The new system is meant to compete with existing "league tables," which European higher education officials complain consistently give short shrift to the continent's educational strengths, the EUobserver reported Wednesday.
EU officials say the European ranking project is to be developed over a two-year period with planned roll-out at the beginning of 2011. They are being developed by a German/Dutch/Belgian/French consortium for Higher Education and Research Performance Assessment, which won a $1.6 million request for proposals to come up with an alternative for the global ranking of universities.
The main existing league tables are the Times Higher Education Supplement in Britain and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Academic Ranking of World Universities in China. Cambridge and Oxford universities were the only European higher education institutions among the top 20 in the last six Jiao Tong rankings, the EUobserver said.