Young University Rankings 2017: a growing concern sprouts new branches

Five years on, our expanding analysis of success-bound younger institutions finds much to celebrate

April 6, 2017
Person sitting in tree
Source: Getty

Browse the full Young University Rankings 2017 results


The first edition of what was then known as the Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 ranking, back in 2012, featured on its cover an image of the first young shoots of an oak tree sprouting from an acorn.

This was, of course, a visual metaphor for the universities featured in the data analysis: those institutions under the age of 50 (very young in a sector where some of the established performers have many centuries of history) that were beginning to develop into strong and stable institutions with a long future ahead of them.

In many respects, the image could also have been a metaphor for the rankings themselves. What began five years ago as a modest, niche exercise, seeking to identify emerging stars of the global university world (the “likely future Harvards or Berkeleys”, as economist Andrew Oswald described them at the time), has grown into a much deeper, more comprehensive, more inclusive analysis – driven by the increasing demand for data and analysis on the performance and the strategies of institutions that have managed to develop into global powerhouses in an exceptionally short period of time.

So this 2017 edition has a series of additional data analyses.

The original “Under 50” ranking remains, but it has now expanded to include 200 institutions, up from 150 last year and 100 institutions previously. What we are now calling the THE Young University Rankings have the same methodology as in the past, with the same carefully balanced range of 13 performance metrics that make up the overall World University Rankings, but with careful re-weighting to better reflect the characteristics of younger universities.

The ranking also applies the same ruthless policy of including only those institutions aged 50 or under, which means that each year universities are eliminated from the list for no reason other than the fact that they have reached the age of 51.

But this year there’s more. First, we’re ranking subsets of the under‑50 institutions separately, covering different generations of the young universities. Our new “Generation X” table features 51 institutions founded between 1967 and 1985; a “Generation Y” table covers 71 institutions founded between 1986 and 1999; and our “Millennials” list covers 23 institutions founded since the turn of the century, from 2000 to today.

Perhaps the most significant development is the inclusion of a ranking of an entirely new age group for the first time – those institutions founded in what we describe as the “Golden Age” of higher education, from 1945 to 1966. This period after the Second World War saw an extraordinary expansion of higher education and a major increase in investment in university research.

National flagship institutions such as the Australian National University and Seoul National University were both born in 1946, and in the US this era saw several major additions to the University of California system, including UC Riverside (1954), San Diego (1960) and Irvine and Santa Cruz (both 1965). The early 1960s were also a landmark era in the UK, where the 1963 Robbins report heralded the birth of “plate glass” universities such as the University of East Anglia. The “Golden Age” top 100 uses the exact same methodology as the THE World University Rankings, so it is a simple filter of the 2016-17 World University Rankings.

Back in 2012, when the under-50 ranking was first published, the higher education expert Jamil Salmi pointed out the power of such data: the decision by a number of middle- and high-income countries to set up “excellence initiatives” in their “determination to attain drastic short-term improvement” for elite universities, combined with the creation of entirely new institutions in emerging economies, had seriously challenged the traditional notion that academic excellence required, like wine, “a long maturation period”.

THE is pleased to be able to provide the data to monitor the progress of such emerging institutions, and to provide case studies of those already showing all the signs of success. 

Phil Baty
Editor, Times Higher Education Rankings
Twitter: @Phil_Baty


Countries represented in the top 200

Country/region    

Number of institutions
in top 200

Top institution

Rank

United Kingdom

27

University of Dundee

16

Australia

23

University of Technology, Sydney

15

France

16

Pierre and Marie Curie University

12

Spain

15

Pompeu Fabra University

17

Germany

11

Ulm University

8

Italy

10

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

=9

Taiwan

8

National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech)

59

Malaysia

6

Universiti Putra Malaysia

101-150

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

101-150

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)

101-150

Portugal

5

University of Aveiro

=81

United States

5

University of Texas at Dallas

21

South Korea

5

Pohang University of Science and Technology

4

Turkey

5

Koç University

=36

Japan

5

Toyota Technological Institute

64

Republic of Ireland

4

Maynooth University

49

Hong Kong

3

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

2

Finland

3

Aalto University

27

Sweden

3

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

=36

India

3

VelTech University

=74

Canada

3

Université du Québec à Montréal

97

United Arab Emirates

3

Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research

101-150

Belgium

2

University of Antwerp

=13

Denmark

2

Aalborg University

23

Saudi Arabia

2

King Abdulaziz University

25

Cyprus

2

University of Cyprus

=52

China

2

Soochow University

101-150

Iran

2

Isfahan University of Technology

101-150

Brazil

2

Federal University of ABC (UFABC)

151-200

São Paulo State University (UNESP)

151-200

Egypt

2

Sohag University

151-200

Suez Canal University

151-200

Pakistan

2

COMSATS Institute of Information Technology

151-200

National University of Sciences and Technology

151-200

Switzerland

1

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

1

Singapore

1

Nanyang Technological University

3

Netherlands

1

Maastricht University

6

Luxembourg

1

University of Luxembourg

11

Hungary

1

Central European University

39

Greece

1

University of Crete

58

Macao

1

University of Macau

67

Norway

1

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

86

Russian Federation

1

Higher School of Economics

96

Chile

1

Diego Portales University

101-150

Israel

1

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

101-150

New Zealand

1

Auckland University of Technology

101-150

Qatar

1

Qatar University

101-150

Slovenia

1

University of Maribor

101-150

Jordan

1

Jordan University of Science and Technology

151-200

Northern Cyprus

1

Eastern Mediterranean University

151-200

Oman

1

Sultan Qaboos University

151-200

South Africa

1

University of Johannesburg

151-200

Thailand

1

Suranaree University of Technology

151-200

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns