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    I'm curious to see how different the rankings were 10-30 years ago. Which universities have constantly been in the top 20, and which used to be but have since fallen? I would appreciate any relevant links.

    Also, how do you think the rankings will change in the next few decades? Which universities currently near the top are unlikely to stay there?

    As far as I know the last few decades have seen the rise of several 'Plate Glass' universities - Warwick being the best example - at the expense of a few of the more traditional 'Red Brick' universities. As far as how things will change, I suppose that all depends on the structure of funding alongside new government initiatives. To an extent there is inertia in UK university rankings in that those that are producing the best research are going to continually be given the best grants, so it's difficult for, say, newer universities with a smaller research base to compete with their more established, (and more importantly) better funded counterparts. That being said, the Conservatives appear to be trying to shake this up a little (see their most recent Green Paper on Higher Education), and so we may see a greater emphasis placed on teaching-standards in the future (as Universities that are deemed to teach well will be allowed to charge higher tuition fees). If this is the case, one could expect the rankings of universities to change quite a bit once more. Younger institutions that have placed a greater emphasis on teaching quality may be able to compete with more traditional institutions. Clearly, though, this is all quite speculative. Things could change quite a bit, or things could stay roughly the same. Who knows? Maybe in fifty years they will all be private and everyone will be wanting to get into Boxbridge (Buckingham/Oxbridge)...
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