Brexit concerns cause UK universities to drop in global rankings

Numerous UK universities have found themselves falling in terms of world university rankings. Experts state that this is caused by the uncertainty around Brexit over research funding and immigration. UK universities have been seeing a fall in terms of university rankings since 2016. Along with University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, King’s College London, and London School of Economics have also dropped by one or two spots. While the performance of many European institutions has declined, namely institutions in France, Portugal, Germany, and Italy, the most significant drop in rankings are in the UK. Fewer UK universities have made it to the top 200 in the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings, the number dropping from 29 last year to 28. UEA also saw a drop in the rankings, falling from 190 in the 2019 rankings to 192 in the 2020 rankings. This relation of UK universities plummeting in rankings is also seen in the QS, another high education thinktank’s rankings. Data from the tables also show that US universities, primarily those which receive substantial private funding, continue to dominate rankings. California Institute of Technology (Caltech) overtook Cambridge to take second place and the University of Chicago overtook Imperial College for ninth place. All the while, it is still UK’s Oxford University that sits in the top spot for four years in a row. “British universities have long been able to attract the most talented academics and students from across the world,” said Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer of the THE, “But there are signs that this is becoming difficult because of Brexit.” Meanwhile, Asian universities continue to make strong progress. Japan has exceeded the UK on overall representation, claiming 110 places, 7 more than the 103 that they had in 2018. They overtake Britain as the second most-represented nation in the world, after the United States.

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Monique Santoso

June 2021
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