London named ‘best university city’ as Brexit looms


Just as the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2018 announce their top 1,000 universities in the world, experts are warning that Brexit threatens London’s status as the leading university city.

The 2018 rankings are the biggest international league table to date and show that London has more elite universities than any other city.

The world league table also places Oxford and Cambridge as the top two universities respectively in the world for the first time in the table’s 13 year history, with both experiencing significant increases in income.

The University of Oxford has held on to the number one spot for the second year in a row, while the University of Cambridge has jumped from fourth to second place.

The table also suggests that the gap between the UK’s elite universities and others is widening, with those in the ‘golden triangle’ remaining steady and institutions such as Warwick and St Andrew’s dropping down the table.

London has 14 universities in the world’s top 500, followed by Paris with ten and Boston with eight. Imperial College places eighth, University College London (UCL) places 16th and King’s College comes in at 36th.

However, experts are concerned that London’s top status, and the UK’s position as a global leader in education, is at risk from Brexit. Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President and Provost, is quoted as saying that losing EU funding would “threaten London as a world leader in higher education and as a research engine that helps drive the economy”.

The number of EU applicants has already declined by five per cent since last year.

Phil Baty, a director at THE, also added that Brexit poses a risk to the success of UK universities as, for example, the University of Cambridge relies on the EU for a quarter of research funding from competitive grants, with Oxford relying on one fifth.

The THE top 1,000 rankings include no more than 5% of the world’s 20,000 higher education institutions, with European institutions accounting for half of the top 200 positions. Of those, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany are the most represented countries.

Notably, China’s standing also continues to rise and now has two universities in the top 30, Peking and Tsinghua, both outranking several prestigious EU and US institutions. Almost all Chinese universities are showing improvement as a result of the countries continued commitment to investment.

In contrast, two-fifths of the US institutions in the top 200 (29 out of 62) have dropped places.

THE is the only global university performance table to be fully, independently audited and judges research-intensive universities across all core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook, using 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons, trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.

The world university rankings top ten

1. University of Oxford
2. University of Cambridge
= 3. California Institute of Technology
= 3. Stanford University
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
6. Harvard University
7. Princeton
8. Imperial College London
9. University of Chicago
= 10. ETH Zurich = Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
= 10. University of Pennysylvania

Thursday, 7 September 2017

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London named ‘best university city’ as Brexit looms