The University of Oxford has been named as the world’s number one university for the eighth year in a row in the latest rankings released this week, but the UK has three fewer universities in the world top 200 since last year, with 25 now in total.
Stanford University has taken second place followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in third place. All the top 10 universities are from the US and UK.
Phil Baty, chief global affairs officer at Times Higher Education, said the data shows “trends that threaten the UK’s aspirational status as a world science superpower”.
“The UK’s standing among academics worldwide, while still very high, is in steady decline, which can have worrying consequences for future partnerships, investments and collaborations,” he said.
He added that the UK is “losing ground” in terms of research income and attracting international students, while competition from East Asia is “accelerating”, as two Chinese universities feature in the top 15 for the first time.
Tsinghua University and Peking University took 12th and 14th place respectively, with 13 Chinese universities featuring in the top 200.
Australia’s universities have also declined, with all institutions in the top 200 ranked lower than last year.
India’s most prestigious university, the Indian Institute of Science, just missed out on a place in the top 200, but the country’s institutions did show some gains.
“The UK’s standing among academics worldwide is in steady decline”
The university was ranked in the 201-250 band for the first time since 2017, while others including Anna University, Aligarh Muslim University and Bharathiar University also moved up the table.
Over 90 Indian institutions are included on the list in total, up from 75 last year.
Amarjit Singh, founder and chief executive officer of the India Business Group, congratulated the universities.
“This timely edition recognises the innovative and impactful work that several Indian institutions are spearheading which clearly reflects the improvement in the quality of their research, teaching, knowledge exchange and global collaborations,” he said.
A total of 33 Asian universities are in the top 200, up from 28 last year and Asia is the most represented continent with 737 participating institutions.
Despite growing criticisms of ranking systems, more universities than ever participated in THE’s rankings this year, with 1,904 universities on the list, up from 1,799 in 2022.
Earlier this year, BRICS nations announced they would launch their own rankings table, accusing established ones of being skewed towards the Global North.
THE has updated its methodology, introducing more performance indicators, grouped into five pillars: teaching, research quality, research environment, international outlook and industry.