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The best young unis in the world

Times Higher Education reveals the world's top 200 universities under the age of 50 years in an official ranking

Posted by Charley Rogers | April 05, 2017 | International

Times Higher Education (THE) has published the Young University Rankings which lists the world’s 200 best universities that are 50 years old or younger, across 48 countries.

The ranking, which includes 200 institutions for the first time (up from 150 last year), is topped by Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, for the third year in a row. Universities in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy also feature in the top 10, while there is strong representation from Australia, France and Spain across the ranking.

These younger universities offer a very different perspective on global higher education excellence from the THE World University Rankings, which are dominated by institutions from the US and UK.

The remainder of the top six in this ranking features the same institutions as last year, albeit in a slightly different order: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Nanyang Technological University swap places from last year to claim second and third place respectively, while Pohang University of Science and Technology comes fourth, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is placed fifth, and Maastricht University sixth. 

The UK is the most represented nation in the ranking with 27 universities, closely followed by Australia with 23. France, Spain, Germany and Italy come next with 16, 15, 11 and 10 institutions respectively.

The table below from the Times Higher Education 2017 lists the UK rankings, with Dundee topping the list at number 16, and three other UK unis reaching the top 100. The full results and analysis can be found here.  

Institution

Rank 2017

Rank 2016

University of Dundee

16

16

University of Stirling

46

54

Plymouth University

65

=59

University of Portsmouth

=98

99

Bournemouth University

101-150

101-150

De Montfort University

101-150

101-150

Glasgow Caledonian University

101-150

NR

University of Hertfordshire

101-150

101-150

Liverpool John Moores University

101-150

101-150

Middlesex University

101-150

101-150

Northumbria University

101-150

101-150

The Open University

101-150

101-150

Oxford Brookes University

101-150

101-150

Ulster University

101-150

101-150

University of Bedfordshire

151-200

NR

Coventry University

151-200

NR

University of East London

151-200

NR

University of Huddersfield

151-200

NR

Kingston University

151-200

101-150

London Metropolitan University

151-200

NR

Manchester Metropolitan University

151-200

101-150

Nottingham Trent University

151-200

NR

University of Roehampton

151-200

NR

University of Salford

151-200

101-150

University of the West of England

151-200

101-150

University of the West of Scotland

151-200

NR

University of Westminster

151-200

NR

On the United Kingdom’s success, Phil Baty the editor of the Times Higher Education rankings, said:

“A key strength for the UK in this ranking is that it has representatives that were founded in every decade between the 1960s and 2000s, suggesting that the country has a promising future in the Under 50 list in the years to come. Two UK universities - London Metropolitan University and University of the West of Scotland - make the new “millennial” table of the best universities founded post 2000.

However, Mr. Baty also mentioned the possibility with a tough few years ahead for the UK higher education sector, post-Brexit, saying, “The UK’s great strength in depth and claim of high positions in the table is promising, but its young universities will need to continue to adapt to deal with an ever tougher higher education climate within the country and across the world.”

For the first time, the THE has looked at the world’s best universities established between 1945 and 1966 in the aftermath of the Second World War – what THE describes as the “Golden Age” in global higher education, characterised by rapid university expansion and increasing investment in research. In a new top 100 list, the UK is the most-represented country with 19 universities, led by the University of Warwick in eighth place. The UK’s success is due to the birth of “plate glass” universities following the 1963 Robbins report.

A key strength for the UK in this ranking is that it has representatives that were founded in every decade between the 1960s and 2000s, suggesting that the country has a promising future in the Under 50 list in the years to come.

Meanwhile, Australia and Canada each have six representatives. The Antipodean nation is also the most represented in the top 10, claiming three places: Australian National University (second), Monash University (fourth), and University of New South Wales (seventh).

Commenting on the range of countries represented in the rankings, Mr. Baty said, “The sixth annual edition of this celebration of the world’s best young universities shows that rising higher education stars are found worldwide. Switzerland is home to the world’s top young university for the third year in a row while institutions in Hong Kong and South Korea are rapidly rising up the table. 

For those institutions in the THE Young University Ranking, "Generation X" universities – those established between 1967 and 1985 – generally have the most success. The slightly younger "Generation Y" universities founded between 1986 and 1999 feature three Asian universities at the top of the table: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Nanyang Technological University, and Pohang University of Science and Technology. Overall 20 Asian universities make the 50-strong "Gen Y" list, including universities in India, Taiwan, Pakistan, Thailand and Turkey. Finally, the youngest universities appearing in the ranking are also listed as “Millennials" – founded since 2000. Only one of the universities ranked in the top 10 of the Young University Rankings was founded this millennium – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, founded in 2009, which appears in joint 9th place.

The full results and analysis of all 200 universities can be found here. 

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