UK universities slip in rankings

 

UK universities have fallen down an international league table, putting the nation's reputation for higher education at risk, it was suggested.

While the UK currently still has the second best university system worldwide, a number of leading institutions have tumbled down the rankings this year.

In total, 10 UK universities are in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2012/13, compared with 12 last year and 14 in 2010/11.

The table's authors warned that, beyond the very best institutions, UK universities face "a collapse in their global position within a generation".

The latest table shows that the UK has three universities in the top 10, with Oxford taking second place, up from fourth last year.

Cambridge was in seventh place, down one from sixth last year, while Imperial College London took eighth place, the same as in 2011.

The UK has seven universities in total in the top 50, and 31 in the top 200, down one from 32 last year.

The rankings show that leading Russell Group UK universities have slipped down in position compared with last year.

Bristol University, which was 66th in the table last year, is 74th in this year's table, while Sheffield University has fallen nine places to joint 110th.

Leeds has dropped from 133rd to joint 142nd, Birmingham has fallen 10 places to joint 158th and Newcastle is down to joint 180th from 146th place.

But among the risers is York, which has jumped from 121st place last year to 103rd, Nottingham, which has gone from 140th to 120th place, and Warwick, which is joint 124th compared with 157th last year.

Topping the table again this year was the California Institute of Technology.

Rankings editor Phil Baty said: "Outside the golden triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge, England's world-class universities face a collapse into global mediocrity.

"Huge investment in top research universities across Asia is starting to pay off. And while the sun rises in the East, England faces a perfect storm: falling public investment in teaching and research; hostile visa conditions discouraging the world's top academics and students from coming here; and serious uncertainty about where our next generation of scholars will come from, with a policy vacuum surrounding postgraduate study."

Thirteen different areas of university work, including teaching, research and international outlook, were studied to create the overall rankings.

PA

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