The results of the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2014 were released on Wednesday March 5 2014, and showed that universities from just two countries, the US and the UK, make up the top 10.
Our coverage of the launch outlines the major global trends revealed by this year’s table, and our detailed online analysis gives insight into why the World Reputation Rankings, which list institutions by prestige, are so valued by universities.
Our university rankings always provoke a range of responses from key figures in higher education, and below we round up some reaction from the UK.
“In the 21st century, British university research is now the real jewel in our crown. But this news today is a big, big reminder that our competitors are not standing still, they are speeding up. Let’s be careful about one year’s data, but it’s bad news we’re slipping in the wrong direction and it’s bad news that across the country, great universities are heading down, not up. As we start our research programme into how to ensure our world-class universities are power-houses of Britain’s regional economies, we’ll be studying this data very, very carefully.”
- Liam Byrne, Labour shadow minister for universities, science and skills, on the UK having two fewer institutions in the top 100 compared to 2011, when the World Reputation Rankings were launched
“The UK has a global reputation for excellence in higher education. We have strong institutions, a world-class research base and dedicated staff. To stay ahead in the global race, we are protecting the research budget, making UK research more accessible and delivering a better student experience.”
- Spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
“As with so many other indicators, the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings show the seemingly never ending rise of London, this time in the academic space. As I am highly interested in education, and a big believer that the UK is, conceptually at least, in a really strong position to benefit more globally from exporting its tertiary education, I am both pleased that so many London institutions are doing better and better, but somewhat disappointed that other institutions elsewhere can’t hold their own.
“Our universities are geographically diverse in their location and one might think of initiatives to not only help them all do well overseas in terms of their reputation and performance, but also be entities that can help other parts of the economy including new start up companies become more geographically diverse. This is something we are looking into at the Commission”
- Jim O’Neil, economist and chair of the City Growth Commission
“Our leading universities continue to be held in high regard around the world with the UK coming second only to the United States overall. The UK was recently ranked as the best in the world for the quality of its research. However, UK public spending on higher education and research is comparable with that of Slovakia and Chile, far less than competitors like the US, China and most Western European countries. And while we currently punch above our weight, only with increased, long-term investment in research, will the UK’s leading universities and high-tech industries continue to compete on the world stage.”
- Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group
“The strategic importance of brand and reputation in higher education is now impossible to ignore as universities seek to build academic profile to support research, recruitment, business engagement and philanthropic giving.”
- Emma Leech, director of marketing, communications and recruitment at the University of Nottingham
“While reputation surveys do not tell you anything objective about quality, they nevertheless do reflect visibility and awareness by others of a university’s activities: academics are likely to be more aware of those with whom they’ve recently collaborated, those with recent relevant articles and those presenting at conferences. So a reputation survey such as this is likely to be a harbinger of things to come and a predictor of subsequent trends.”
- Bahram Bekhradnia, president of the UK’s Higher Education Policy Institute
“A university’s reputation for academic excellence is absolutely vital to its success: it drives student and faculty recruitment, international research partnerships, and helps to attract philanthropy and industrial investment. And while reputation is based on subjective opinion, in this case it is the informed, expert opinion of those in the know: experienced scholars from around the world. The annual World Reputation Rankings, based now on responses from almost 60,000 carefully selected and statistically representative academics, have become a closely watched and vital indicator of the fortunes of global university brands.”
- Phil Baty, rankings editor, Times Higher Education