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Australia overtakes UK in list of top new universities

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Australia has overtaken the UK as the best-represented country in a list of the world’s top new universities.

The Times Higher Education’s fourth annual 100 Under 50 rankings, which rank universities that are less than 50 years old, includes 16 Australian institutions and 15 from the UK.

However, while Australia’s top new institutions were created over several decades from the 1960s onwards, the UK’s are heavily concentrated in the 1960s, meaning many will drop out of the rankings soon.

The highest-ranked UK institution is the University of Warwick, which took ninth place. Its 1965 foundation date means this is its final year in the rankings.

Top of the list is Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, followed by two South Korean institutions, Pohang University of Science and Technology and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), which take second and third place respectively.

East Asian institutions dominate the top ranks, with universities from South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore claiming four of the top five positions. Other strong performers in the rankings include Spain, with six representatives, France with five and Canada with four.

Phil Baty, THE's rankings editor, said: “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.”

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