Universities in Asia have boosted their standing in this year’s Times Higher Education ranking for physical sciences subjects as Europe records mixed results.
While the top 10 is solely made up of institutions in the US and the UK, the number of Asian representatives in the top 100 has doubled to 14. The National University of Singapore (NUS) makes its debut both in the top 20 and as the leading Asian institution in 19th place, while Taiwan is represented for the first time by the National Taiwan University (NTU) in 63rd place.
Shiuh-Tzung Liu, dean of the College of Science at NTU, attributed its success to several “persistent efforts” including: recruiting high-calibre academics; improving research and teaching infrastructure; boosting financial support through grants for critical research needs; and promoting intra-disciplinary and collaborative research. He added that the department concentrates on “cultivating early career scientists and students with high potential to become the next-generation leaders in their fields of expertise”.
Meanwhile Europe has had a varied performance. Germany and the Netherlands have each increased their representation by three, to 10 and five universities respectively, but the UK and France have both lost two representatives, claiming 11 and five institutions respectively. The University of Cambridge leads the continent in joint sixth place, while Switzerland's ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich is the top European university outside the UK in 11th place.
Johannes Barth, dean of the physics department at Germany’s Technical University of Munich, which ranks in 31st place, said that the faculty has “agile and effective subunits” which allow “cooperative decision-making and efficient action”.
Our department structure “created the optimal basis for participation in research networks, national and international projects and last but not least in [Germany’s] Excellence Initiative,” he said.
“For many years the department of physics has fostered a stringent and unique talent development. The idea of constant change and the achievement of excellence in research and teaching is rooted in the daily life of the department and provides continuous high attractiveness and visibility.”
World's top 10 universities for physical sciences, 2015-2016
|1||California Institute of Technology (Caltech)||United States|
|2||Stanford University||United States|
|3||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||United States|
|4||University of California, Berkeley||United States|
|5||Princeton University||United States|
|=6||Harvard University||United States|
|=6||University of Cambridge||United Kingdom|
|8||University of Oxford||United Kingdom|
|9||Cornell University||United States|
|10||Carnegie Mellon University||United States|