Time Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024

< Top 350 World University List can be found at the bottom of this page >

The top five universities in the ranking were: University of Oxford, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and University of Cambridge.

There was some rearrangement among the top tier of universities compared to the 2023 ranking. U of T swapped spots with University of California, Los Angeles, which took 18th place, followed by National University of Singapore and Cornell University.

There has been a noticeable decline in the fortunes of US and UK universities this year, as well as a further slide for European universities. An analysis of six years of data by THE shows that the average rank of US universities has declined from 296 in the 2019 rankings to 348 in the latest edition; the UK’s average rank has also sank but to a lesser extent, from 451 to 477.

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2024 THE Top 38 Word Univesities

Overall, U of T continues to be one of the world’s top-ranked public universities in the five most closely watched international rankings. Other Canadian schools in the top 200 included: University of British Columbia (41st), McGill University (49th), McMaster University (103rd), University of Alberta (109th), Université de Montréal (111th) University of Waterloo (158th) and University of Ottawa (177th).

2024 THE Top Canada Universities

Weaker research quality and reputation ratings, higher student-staff ratios and lower international student and co-authorship scores were the main factors in Australia’s decline this year.

2024 THE Top AUS & NZ Universities


Asia saw the largest rise of all continents in research quality, teaching score, and overall performance in the latest World University Rankings.


It’s China making the biggest impression rather than the West.

China is edging closer to the top 10 and now has two institutions in the top 15 for the first time. Tsinghua and Peking universities both overtake the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University to rank 12th and 14th respectively in this year’s 20th edition of the ranking.

2024 THE Top China HK & Mca Universities

Meanwhile, Japan’s University of Tokyo now outperforms the University of Edinburgh, King’s College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science, after rising 10 places to 29th.

The United Arab Emirates-based University of Sharjah leads the international outlook pillar with a top score of 98.8, while City University of Hong Kong follows closely with 98.7.

India Rises in Global Representation

India’s ascent in the 2024 rankings extends beyond the number of universities featured. India has now risen to become the fourth most well-represented nation, advancing from sixth place in the previous year’s rankings. This upward trajectory reflects the increasing recognition of Indian universities on the global stage.

