list mining in the computer Science Department (data mining).

    Mike Albrecht, Roberts Companies, USA

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    1. Yes indeed, where is Wits?

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    2. Wits is 97 but should actually be in the top 20 at least. So do University of Pretoria and Cape Town. This list is flawed. Curtin deserves top 5 and as Barry Barry Wills alluded Camborne should be too.

      Mxolisi Ntombela, Gekko Systems, South Africa

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    3. Mike. That would say much to the value of methodology and results of this (and likely other) survey if it was driven by data mining!

      Robert Seitz

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  5. Sounds also strange to me. I'm not sure if they really consider the mining experience of the professors, scientists and works developed in cooperation to mining companies. I think they consider the university general status as more important than the specifically status of the mining department.

    Marcos Dias, MALLTA Engenharia e Representações, Brazil

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  6. I agree with all comments so far, Barry, and I find it quite preposterous (and predictable) that once again academic people report on our global industry without any real appreciation of what makes it tick! I'm sure that our comments will be brushed off, as is always the case with these types of "learned" surveys!!
    Dennis Thomas, U.K.

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  7. Andreas Fredriksson, Sweden5 April 2016 at 20:12

    This obvious large bias must be generated by the criteria of the list. Indeed a very fascinating list as presented.

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    1. Bertil Pålsson, LTU, Sweden6 April 2016 at 11:35

      I agree, I clicked on our University (Luleå in Sweden) and we were listed as a not featured university. Does it imply that we haven't payed to be on the list? Another interesting thing for Sweden is that the mining at KTH in Stockholm was moved to Luleå in 1976. So, the list is not the most updated.

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  8. No Chilean Universities? For such a strong mining country that seems a big deficiency
    Mark Richards, BC, Canada

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    1. Totally agree Mark. Can think of 3 which should definitely be up there

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  9. Bary,
    It is very good that you put it so frankly and others commented so nicely.
    This so called methodology(must have spent a lot of consultancy fees to make it) many time forgets the nature of mineral insustry; the Schools teaching mineral oriented programmes should have different yardsticks.
    It would be also interesting to know how many of the graduates/post graduates from these top Schools are joining the hard core mineral based organisations/companies.
    Rao,T.C.

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  10. As the holder of several earth science graduate degrees from three universities, I did my Ph.D coursework at Columbia University's Henry Krumb School of Mines, in the School of Earth and Applied Sciences in the Fu Foundation Engineering Department. EVERYTHING was analytical and statistics based, the laboratories had long since been dismantled. In upstate New York, the geology department at Union College, offering only Masters degrees, the laboratories are State of the Art, perhaps the best Earth Science School in all of New York State.

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  11. To be perfectly honest it seems whoever wrote this article has absolutley ZERO idea what they are talking about, it's a real shame that CSM hasn't been mentioned - what about WSM, Ouro Preto in Brazil and Universidad Catolica/de Chile in Chile ? I think this list should be taken with a lick of salt, it's not a slight on CSM, I think it's just some dickhead reporter (for lack of better words) who did some poor research.

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  12. Hi, At Queen's we are pleased to be considered better than UCLA for mining and mineral processing! On the other hand the differences in numerical rankings are not that different and one wonders what is the uncertainty in the numerical rankings. Maybe this was supposed to be the April 1 post!

    Chris Pickles, Queen's University

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  13. Although including many of the excellent universities, this list is not of mining and minerals engineering. Whoever did the search query failed terribly, as this list seems to include data mining and materials engineering. It's the first year the discipline was included and it's totally flawed and misleading. CSM is focused more on teaching rather than research, so it always falls short on these types of of surveys (along with WITS) where research is important (40% of the ranking is supposedly derived from a survey of academics). At least a third of these institutions have absolutely no mining/minerals curriculum and several important schools (Pretoria, Missouri, Catolica & Santiago in Chile, CSM, Brazil, at least 4 from the USA) are missing. It's unfortunate that International Mining magazine has carried this story. We should contact QS Head of Public Relations, Simona Bizzozero (simona@qs.com) to inform how bad this research is and misleading. The University of Exeter (CSM) will certainly be contacting them. Infomine, SME, SOMP (Society of Mining Professors) all produce better lists.

    Dylan McFarlane, Camborne School of Mines/University of Exeter

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  14. As some have noted, there are institutions on our list that have no dedicated Mining Engineering program. This has come about because there are remarkably few programs that offer dedicated Mineral Engineering programs. This has ramifications for both publishing and recruitment cultures around Mining Engineering programs that we acknowledged in our rankings.

    For one, it seems that employers within the Mining Engineering space have cited institutions like Oxford, LSE, and Cambridge as producing consistently excellent, hireable graduates despite these graduates not having taken a degree focusing solely on Mining Engineering. Second, respondents to our academic surveys have also cited these institutions as producing impactful, excellent research concerning this discipline – backed up by citations sourced from our Scopus/Elsevier database.

