UK is 10th among best global environments for universities

The UK has been placed 10th in a ranking of the world’s best higher education systems, with the US topping the list.

May 11, 2012

Researchers from the University of Melbourne applied 20 different measures to data collected from 48 countries and territories to construct the ranking for Universitas 21, an international network of 23 research-intensive institutions.

The ranking aims to show which countries create a “strong environment” that allows universities to contribute to growth, provide a high-quality student experience and help institutions compete globally.

The top 10 in the overall ranking were, in order, the US, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Australia, the Netherlands and the UK.

Measures used to compile the ranking were grouped into four broad areas: public and private investment; research and workforce output; international connectivity; and environment (such as government policy). Population size was also taken into account.

As well as the overall results, the survey also found that investment in research and development was highest in Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

The US dominated total output of research journal articles, but Sweden led the measure of percentage of articles per head of population.

According to the study’s authors – from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne – there is a strong relationship between investment and output.

Of the top eight countries for output, only the UK and Australia are not among the top eight for resources.

Meanwhile, international students form the highest proportions of total student numbers in Australia, Singapore, Austria, the UK and Switzerland.

International research collaboration is most prominent in Indonesia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Belgium and Austria.

The report can be found at:

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