2024 THE Top Asia Universities


2024 THE Top USA Universities (1)
2024 THE Top USA Universities (1)
2024 THE Top USA Universities (2)
2024 THE Top USA Universities (2)Top 350 World University List
RankNameFull Time Students#Students / Staff% of Int’l StudentsCountry / Region
1University of Oxford21,80010.942.0%UK
2Stanford University14,6006.423.0%USA
3Massachusetts Institute of  Tech11,100833.0%USA
4Harvard University20,100925.0%USA
5University of Cambridge20,60011.538.0%UK
6Princeton University7,8007.323.0%USA
7California Institute of  Tech2,3006.133.0%USA
8Imperial College London20,30011.861.0%UK
9University of California, Berkeley40,00017.922.0%USA
10Yale University12,0005.221.0%USA
11ETH Zurich22,70015.443.0%Switzerland
12Tsinghua University38,60011.210.0%China
13The University of Chicago15,8006.236.0%USA
14Peking University33,10010.914.0%China
15Johns Hopkins University15,8004.128.0%USA
16University of Pennsylvania21,4006.222.0%USA
17Columbia University26,0005.235.0%USA
18University of California, Los Angeles42,7009.615.0%USA
19National University of Singapore33,4002024.0%Singapore
20Cornell University23,7001024.0%USA
21University of Toronto79,30025.827.0%Canada
23University of Michigan-Ann Arbor45,8008.116.0%USA
24Carnegie Mellon University13,60011.944.0%USA
25University of Washington49,50010.116.0%USA
26Duke University15,6003.918.0%USA
27New York University48,50011.842.0%USA
28Northwestern University18,90013.118.0%USA
29The University of Tokyo26,40010.315.0%Japan
30University of Edinburgh34,00011.546.0%UK
30Technical University of Munich35,60044.439.0%Germany
32Nanyang Technological University, Singapore25,90016.727.0%Singapore
33École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne12,60013.564.0%Switzerland
34University of California, San Diego40,6001219.0%USA
35University of Hong Kong18,20018.343.0%Hong Kong
36Georgia Institute of  Tech32,1002829.0%USA
37University of Melbourne51,40025.147.0%Australia
38King’s College London32,90013.953.0%UK
38LMU Munich34,70033.518.0%Germany
40Paris Scs et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris16,2001522.0%France
41University of British Columbia59,00019.434.0%Canada
42University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign50,30019.623.0%USA
43Shanghai Jiao Tong University38,50012.69.0%China
44Fudan University38,20012.69.0%China
45KU Leuven49,50037.319.0%Belgium
46London School of Economics & Political Sc12,00012.672.0%UK
47Universität Heidelberg19,40013.320.0%Germany
48Delft University of  Tech21,30015.930.0%Netherlands
49McGill University30,90011.929.0%Canada
50Karolinska Institute8,1009.927.0%Sweden
51University of Manchester40,80015.645.0%UK
52University of Texas at Austin48,60016.48.0%USA
53Chinese University of Hong Kong18,30018.825.0%Hong Kong
54Monash University58,50043.138.0%Australia
55Kyoto University21,900911.0%Japan
55Zhejiang University48,2001216.0%China
57University of Sc &  Tech of China20,3008.15.0%China
58Université Paris-Saclay31,7001324.0%France
59University of California, Davis38,00013.318.0%USA
60The University of Sydney57,50023.151.0%Australia
61University of Amsterdam28,70013.236.0%Netherlands
62Seoul National University28,70016.113.0%South Korea
63University of Wisconsin-Madison41,3009.913.0%USA
64Brown University9,80010.319.0%USA
64Wageningen University & Research15,90018.128.0%Netherlands
64The Hong Kong University of Sc &  Tech9,80019.930.0%Hong Kong
67Australian National University17,30015.148.0%Australia
68Washington University in St Louis13,9007.322.0%USA
69University of California, Santa Barbara25,60027.518.0%USA
70The University of Queensland42,90039.142.0%Australia
71Institut Polytechnique de Paris6,1006.842.0%France
72University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill30,8007.78.0%USA
73Nanjing University36,80016.78.0%China
74University of Southern California44,10014.224.0%USA
75Sorbonne University41,60014.522.0%France
76Yonsei University (Seoul campus)19,00013.917.0%South Korea
77Leiden University35,10019.321.0%Netherlands
78Boston University26,70010.829.0%USA
79University of Groningen32,00028.829.0%Netherlands
80University of Zurich25,70014.724.0%Switzerland
81University of Bristol27,40014.831.0%UK
82City University of Hong Kong9,10013.267.0%Hong Kong
83Korea Advanced Institute of Sc &  Tech (KAIST)10,20010.78.0%South Korea
84UNSW Sydney47,10036.640.0%Australia
85University of Minnesota59,60011.89.0%USA
86Purdue University West Lafayette42,70018.317.0%USA
87University of Glasgow32,30014.443.0%UK
87Hong Kong Polytechnic University20,10030.630.0%Hong Kong
87Humboldt University of Berlin34,80054.518.0%Germany
90RWTH Aachen University35,00043.329.0%Germany
91University of Bonn26,30044.517.0%Germany
92University of California, Irvine35,70016.226.0%USA
92Vanderbilt University13,0003.917.0%USA
94Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin8,90017.521.0%Germany
95Lomonosov Moscow State University32,7009.637.0%Russian Federation
95University of Tübingen21,70027.114.0%Germany
97University of Southampton20,0001335.0%UK
