M. Maricic, N. Zornic, V. Jeremic

University of Belgrade, Faculty of Organizational Sciences (SERBIA)
University rankings are able to captivate the attention of various stakeholders, as they provide comparable and widely accessible information. These benefits led to their inclusion in decision-making processes. Therefore, after the introduction of the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2003, the university rankings proliferated. However, most of the currently devised rankings do not take into account the relation between universities and the industry. Herein, we propose the University-Industry Research Connections Index, which aims to provide new insights on this topic of high importance. The suggested approach can serve as a foundation for future research on university-industry collaboration and university rankings.

The interaction between university, industry, and government has been recognized as the triple helix model. The highly elaborated model relies on the entrepreneurial role of the university, making universities the core initiator of the model. Herein we will place more attention on just one aspect of the model: the university-industry relation. Several studies have been conducted to explore the benefits of this relation. A joint conclusion can be made that the university-industry collaboration accelerates knowledge transfer and increases the competitiveness of the country’s economy. Having all the presented in mind, various stakeholders, especially decision and policy makers, might require a ranking of universities based on their openness to and previous collaboration with the industry.

University-Industry Research Connections Index:
In 2015, the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at the Leiden University published a set of indicators which provides information on the level of cooperation between universities and the industry in seven scientific fields named University-Industry Research Connections (UIRC). Herein we propose a creation of a composite index, the University-Industry Research Connections Index (UIRC Index), which will rank universities based on their cooperation with the industry using bibliometric indicators published by the CWTS.

Suggested Methodology:
The usually cited stepping stones in the process of creating a composite index are the weighting scheme and the aggregation method employed. To overcome those issues, we propose the application of the Composite I-distance Indicator (CIDI) methodology to create the UIRC Index. Although the suggested methodology could be employed on all universities whose data is available, we placed our attention on the universities based in the European Union (EU) member states.
Future directions of the study: During our research, we identified three possible future directions of the study. First, the post-hoc I-distance approach, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis, and the application of the Principal Component Analysis (PCA).

Discussion and Conclusion:
The CIDI methodology can be used to obtain a data-driven weighting scheme and an impartial composite index. Therefore, this methodology was employed to create a new composite index which aims to rank universities within the EU based on their collaboration with the industry. The final section of the proposed paper will put an emphasis on the obtained results and on possible policy choices countries and universities might make.