The Times Higher Education launched its annual Asia University Rankings in Delhi yesterday, which confirms Japan as the number one nation in the rankings and rewards China’s big research investments with three new institutions entering the table. Here are nine things the table taught us this year:

  1. With 20 universities, Japan still has the most institutions in the rankings, with UTokyo maintaining its first place – but the country actually counts two fewer universities than last year.
  2. China’s powerhouse research and development is still growing by about 18% annually; the country now delivers 2.6 million university degrees a year; and in 2010 it accounted for about a quarter of the world’s 5.5 million science and engineering degrees. China now has 18 universities on the list, up from 15 last year.
  3. South Korea comes third with 14 universities, including three in the top 10 and it looks like the 4% of its gross domestic product it invested in research and development in 2011 is finally paying off. Two of the Republic’s universities, Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech) and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist), are also ranked in the Top 100 under 50.
  4. Taiwan is four universities down this year with a total of 13.
  5. India has dramatically improved since last year and is now placing 10 universities in the top 100, up from three last year.
  6. Singapore only places two universities but both are highly ranked: the National University of Singapore (NUS) retains its second position and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) stays 11th.
  7. Times Higher Education other list, the World University Rankings, remains dominated by North America and Western Europe for now but according to THE Editor Phil Baty, “by Western standards, the scale and speed of Asia’s development in higher education and research is staggering,” which testifies of Asia’s strong progress over the last few years.
  8. Iran’s research output is expanding rapidly despite economic sanctions, with its share of the world’s research paper growing from 0.2% in 2000 to 1.3% in 2009. The country has three universities in the top 100.
  9. Turkey has maintained five universities in the rankings and two of them, Istanbul Technical University and Boğaziçi University have gained significant ground.

Pic: The National University of Singapore retained its second place.

Find the full Times Higher Education 2014 Asia University Rankings here.