150 best young universities in the world

The UK has the most institutions in the Times Higher Education 150 Under 50 Rankings 2016

April 6, 2016
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Browse the full list of the world's top 150 universities under 50 years old

Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has topped the Times Higher Education 150 Under 50 Rankings 2016 – a ranking of the best universities under the age of 50 – for the second year in a row, while the UK has the most world-class young institutions in the top 150.

EPFL held on to pole position in the table despite fierce competition from universities in East Asia.

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), founded just 25 years ago, came second, making it Asia’s top young institution for the first time in the ranking’s five-year history. This follows Singapore’s success in last year’s THE World University Rankings, in which the National University of Singapore was crowned Asia’s best university.

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The rest of the top five in the young universities list was filled by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Netherlands’ Maastricht University and South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Bertil Andersson, NTU president, cited the institution’s continued ability to attract top established and young researchers; innovative approaches to teaching, with a goal of designing half of degree courses for “flipped classroom learning” within the next five years; and “good blend of East and West” as reasons for its rapid success.

“Teaching in English makes it easy for NTU to attract international faculty or to collaborate with many other world-class universities as English is a common platform for us,” he said.

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He added that many other Asian universities are also highly driven towards academic excellence and research, as demonstrated in this ranking, and if this trend continues “Asia could well become a major driving force for the world’s knowledge production and innovation by 2050”.

However, despite Asia’s success in this year’s extended top 150 list, the UK is the most-represented country with 25 institutions, led by the University of Dundee in 16th place – although eight of these will be too old to feature in the list next year, and a further five will drop out within the subsequent two years.

Meanwhile, Australia has more universities in the top 100 (16) than any other nation, with half of these sitting in the top 50. In contrast with the UK, the foundation date of its representatives is more evenly spread across every decade from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Andrew Norton, director of the higher education programme at thinktank the Grattan Institute, said that there are strong parallels between UK and Australian higher education policy but that Australia has “much more consistent pro-migration policies for international students”.

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He added that while older universities in Australia still receive the majority of government research funding, the “aggressive” recruitment of fee-paying international students by institutions across the board has “financed more research than could have occurred through dedicated research funding alone” and elevated the universities’ global profiles.

He also cited income-contingent loans for domestic postgraduate fee-paying students in Australia since 2002 as having helped to create a “strong market” for many institutions.

The THE 150 Under 50 Rankings use the same 13 performance indicators as the flagship World University Rankings, but give less weight to reputation.


World's best universities under 50 years old: top 10

150 Under 50 rank 2016 Institution Country Year founded
1 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland 1969
2 Nanyang Technological University Singapore 1991
3 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong 1991
4 Maastricht University Netherlands 1976
5 Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea 1986
6 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea 1971
7 University of Konstanz Germany 1966
8 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Germany 2009
9 Pierre and Marie Curie University France 1971
10 Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Italy 1987

View the full results of this year's Times Higher Education 150 Under 50 Rankings

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Print headline: 150 Under 50 Rankings 2016 results announced

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