UK's newer universities are in the global elite, rankings show

Irena Barker

The UK has more institutions in a top 100 ranking of the world’s newer universities than any other country except Australia, but Asian upstarts are beginning to dominate, research has revealed.

Both the UK and Australia have 14 universities placed in the latest Times Higher Education 100 under 50 2014 rankings, although Britain has lost four universities since last year because they are now too old to qualify.

The UK’s highest-ranking university in this year’s list is Lancaster University, which came tenth.

But despite the strength of English-speaking countries, East Asian institutions continued to lead the table, which compares universities under 50 years old.

Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea tops the chart for the third year running and universities in Singapore and Hong Kong were also represented in the top five.

A university in India, the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, broke into the top 100 ranking for the first time this year.

Phil Baty, rankings editor of Times Higher Education, said: “The UK shares the accolade of being the best-represented nation in the 100 Under 50, with 14 institutions.

"Given that the country is globally renowned for its venerable universities – both the ancient Oxbridge elite and the Victorian redbricks – this demonstrates the strength in depth of the UK system, showing that the 1960s generation are thriving on the world stage, often exceeding the performance of their elders (but not betters).

“But there are warning signs. Institutions have dropped out of the list this year because of their age and next year three more will follow. All but two of the remainder were founded in the 1960s."

He added that the ranking was dominated by “much younger and higher-placed institutions from strengthening universities”.

“Competition is only going to intensify as more nations and institutions join the race: the UK must work hard not to be left behind,” he added.

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Irena Barker

Irena Barker is a freelance journalist.

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