Ben HaywardOctober 1st

Almost two thirds of British universities in the top 200 institutions in the world have slipped down the rankings in the last year, with Brexit expected to further damage the UK’s reputation, say experts.

The University of Cambridge has dropped from second to third place in the World University Rankings - overtaken by The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), while a number of leading London universities have also undergone a slide down the table. 

Overall, one fewer UK universities made it into the top 200 in the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings, falling from 29 in 2018 to 28 this year.

UK universities slip down world rankings

A cause for greater concern, of these 28, 18 have dropped by at least one place in the past 12 months, with an increase in competition from Asian institutions and limited relations with industry cited as reasons for the slide among elite institutions. 

In terms of overall representation, Japan has extended its lead over the UK claiming 110 places, up from 103 in 2018, to become the second most represented nation in the rankings.

More positively, the University of Oxford bucked the trend to retain its top position for the fourth year in a row.

However, experts have warned that Brexit could see UK universities slip further down the international rankings as links with other top institutions weaken.


Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at THE, said: “British universities have long been able to attract the most talented academics and students from across the world, but there are signs that this is becoming more difficult ahead of Brexit.

“If the UK starts to withdraw from the international stage its position in the upper echelons of the rankings will suffer.”

The data also revealed that the US continues to top the rankings, boasting 172 institutions in the global league table and 60 in the top 200, reports The Independent. 

As well as Caltech moving up the rankings, the University of Chicago overtook Imperial College London to take ninth place, while the University of St Andrews fell an alarming 33 places (to joint 198th) and Newcastle University dropped out of the elite 200 altogether.


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