The Times Higher Education’s world university rankings have been released for 2014, with California Institute of Technology ranking as the world’s top university for the 4th year in a row.
Three universities from the UK have been dropped from the top 200 list, with five dropping out from the top 400 – raising concerns about the UK’s future competitiveness in the global knowledge economy.
The Golden Triangle & London leads the way
The ‘Golden Triangle’ remains strong: although Oxford has slipped down one place to 3rd, Cambridge has gained two places and now ranks 5th. Imperial gains one place to be joint 9th with Yale.
London remains the city with the most first class universities in the world – with four universities in the top 40, and seven in the top 200: more than the whole of Japan.
Three universities fell out of the top 200: Reading, Dundee and Newcastle. Although St George’s, University of London made 196th place, overall UK representation in the top 200 has dropped from 31 to 29. Five universities dropped out of the top 400: Heriot-Watt University, Keele, Liverpool John Moores, Loughborough and Surrey.
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Scotland's universities continue to make impact
Scotland has made significant gains in the rankings, with two top 100 universities and four in the top 200: more than China. “The rankings data shows that Scotland’s universities are a truly exceptional national asset”, says Nick Hillman, the Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute. Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and Aberdeen all made significant gains this year.
America continues to hold on tight
Outside of the UK, the US continues to dominate - with seven out of ten places in the top ten-although it too has sustained significant losses: 60% of its universities lost ground, with an average fall of 5.34 rankings places across the nation. Publicly funded universities suffered the worst.
Germany has had a good year and now ranks 3rd overall behind the US and the UK gaining two top 200 entrants and overtaking the Netherlands. Other European countries, including Belgium, Ireland and France, have lost universities from the top 200.
The educational power shift from west to east continues
Asian universities are on the rise with 24 institutions moving into the top 200, with two of those being in the top 25. The editor of THE said that this “provides hard evidence” of a power shift, as “traditional leaders including the UK, Canada and the US risk losing significant ground in the global knowledge economy”.
Japan remains Asia’s number one nation. However four out of five of Japan’s top 200 universities fell in the rankings, meaning that Japan is losing ground against other rising nations such as China - which gained a new top 200 entrant in Fudan University at spot 193 - Hong Kong and South Korea.
The top 200 now includes 28 countries, up from 26 last year – new entrants include Russia and Italy. There are now 11 countries with a university in the top 200, including Taiwan, Norway, South Africa and the Republic of Ireland.
The impact of educational cuts is highlighted
The losses sustained by the two leaders – the UK and the US – prompted comment about the effects of public spending cuts on higher education institutes, as “many Western universities, in many cases starved of vital public funding, are losing ground”.
Hillman commented that the “results […] show how crucial the 2015 general election and the subsequent spending review will be for higher education [in the UK]”.
“Research funding continues to be eroded by inflation and the amount of money available for teaching each student is under bigger threat than at any point since tuition fees were reintroduced in 1998.” He concluded that higher education in the UK faces a “bumpy road ahead”.
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World University Rankings 2014-2015
You can find the full listing here on the the Times Education World University Rankings website. About Times Higher Education magazine
Times Higher Education is the world’s most authoritative source of information about higher education. Designed specifically for professional people working in higher education and research, THE was founded in 1971 and has been online since 1995. It is published by TES Global.