Higher Education: the new challengers


The University of York takes top place for the UK

The Times Higher Education (THE) supplement's latest listings look at the top 100 universities under 50 years old to find the centres of excellence of the future – the institutions most likely to challenge the dominance of Harvard and Cambridge.

Six nations make the world's top ten including Switzerland, France and the UK, and Europe is the continent with the highest number of entries in the top 100. The UK has more places on the list (20) than any other country while the US, traditionally a powerhouse of higher education slips into third place, behind Australia.


Heading the list is South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology, which at just 26 years old. Second place is taken by Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 3rd. The University of California, Irvine is 4th and another representative from South Korea, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology takes 5th place, reflecting the overall high showing of East Asia.

Université Pierre et Marie Curie, of France, takes 6th place, followed by the University of California, Santa Cruz in 7th

And the UK takes the last 3 places in the top 10. The highest-placed UK institution is the University of York, in 8th, followed by Lancaster University in 9th and the University of East Anglia in 10th.  Of the 20 UK representatives, there are 3 from Scotland, headed by the University of Stirling in 50th place.

Australia follows the UK with 14 places on the list while the US, which traditionally dominates the traditional World University Rankings, comes in with just 9 places.

 Ireland has 3 institutions in the list, led by the National University of Ireland, Maynooth in 64th.

Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings, said: “This innovative global ranking of institutions under 50 years old serves as a clear warning to the traditional elites in the US and UK that new powers in higher education and research are quickly emerging. The heritage institutions need to watch their backs. With focused investment, innovation, strategic vision and lots of talent, some institutions have managed to achieve in a matter of years what the traditional elite universities have developed over many generations. The landscape is changing quickly and the old global hierarchies cannot rest on their laurels. 
“Asian institutions are showing great strength, and investment taking place in the Gulf, for example, is very promising.''

The THE 100 Under 50 is based on the same rigorous and comprehensive range of 13 separate performance indicators used to compile the prestigious THE World University Rankings, covering all key elements of university performance – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and internationalisation.

Read the full report here

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