Six UK unis rank in world top 20, but research status slips
Cambridge leads the way at No. 3, but expert warns low investment in higher education threatens ranking
A RECORD number of British colleges have made it into the top 20 of an authoritative league table of the world's leading universities.
Although Cambridge slipped back one place to No. 3 in the QS World University Rankings - it fell behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at No. 1 and Harvard at No. 2 - several UK colleges improved their position or made it into the top 20 for the first time.
Two London universities, University College London (UCL) and Imperial, were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. They outshone Oxford which also slipped back one place to No. 6.
Edinburgh and King's College London edged into the top 20 this year, ranked 17th and 19th respectively.
Despite the strong showing by British institutions in the top 20, the list of the world's top 100 universities was "dominated" by US colleges, The BBC says. Also cause for concern is that a separate list of universities, ranked according to the amount of research carried out on campus, suggests that UK universities "struggle to keep up with the US when it comes to cutting-edge research".
Only Cambridge made the top 30 for research citations, with UCL, Oxford and Imperial in the top 50.
John O'Leary, the editor of The Times Good University Guide and a member of the QS global academic advisory board, told The Guardian: "The UK invests below the OECD average in higher education, so it is unrealistic to expect its universities to continue to punch above their weight indefinitely. The current success of leading institutions shows how vital it is that the government matches the investments being made by other countries in order to maintain their world-class status."
But O'Leary said the strong showing by British universities in the QS ranking was a "great performance" and added that the list did not reveal any sign of a "much-predicted Asian takeover".
Here is a full list of the top 20 rankings:
1 MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT)
2 HARVARD UNIVERSITY
3 UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
4 UCL (UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON)
5 IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON
6 UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
7 STANFORD UNIVERSITY
8 YALE UNIVERSITY
9 UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
10= CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (CALTECH)
10= PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
12 ETH ZURICH (SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY)
13 UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
14 COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
15 CORNELL UNIVERSITY
16 JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
17= UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
17= UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
19= ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE (EPFL)
19= KING'S COLLEGE LONDON (KCL) ·