Brexit to hit UK’s global HE ranking

Latest rankings show strength of UK sector against international peers, but research director warns of negative impact from EU exit

The director of research for the QS World Rankings says the UK’s strong showing in this year’s tables are a direct result of ‘participation in EU schemes’ such as Erasmus and Horizon 2020.

His comments have been interpreted as a warning that the UK’s departure from the bloc will lead to a diminished presence on the world stage for the nation’s higher education sector.

Where next for HE in a post-Brexit world?

UK universities increased their standings in the QS World Rankings 2019, placing first in 27 per cent of subjects (up from 21 per cent). Aside from the US, the UK ranks highest in the number of universities which are top of their specialist area. The Oxbridge universities, Imperial College London and UCL are all in the top 10 of overall rankings.


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Ben Sowter, director of research for QS World Rankings, said: “Much of the highly cited research that has contributed to UK success this year will have come about as a result of collaboration with EU universities and as a consequence of participation in EU schemes.”

He added: “As our date for departure approaches, this year’s results serve as a reminder of the enduring value provided by close collaboration with researchers, universities, and industry across the world.”