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02 September 2020 14:55

Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Trinity climbs nine places in latest world university rankings

The University of Oxford has been ranked first in an international league table for the fifth year in a row. A number of UK universities have slipped down the Times Higher Education (THE) world rankings – with Cambridge dropping from third to sixth place and Imperial College London falling out of the top 10. Experts have warned that the pandemic heralds "a perfect storm" of huge challenges for UK universities who risk losing international student fee income and the global flow of academic talent to institutions. They say a hard Brexit – combined with the impact of Covid-19 – could make British universities "increasingly vulnerable" and the UK risks losing its status as a "higher education superpower". Overall, the UK has 29 universities in the top 200, up slightly from 28 last year.

The annual list rates more than 1,500 universities from 93 countries and regions in five areas: teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income. The rankings show Oxford once again was named the best-performing university globally, ahead of Stanford University in the United States, which took second place. US universities dominated the top 10 in the rankings, claiming a record eight places. Cambridge University is no longer in the top five as it takes sixth place in the list, which is down three places on last year when it was third. Imperial College London dropped out of the top 10, taking 11th place compared to tenth last year.

Phil Baty, THE chief knowledge officer, said: "Over the past five years we've seen a steady decline in performance of UK universities at large. Before we even see the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit trickle down to our data the UK stands at an all-time low of just two universities in the global top 10. Coronavirus delivers the joint challenges of attracting international students, whose fees many universities are reliant on, and global academic talent, vital to having world-leading teaching and research. He told the PA news agency: "If a hard Brexit follows the economic pain of Covid-19, our universities could become increasingly vulnerable, as we see ever increasing funding challenges that are unlikely to be able to be covered by the public purse. Professor Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of Oxford University, said: "We are delighted to have consolidated our position at the top of the THE World University Rankings this year.

"The Covid-19 pandemic, which has posed such a threat to higher education around the world, has also demonstrated the critical role universities play in addressing global challenges." – 16 (15) University College London Trinity College Dublin remains Ireland's leading university after climbing nine places to 155th in the latest Times Higher Education world university rankings. In all, the rankings bring mixed news for the nine Irish universities which feature in the top 1,000. The RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences is the second highest ranked Irish institution and held its ranking in the 201-250 category. NUI Galway, which slipped out of the top 251-300 and into the 301-350 category, is the fourth highest ranked Irish institution. Maynooth University, which slipped out of the 301-350 category into the 401-500 category, is in sixth place followed by DCU, which climbed up from the 601-800 category into the 501-600.

The Times Higher Education rankings are based on five key indicators: teaching; research; citations; international outlook; and industry income. Globally, the University of Oxford claimed the top spot for the fifth year in a row, followed by Stanford, Harvard and California Institute of Technology. Of the UK's 20 highest ranked institutions last year, only five improved their position in the table and institutions outside of the top-200 showed signs of decline. Trinity, meanwhile, said its result was helped by a strong performance in research, one of the main categories on which the overall score is based. "Excellence in research lies at the heart of our identity as a university and has a fundamental influence on our teaching," she said.

RCSI said it was happy to maintain is top-250 ranking for the fifth year in a row, despite a a 55 per cent increase universities assessed in this worldwide league table. DCU said it was pleased to be one of just two Irish universities to climb in the rankings this year. President of DCU, Prof Daire Keogh, said its improved performance demonstrated the progress it was making in advancing its reputation for world-class research. The university has been ranked 147th best in the world. The country's leading tertiary institute climbed 32 places in the Time Higher Education world rankings to joint 147th out of 1527 institutions. Auckland was the only New Zealand university to improve its ranking. * Auckland University buys $5m Parnell mansion for incoming vice-chancellor * Auckland University's new vice-chancellor dropped out of school at 15 AUT, the third-ranked New Zealand university, has climbed a bracket, from 301st-350th to 251st-300th. The top-ranked university in the world is Oxford University in the United Kingdom, followed by Stanford, Harvard, California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which are all in the US. Supplied Auckland University vice-chancellor Dawn Freshwater. "We know the excellence of the teaching, learning and research that is carried out at this university, and it is very gratifying to have it endorsed by the Times Higher Education ranking system," she said. "It is important for our students, our research partners, our philanthropists and funders, as well as decision makers in government and business to know that when we say we are a leading world-class university, we are also demonstrating it on the world stage." The university got its highest rankings in the International Outlook (staff, students and research) and Industry Income (knowledge transfer) categories. Time Higher Education chief knowledge officer Phil Baty said the University of Auckland is to be commended for its achievements, particularly given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. "In what has been Time Higher Education's most competitive rankings so far, the University of Auckland's achievement this year deserves a huge amount of credit," he said. "However, with the backdrop of Covid-19, well-established higher education systems could be under threat as they face the very real risk of losing significant international student talent, and the fees that they bring. Trinity College Dublin remains Ireland's highest-ranked university. The college has jumped nine places to 155th place, according to the latest Times Higher Education University World Rankings. The Royal College of Surgeons is Ireland's second highest-ranked university, sitting in the top 250 while UCD is in third in the 251 to 300 category. University College Cork is in the 301 to 350 category. The largest drop seen by an Irish university this year is Maynooth, which has gone from the 301 to 350 category to the 401 to 500 grouping. DCU is now into the top 600 along with UL while Technology University Dublin still sits inside the top 1,000. Speaking about today's ranking, Dean of Research at Trinity, Professor Linda Doyle, said: "We are delighted to see Trinity College Dublin improving its position in this global metric. "Excellence in research lies at the heart of our identity as a university and has a fundamental influence on our teaching. Oxford University in England has retained top spot for the fifth consecutive year while the US has eight of the top ten institutions. Now in its 17th year, the Times World University Rankings includes more than 1,500 institutions, ranking them on things like teaching, research and international outlook. The University of Cape Town (UCT) has retained its spot as the continent's top university, despite a drop of 19 places, tying at 155th among more that 1 500 institutions in the 2021 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, which were published on Wednesday, 2 September 2020. The THE World University Rankings, published once a year, assesses institutions worldwide across 13 performance indicators in five areas: teaching (30%), research (30%), citations (30%), international outlook (7.5%) and industry income (2.5%). UCT's performance across these indicators was mixed, with drops in some areas offset by raised scores in others, compared to the previous year. It is worth noting that an increased score does not always lead to an increase in places, since rankings are relative and other universities whose scores increased more would push UCT's performance down. The research category (volume, income and reputation) also saw an improvement in the research reputation survey score, indicating UCT's growing reputation among leading international academics, and in the ratio of papers to academic staff score. The citations category (research influence) score, which measures the number of times a piece of research is cited, also improved. Scores increased too in the teaching category (the learning environment): both in the ratio of students to academic staff and the ratio of international income to academic staff. In the international outlook category (international staff, students and research collaborations) the co-authorship score improved, evidence that UCT's collaboration with international partners is flourishing. In the teaching category (the learning environment) UCT's score decreased slightly, which led to a significant drop in places. In the research category UCT dropped in the ratio of research income to academic staff score. In the international outlook category (international staff, students and research collaborations), UCT dropped a few places due to the decline in the number of international students and staff. Given the significant impact of international students and staff on institutional life and campus diversity, as well as university income, UCT is working hard to find innovative ways to redress this. The University of Oxford leads the THE rankings for the fifth consecutive year, followed by Stanford University in second spot and Harvard University in third place. Read more about the THE World University Rankings 2021 methodology. View the results of the THE World University Rankings 2021.