On 17 December 2013, in collaboration with the Russian news agency Interfax, QS will launch a new ranking of universities dedicated to institutions in the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The first of its kind, the QS University Rankings: BRICS will initially list the top 100 universities in the BRICS countries, with a view to extending this following further consultation with universities and the higher education community.Why rank universities in BRICS countries?Alongside the QS World University Rankings®, QS World University Rankings by Subject, QS World University Rankings by Faculty and the light-hearted QS Best Student Cities, QS already publishes several different regional rankings – covering universities in Asia and Latin America. But why launch a separate ranking of universities in BRICS countries, and why now?The idea for a ranking of universities in BRICS countries actually began with the Russian Ministry of Education, which selected Interfax to produce two pilot rankings: one of universities in BRICS countries and another of universities in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Interfax asked QS to partner with it on the BRICS ranking, combining the expertise of the two organizations.This new project comes at a time when the BRICS countries are making moves towards greater collaboration in multiple areas, including education. Last month, education ministers from the five BRICS nations came together for the first time to discuss collaboration with each other, and also with support from UNESCO. Each of these countries is also individually working towards strengthening their international presence; the Russian government, for example, has set a target of having at least five universities ranked within the world’s top 100 by 2020.It is hoped that the new ranking will provide a useful benchmarking tool, both for universities and also for prospective students; after all, the five BRICS countries collectively account for more than 40% of the world’s population – and all are hoping to welcome more students from beyond their own borders.How is the new ranking of universities in BRICS countries being created?Like QS’s other regional rankings, the QS University Rankings: BRICS uses a methodology adapted from that of the QS World University Rankings, to reflect regional priorities and challenges. In this instance, a total of eight indicators have been selected:Academic reputation – based on a large global survey of academics, this indicator contributes 30% towards each university’s overall score.Employer reputation – based on a large global survey of academics, this indicator contributes 20% towards each university’s overall score.Faculty/student ratio – a measure of how many full-time academic staff are employed per student enrolled; worth 20% of the overall score.Staff with a PhD – based on the percentage of academic staff members with a PhD; 10% of the overall score.Papers per faculty – a measure of the number of research papers published annually per faculty member; 10% of the overall score.Research citations per paper – a measure of how frequently cited research papers from each university are; worth 5% of the overall score.International faculty – based on the percentage of faculty members who are from overseas; 2.5% of the overall score.International students – based on the percentage of students who are from overseas; 2.5% of the overall score.