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19th September 2012

Manchester falls in QS and Shanghai rankings

The university is now 32nd in the QS World University Rankings, down three places from last year.

The University of Manchester has fallen slightly in the QS World University Rankings and the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The QS ranking of 32nd is slightly lower than last year’s 29th and the Shanghai position of 40th is two places lower.

The QS rankings consider over 2,000 universities and rank over 700. They were used this year by the UK government in a poster campaign ahead of the London Olympics to endorse the excellence of its universities.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester, said that “Of the many university league tables which are published, the Shanghai Jiao Tong is the one we use to measure our performance”.

It ranks the research performance of institutions around the world but this year the University fell in this as well. Dame Nancy called this “disappointing” and said that it “is partly because two universities in Paris merged and hence moved above us.”

Since the foundation of the University in 2004 the Manchester 2015 Agenda has promoted the institution’s mission to make it one of the top 25 universities in the world by 2015.

Writing in an updated version, published last year, Anil Ruia, Chairman of the Board of Governors, admitted that the original mission was “bold and ambitious” but promised “we remain committed to the Vision and believe it to be achievable”.

The high point for the University in the QS rankings was the employer reputation score, which placed it joint fourth in the world, alongside more elite institutions such as The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The low point was the ratio of students to faculty members, in which the University was placed 170th. Last year the university received a score of 66 in this area, but it dropped this year to 63.2.

This comes despite plans announced by the University last year to spend £20 million on recruiting between 100-200 new academic staff as well as a reduction of Home/EU undergraduate recruitment over the period 2010-2015, which is intended to work along with staff recruitment to address these ratio issues.

Results for individual faculties show that the best performers were Natural Sciences, who climbed seven places to 34th, and Life Sciences and Medicine, who climbed eight places to 35th.

But the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Science dropped three places to 35th and also fell four places to 36th in this year’s Shanghai rankings.

A University spokesman said: “The Faculty remains third in the UK, behind Cambridge and Imperial, with University of Oxford being in fourth place. With the recent initiatives across the Faculty we do expect to climb in the rankings going forward.”

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