UK loses young university ranking

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Published: Thursday 30th April 2015 by The News Editor

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The UK has lost its position as the best place in the world for top young universities, according to new international rankings.

For the first time, the nation has lost out to Australia in an annual league table of the best 100 universities worldwide under 50 years old.

In total, there were 15 UK institutions in the Times Higher Education (THE) table, compared to 16 Australian universities.

The majority of the UK universities included in the list were founded in the 1960s, which have become globally competitive over the years.

But a number of these will soon be too old to be included, and the latest results have prompted fresh concerns that those institutions created in the 1990s – when the law was changed to allow polytechnics to take on university status – have yet to make their mark internationally.

The highest UK entrant in the THE 100 Under 50 2105 rankings is Warwick, which has moved up from 12th place last year to ninth, while the second highest, in joint 19th place with Germany’s University of Konstanz, is Dundee, which is a new entrant to the table this year.

The other UK universities to make the top 100 are Brunel (25th), Plymouth (joint 37th), Bath (joint 42nd), Stirling (47th), Surrey (joint 65th), Aston (70th), Hertfordshire (71st), Heriot-Watt (joint 77th), Loughborough (83rd), Portsmouth (joint 85th), Kent (93rd), Ulster (95th), City University of London (joint 97th).

Overall, 11 of the UK’s entries were founded in the 1960s.

This year’s top young university, according to the rankings, is Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, which has over-taken the Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea to claim the top spot.

Rounding out the top five are the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea in third place, followed by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Universities are ranked on different factors including teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook.

Rankings editor Phil Baty said: “The UK has lost its position as top nation in the 100 Under 50 to Australia, a country with a richer and more diverse university mix.

“While only four of the UK’s 15 representatives were founded after the 1960s, Australia has institutions established in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s among its 16-strong list.

“While there is no suggestion that the UK’s great 1960s institutions are likely to lose their world-class status any time soon, it must be cause for concern that the fresh waves of universities created since the 1990s have yet to make any mark in the global rankings.

“The 100 Under 50 is led by young, exciting and dynamic institutions – in many cases a lot younger than the UK’s – from nations investing heavily in creating world-class institutions (for example, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore). The UK will have to raise its game to compete.”

A total of 28 nations and regions had universities included in this year’s table, including Spain, the United States, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada and Germany.

Published: Thursday 30th April 2015 by The News Editor

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