    Though these institutions may only offer degrees in, say, the Civil Engineering space, we were keen to recognize Mineral Engineering as a discipline in its own right, hence producing a separate list.

    Our years of experience producing Subject Rankings have also shown us that rankings tend to improve over time, but a key catalyst for such improvement is releasing it into the public domain and inviting feedback and critique. As has happened with this particular rankings, publishing has yielded a series of insights from those within the Mining Engineering space, which is precisely what is necessary for our initiative. Moving forward, we intend to acknowledge these insights, and use them to produce an improved rankings next year. We have already invited experts in the Mining Engineering field to contribute to the next iteration, and will continue to seek the input of those who can help our rankings evolve and improve.

    Ben Sowter, Head of Operations at QSIU.

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    1. Thanks for your response Ben, but I am sure that many people in the mining industry will not be satisfied by the reply. You rightly note that there are institutions on your list that have no dedicated Minerals or Mining curriculum. You say that this is because there are remarkably few institutes around the world that offer dedicated Mineral Engineering programmes. However the point that people make is that many of the institutes that do have programmes of repute, and I won't mention names, although we all know who they are, do not warrant a mention. If you are new to reporting on our industry you must be aware that such omissions are misleading at the least and could be potentially damaging.

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    2. Sorry Ben, but that is a massive pile of BS. I have not met a single graduate form LSE, Cambridge or Oxford in the mining industry that hasn't been involved in finance. Are you using the financial/accounting people involved in the mining industry to derive your rankings? If so, your list is frankly not worth the pixel space it is taking up on my screen. You recognize the accountants while dismissing those who actually get some mud on their boots!
      Dave Middleditch

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    3. Spot on Dave. This was the conclusion of a discussion yesterday at the Comminution '16 conference

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  15. Here's 12 I can think of office the top of my head that aren't on the list: Pretoria, Lulea, CSM, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Montana Tech, New Mexico, U. de Catholica, U. de Santiago, Ouro Preto, Alaska-Fairbanks. There are many more of repute.

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  16. Apparently, if Big Rock Mining Corp hired accountants and found that the best came from La Sorbonne, and someone in the company said the best came from there, then La Sorbonne must be a top mining school. Interesting!

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  17. Let me add that Indian School of Mines has dedicated B.Tech/M.Tech/Ph.d. Programmes in Mineral Engineering which includes coal preparation aspects also. The Dept is called Dept of Fuel and Mineral Engineering.
    Indian School of Mines has dedicated programmes in Geophysics,Geology,Mining, Fuel and Mineral Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, Environmental Engineering(that means the whole gambit of earth sciences) in addition to conventional engineering courses.

    Rao,T.C.

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    1. To augment that, a unique course on "Mining Machinery Engineering". With such an exhaustive list of courses pertaining to mining and mineral processing and Indian School of Mines deserves better than the 59th spot on the list ?

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  18. Edumine have a better list which elevates CSM to a better ranking at http://www.edumine.com/educational-resources/mining-schools/ But it doesn't include any of the Chinese institutions such as UST Beijing or Changsha.

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  19. Barry,
    Pl keep this discussion going.The way subjects are taught and topics on which research is done in many Universities claiming to be Depts related to mineral disciplines are drifting away into aspects far removed from of any relevance to industry.
    The present comments would help the mineral industry greatly for a better education and research
    Rao,T.C.

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  20. I laughed when I read this list. ETH Zurich at number 8? They don't even have a mining/minerals program. And Utah at number 45? Arizona at 46?

    Too bad this isn't a joke. Hopefully prospective mining/minerals students ask questions from industry insiders rather then rely on lists like this one to make important career decisions.

    Ben Sowter -- your comment that including schools without mining/minerals programs is somehow justified by the fact that few universities offer these programs in the first place is undermined by the fact that you have left off the list many good schools that the do indeed have these programs. I think either your methodology is flawed, your sample set is not a very good cross-section of the global mining/minerals profession, or both.

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  21. Why isnt laurentian university in sudbury, Ontario on the list?

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  22. From and Australian standpoint, both UniSA and Newcastle are missing from the entire list. Despite both institutions being the only two ranked at the highest level in the country's research excellence exercise. The ranking criteria seem to be very research-oriented, which should have included UniSA and Newcastle. My suspicion is that there was a submission process and these institutions missed a deadline or some such. I've asked questions about it.

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  23. Ben's point is "because there are remarkably few programs that offer dedicated Mineral Engineering programs" (though in fact there are many but Ben does not know), they have to randomly add some irrelevant universities to the list in order to make the number "100". This is math, not ranking.

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  24. I've since been informed that the scoring relies heavily on surveys. Question is, who do they survey? Clearly people with either little or biased knowledge.

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  25. The 2017 list has now been published, and I invite further comments! QS 2017 rankings

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