The general indicators for the classification are
- Number of publications
- Outstanding researchers
- Number of projects in the Marie Curie programme
Those institutions who made it into the `excellence group' were then further examined in an in-depth analysis based on institutional questionnaires and online surveys. According to their summary:
"The results show that Europe in general provides a very high level of research and of graduate teaching in the academic fields that were analysed."
The figures below show the medal distribution in physics and mathematics (p. 17 and 18 of the full report)
I wasn't aware Germany is a maths paradise.
This project is intended to be transferred to other academic fields in the near future.
You can download the full report as a PDF here.