The Times Higher Education University rankings 2013-2014 have been published today and with them come stark warnings for British universities.
Whilst Oxford and Cambridge have managed to stay in the top 10, many UK universities have slipped down the rankings. The universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield, Warwick, Southampton, Nottingham and Newcastle; all Russell Group universities hailed for their commitments to research have lost ground this year.
The Times Higher Education rankings are based around 13 performance indicators which are grouped into 5 areas.
- Teaching: the learning environment (worth 30 per cent of the overall ranking score)
- Research: volume, income and reputation (worth 30 per cent)
- Citations: research influence (worth 30 per cent)
- Industry income: innovation (worth 2.5 per cent)
- International outlook: staff, students and research (worth 7.5 per cent).
So what has happened over the past year that could have contributed to this slip?
Lack of investment: Whilst the Government may have protected research funding for another year, we fall way behind the US, Japan and China for investment in higher education. This is something that has been happening for some time and it that seems that past university rankings may have been artificially buoyed by international reputation alone.
A failure to attract international students: The Governments obsession with tougher immigration policies has adversely affected the numbers of International students. Figures from earlier this year showed a contraction of as much as 23% of International students. As International outlook and diversity is one of the Key Performance Indicators, it is unsurprising that our university rankings have taken a hit!
The changing face of International economies: The Times higher education rankings have always been a ‘rich list’ made up of power houses such as the US, UK and Western Europe. As that power shifts indiscriminately towards the east, we will no doubt see a greater representation of Middle East, Asian and South American universities.
What does the future hold?
Without significant investment in higher education facilities and teaching staff we could see a slow but steady decline in our international rankings. However the extent of that decline may be tempered by our own economic recovery which will hopefully lead to greater investment as budgets regain some buoyancy, only time will tell!
To find out more you can download your free copy of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-2014 supplement here