100 Under 50 Rankings 2015 results

Ranking of universities under 50 years old shows a dip in UK’s strength in depth and Swiss on a roll

April 30, 2015


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Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne has topped the list of the world’s 100 best universities under 50 years old for the first time, while Australia has overtaken the UK as the nation with the deepest reservoir of young talent.

Founded in 1969, EPFL has moved to pole position from second place, where it has been sitting since the first Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 rankings in 2012. It has swapped places with three-time leader Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea.

The remainder of the top five in the THE 100 Under 50 2015 is static, with East Asian institutions continuing to dominate: the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) holds on to third, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology retains fourth, while Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University remains in fifth.

The 100 Under 50 list is the only THE global ranking on which the Asia-Pacific region outperforms the traditionally dominant Western powerhouses of North America and Europe.

However, Simon Marginson, professor of international higher education at the UCL Institute of Education, said that this was set to change over the next few years. “Given the fast-moving growth of published science in East Asia, by another 15 years or so there will be significant growth in East Asian universities in the top 200 [of the overall THE World University Rankings], displacing some of the established players from English-speaking countries.”

Only two UK institutions – the University of Warwick in ninth place (up from 12th) and the University of Dundee at 19th – make the top 20, a drop from four in 2013.

Several UK universities that were established in the early 1960s are now too old to feature in these rankings, including Lancaster University, which was 10th last year.

It is also Warwick’s final year in the list because of its 1965 foundation date, while Dundee has only two years left, meaning that the steep decline in the UK’s representation in this particular table looks set to continue.

Australia is the best-represented country in the list for the first time in its history, with 16 institutions. The UK, which has 15 universities featured, has fallen to second. The two countries shared the top spot last year, with 14 institutions each.

The foundation year of universities from Australia is spread across every decade from the 1960s to the 1990s, while only four of the UK’s representatives were formed after the 1960s. This suggests that Australia’s strength in the rankings will endure.

“While there is no suggestion that the UK’s great 1960s institutions are likely to lose their world-class status any time soon, it must be cause for concern that the fresh waves of British universities created since the 1990s have yet to make any mark in the global rankings,” said THE rankings editor Phil Baty.

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100 Under 50 Rankings 2015 results: top 10

1 2 =34 1969 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland
2 1 66 1986 Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea
3 3 =52 1971 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology South Korea
4 4 51 1991 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
5 5 =61 1991 Nanyang Technological University Singapore
6 6 101 1976 Maastricht University Netherlands
7 7 =88 1965 University of California, Irvine United States
8 11 =109 1965 University of California, Santa Cruz United States
9 12 =103 1965 University of Warwick United Kingdom
10 8 120 1971 Paris-Sud University France


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