Australia and the UK dominate this year’s Times Higher Education ‘Top 100 under 50’ ranking of the world’s best young universities, each with 14 universities on the list. Australia claimed a share of the lead after improving on its 13 universities on the 2013 list as four UK universities dropped out of the top 100.

Although Australia and the UK led on quantity, East Asian universities were well ahead on quality placing three universities in the first five, including Pohang University of Science and Technology, winning first place for the third time in a row.

With almost half of the 100 universities based in Europe, the old continent confirms its young universities are set to maintain the standard of quality it is renowned for. The US has only placed eight universities in the top 100 since 2013, down from nine in 2012; this is in stark contrast to its 46 institutions that make it into the World Reputation rankings.

Swiss École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology retained second, third and fourth place respectively. Nanyang Technological University in Singapore is ranked fifth.

Brenda Yau, from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), welcomed the results, which demonstrate “the international and community-wide recognition accorded to HKUST.” She said: “The goal of HKUST is not to achieve high rankings. However, they can be seen as a useful tool to measure the University’s performance and identity areas for improvement.”

The University of Newcastle leads in Australia, climbing 13 spaces up from last year, and the University of Western Sydney made the list for the first time.

The 100 Under 50, now in their third time running, is by nature changing every year as institutions are getting ‘older,’ with this year’s rankings considering universities founded in 1964 and after. Some institutions have made their mark and even improved, such as Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), which has climbed 11 places over the past two years – taking a fifth position in this year’s rankings.

NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson, was particularly pleased with the presence of East Asian universities at the top of the rankings. He said:

“With four out of top five young universities coming from this region, the Asian tigers have plenty to roar about. This is an important trend because it represents a shift in the global balance of knowledge – and knowledge is power. It shows that Asia is closing the gap with the West in knowledge creation and innovation.”

Times Higher Education employs 13 separate indicators for its 100 Under 50 rankings, as it does for the World University Rankings, although the methodology is adapted to reflect the special characteristics of younger universities.

With Asia and Australia placing many universities in this year’s rankings and the US failing to make its mark; is this where the future of higher education lies?

2014 Rank

Founded

Institution

Country / Region

1

1986

Pohang University of Science and Technology

Korea, Republic Of

2

1968

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Switzerland

3

1971

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Korea, Republic Of

4

1991

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong

5

1991

Nanyang Technological University

Singapore

6

1976

Maastricht University

Netherlands

7

1965

University of California, Irvine

United States

8

1971

Université Paris-Sud

France

9

1971

Université Pierre et Marie Curie

France

10

1964

Lancaster University

United Kingdom

11

1965

University of California, Santa Cruz

United States

12

1965

University of Warwick

United Kingdom

=13

1965

University of Illinois at Chicago

United States

=13

1990

Pompeu Fabra University

Spain

15

1969

The University of Texas at Dallas

United States

16

1967

Universität Ulm

Germany

=17

1984

City University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

=17

1970

Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7

France

19

1966

University of Calgary

Canada

20

1966

Universität Konstanz

Germany

(Source: Times Higher Education Top 100 Under 50 rankings)