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4th October 2018

Japan overtakes UK as second-most represented nation in world university rankings

Japan claims second-best for universities for the first time ever as the UK reputation diminishes in the face of a growing Asia.
Japan overtakes UK as second-most represented nation in world university rankings
Photo: Bradshaw79 @Wikimedia Commons

The UK has been surpassed for the first time ever as the second-most represented country in the 2019 world university rankings published by Times Higher Education.

Oxford and Cambridge retained the 1st and 2nd places respectively, however, the UK overall has seen its reputation diminish.

Japan claimed 103 positions on the world rankings in comparison to the UK’ s 98, making it the new, second-most represented country on the table of around 1250 universities globally.

However, there have been some stand-alone successes for the United Kingdom. University College London has made it into the top 15, with The University of Birmingham jumping 25 places, and The University of Warwick moving up 12 to joint 79th.

The University of Manchester was ranked 57th best in the world by Times Higher Education, down from joint 54th last year.

Phil Baty, Editorial Director of Global Rankings for Times Higher Education said any connection between the 2019 world university rankings and Britain’s pending withdrawal from the European Union can only be seen as speculation at this point.

“We see some individual stars in the UK this year, but the broader national data story is really one of stagnation and modest decline, with the UK taking a minor hit to its research reputation.

“We can only speculate at this stage as to any connection with Brexit — the risk, however, to the UK’s reputation and research capabilities from its separation with Europe is very real.”

Phil added that: “Maintaining world-class excellence amid cuts and creeping isolationism is simply unsustainable, especially amid intensifying global competition. Many emerging nations [are] currently placing their own universities at the heart of national economic growth strategies.”

Baty concluded that positive immigration and investment policies are crucial if UK universities are to continue to thrive on the world stage.

Asia’s representation in the world rankings has been growing steadily. Tsinghua University in China, the top Asian university, has overtaken the London School of Economics for 25th place.

The United States claimed the most positions on the table, with Stanford University listed as the most prestigious American institution and third best globally.

Times Higher Education assesses teaching, research, and international outlook.

The Times and The Sunday Times 2019 Good University Guide was also released recently. It ranked the University of Manchester 19th best in the UK and 2nd best in the North West of England. 

Josh Sandiford

Josh Sandiford

Deputy Editor

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