Cambridge slips to lowest-ever place in world university table

Brexit and the financial squeeze affecting universities appear to be taking a toll on Britain’s universities, with many seeing their rankings in international league tables tumbling for the third year in a row. The Guardian reports.

The latest international university league table compiled by data and research group QS downgrades two-thirds of the 84 UK universities ranked in the top 1,000, following similar declines in 2016 and 2017.

While Oxford was one of the few bright spots – rising from fifth to fourth overall – its ancient rival Cambridge slipped from sixth to seventh, its lowest-ever position, as a result of steadily declining research performance, as measured by citations per member of academic staff.

Ben Sowter, QS’s director of research, said the UK’s weaker performance this year was not a surprise, given the fall in the rankings seen each year since the Brexit vote and with many institutions making cuts due to financial uncertainty.

“To ensure that this privileged situation continues, it is essential that those with the power to do so redouble their efforts to improve teaching capacity so as to reduce the burden on passionate but beleaguered academics, reach a clear conclusion about the fee status of EU students post-Brexit and do their utmost to ensure that the UK remains a part of EU research collaboration frameworks into the future.”

The compilers say the main problems for the UK are an average drop of 41 places in ratings from 44,000 employers around the world and a drop of 34 places in the number of students per staff member.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) retained the top spot for the eighth year, ahead of Stanford University in second and Harvard University in third, whose ranks remained unchanged. However, their success runs counter to the US’s worst-ever overall performance, with just 16% of institutions improving their rank.

Just 12 UK universities improved their position, including Oxford and UCL, which claimed eighth place. The other UK universities in the top 20 were Imperial (nine) and Edinburgh (20), both ranked lower than last year.

Read the full article Cambridge slips to lowest-ever place in world university table 

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