Words by Nik Taylor
Just one UK university appears in the top 10 of a league table of the world's top new universities.
The University of York is the only UK institution to feature in the top 10 of the 2013 Times Higher Education 100 under 50 rankings.


The University of York is the UK's sole representative among the 10 highest ranked institutions in the Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 rankings, which were published on Wednesday evening.

That's a significant drop from the three UK universities that made it into the top 10 of last year's rankings.

However, the UK does boast the most representatives on the overall list - with English and Scottish universities making up 18 of the top 100 institutions.



Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education rankings, will be on The Student Room from 11am on Thursday 20 June to discuss the 50 under 100 rankings.

Head to our Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 Q&A to add your question.



South Korea’s Postech tops the table for the second consecutive year, while fellow Korean institution KAIST moves up to third.

Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne retains second place, while the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology falls from third to fourth. The University of California, Irvine is fifth, down from fourth last year.

In fact, the US has slipped overall. The University of California, Irvine is its only representative in the top 10 and it has just eight universities in the whole list.

The traditional elite cannot afford to coast on centuries of history and tradition – there is a new breed of dynamic universities emerging.

Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education rankings
The 100 Under 50 rankings are intended to put the spotlight on fast-moving younger universities - those that have risen rapidly to become among the world's best.


The table is based on 13 indicators across five areas - research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international activity. The indicators take into account elements such as staff-to-student ratio, research income, citation impact and the number of international students and staff.
Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education rankings

Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education rankings, said: "These new figures are really exciting. They disrupt the settled higher education hierarchies. They show clearly that new powers in global higher education and research are emerging.

"The traditional elite cannot afford to coast on centuries of history and tradition, or rely too heavily on reputation – there is a new breed of dynamic universities emerging quickly and visibly to challenge for their crowns."

The UK’s strong representation is largely down to the success of the “plate-glass” universities founded in the 1960s, which developed rapidly into globally competitive institutions.

Since the rankings include only universities founded in the past 50 years, many of those universities will drop out of the rankings in the coming years. For instance, Keele University dropped out of the rankings this year purely because it was founded in 1962.

There is no room for complacency: two UK universities fell out of the top 10 this year and two dropped out of the top 100 altogether.

Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education rankings
Only three universities founded more recently than the '60s (all under reforms allowing polytechnics to convert to full university status in 1992) make the list: Plymouth University (joint 53rd), the University of Hertfordshire (75th) and Liverpool John Moores University (joint 88th).


Baty added: "The UK has more universities in the 100 Under 50 than any other nation. This is testament to the strength in depth of the UK’s higher education system and demonstrates that its 1960s institutions are serious global competitors – and that the UK’s ancient, Victorian and civic universities do not have a monopoly on excellence.

"But there is no room for complacency: two UK universities fell out of the top 10 this year and two dropped out of the top 100 altogether. Meanwhile, younger, exciting and dynamic institutions from nations where governments are investing heavily in creating world-class institutions are consolidating their places at the top of the rankings.

"The world number one, South Korea’s Postech, was founded in 1986: two other East Asian institutions in the top 10, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, have become research and teaching powerhouses in just two decades."

Key points from the rankings

  • The UK has the most representatives on the prestigious “horizon scanning” list, with 18 top 100 institutions (down from 20 last year)
  • But the UK’s 2012 tally of three top 10 universities has fallen to just one
  • South Korea’s Postech heads the list of the world’s top 100 universities under 50 years old for the second consecutive year, while fellow Korean institution KAIST moves up to third
  • The highest-placed UK institution is the University of York, which climbs one place from eighth to seventh
  • Eight nations make the world’s top 10 – with Singapore (Nanyang Technological University in eighth) and the Netherlands (Maastricht University in sixth) joining South Korea, Switzerland, Hong Kong, the US, the UK and France
  • The US has only eight top 100 representatives, putting the traditionally dominant nation in third place
  • Asia puts in another powerful performance, with five Taiwanese institutions, and four Hong Kong representatives


The top 20 universities in the Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 rankings


2013 rank2012 rank2012-13 World University Rankings scoreInstitution nameCountry/region
1150Pohang University of Science and TechnologyRepublic of Korea
2240École Polytechnique Fédérale of LausanneSwitzerland
3568Korea Advanced Institute of Science and TechnologyRepublic of Korea
43=65Hong Kong University of Science and TechnologyHong Kong
5496University of California, IrvineUS
619115Maastricht UniversityNetherlands
78103University of YorkUK
81686Nanyang Technological UniversitySingapore
9681Université Pierre et Marie CurieFrance
10-92Université Paris-SudFrance
117=122University of California, Santa CruzUS
1212=124Chinese University Hong KongHong Kong
1313=124University of WarwickUK
149=145Lancaster UniversityUK
1529167University of Texas at DallasUS
1610=176University of East AngliaUK
1715166University Paris Diderot ¬- Paris 7France
1818182City University of Hong KongHong Kong
1911=184University of Illinois at ChicagoUS
=2014201-225Universität KonstanzGermany
=20-=196University of VictoriaCanada


Other UK universities featured in the top 100:
=29 University of Essex
=34 University of Bath
44 Brunel University
=53 Plymouth University
=61 University of Stirling
63 Heriot-Watt University
65 Loughborough University
=71 University of Surrey
75 University of Hertfordshire
79 University of Strathclyde
=88 Liverpool John Moores University
96 Aston University
97 University of Kent
=99 Open University

Phil Baty will be on The Student Room from 11am on Thursday 20 June to discuss the 50 under 100 rankings. Head to our Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 Q&A to add your question.


Take a look at the Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 rankings in full.