97KTH Royal Institute of  Tech13,30015.926.0%Sweden
99Ohio State University (Main campus)55,60011.411.0%USA
99Erasmus University Rotterdam33,9003625.0%Netherlands
101University of Birmingham32,70015.232.0%UK
102Free University of Berlin25,50041.520.0%Germany
103University of Copenhagen31,8004.314.0%Denmark
103McMaster University28,30030.922.0%Canada
105University of Sheffield27,90015.440.0%UK
106Emory University13,200419.0%USA
106University of Warwick25,00014.444.0%UK
106Lund University30,4001218.0%Sweden
109Aarhus University27,00013.59.0%Denmark
109University of Alberta33,80022.827.0%Canada
111University of Göttingen23,40027.414.0%Germany
111University of Montreal40,00020.522.0%Canada
111University of Adelaide23,80036.431.0%Australia
114University of Maryland, College Park34,000179.0%USA
115Ghent University41,50037.612.0%Belgium
116Michigan State University44,60016.111.0%USA
116University of Bern12,40018.216.0%Switzerland
118Texas A&M University64,50020.56.0%USA
119Rice University7,4009.826.0%USA
119University of Vienna31,40037.431.0%Austria
121University of Helsinki22,90015.95.0%Finland
122Penn State (Main campus)45,90014.215.0%USA
123University of Massachusetts63,50013.314.0%USA
123University of Basel8,60010.431.0%Switzerland
125Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam31,80019.218.0%Netherlands
126Technical University of Denmark10,5007.728.0%Denmark
127University of Oslo21,00012.515.0%Norway
128University of Freiburg19,50034.417.0%Germany
129University of Leeds33,50014.432.0%UK
130University of Nottingham33,6001627.0%UK
130Tohoku University17,50011.812.0%Japan
132University of Florida48,20016.79.0%USA
133University of Rochester9,9007.334.0%USA
134Trinity College Dublin18,80022.234.0%Ireland
135Queen Mary University of London22,30014.645.0%UK
136University of Hamburg29,30058.513.0%Germany
136Technical University of Berlin20,50049.629.0%Germany
138University of Colorado Boulder35,90016.58.0%USA
138Maastricht University21,40019.657.0%Netherlands
140Uppsala University24,80013.317.0%Sweden
140Radboud University Nijmegen23,10018.212.0%Netherlands
140Karlsruhe Institute of  Tech21,50020.525.0%Germany
143University of Lausanne14,50010.523.0%Switzerland
143The University of Western Australia19,40022.426.0%Australia
145University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campus26,4005.410.0%USA
145Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)23,50019.419.0%South Korea
147University of York19,60016.131.0%UK
148University of  Tech Sydney28,30037.425.0%Australia
149Pohang University of Sc &  Tech (POSTECH)3,30010.55.0%South Korea
150University of Auckland35,70024.431.0%New Zealand
150Sichuan University49,20015.95.0%China
152National Taiwan University (NTU)24,80011.113.0%Taiwan
152University of Barcelona44,40015.311.0%Spain
152Université Paris Cité61,70016.918.0%France
155University of Arizona45,60019.97.0%USA
155Lancaster University15,40013.938.0%UK
155University of Bologna74,20024.711.0%Italy
158Huazhong University of Sc &  Tech57,70015.54.0%China
158University of Waterloo37,00024.223.0%Canada
160University of Cologne31,30028.717.0%Germany
161Dartmouth College6,3007.416.0%USA
161TU Dresden29,80029.417.0%Germany
161University of Antwerp16,20031.817.0%Belgium
164Case Western Reserve University10,3008.825.0%USA
164Wuhan University56,100155.0%China
166University of Virginia (Main campus)26,0008.911.0%USA
167University of Cape Town22,00013.613.0%South Africa
168University of Liverpool26,00014.232.0%UK
168Newcastle University25,70014.826.0%UK
168Eindhoven University of  Tech10,70021.427.0%Netherlands
168Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa7007.411.0%Italy
168Harbin Institute of  Tech31,00010.66.0%China
168Université Catholique de Louvain25,50037.320.0%Belgium
174Durham University19,6001432.0%UK
175Osaka University22,30010.410.0%Japan
175University of Würzburg23,70038.312.0%Germany
177University of Exeter27,20016.628.0%UK
177Beijing Normal University26,50014.49.0%China
177University of Ottawa38,40027.226.0%Canada
180Macquarie University30,40051.722.0%Australia
181Sapienza University of Rome60,60022.29.0%Italy
182Arizona State University (Tempe)48,90019.714.0%USA
183University of Geneva18,9008.440.0%Switzerland
184University of Twente10,00013.938.0%Netherlands
185Stockholm University29,80020.313.0%Sweden
185Tongji University31,70011.315.0%China
187Georgetown University17,60010.118.0%USA
187University of Mannheim7,50057.114.0%Germany
189Chalmers University of  Tech10,20015.417.0%Sweden
190Cardiff University28,9001527.0%UK
191Tufts University11,70010.516.0%USA
191Tokyo Institute of  Tech10,0009.617.0%Japan
193University of St Andrews10,40012.446.0%UK
193University of Macau11,00018.641.0%Macao
193University of Erlangen-Nuremberg29,50041.913.0%Germany
193University of Münster27,60025.15.0%Germany
193Ulm University10,40026.413.0%Germany
198Indiana University66,40012.312.0%USA
199University of Notre Dame12,60010.912.0%USA
199Ulsan National Institute of Sc &  Tech (UNIST)3,80011.89.0%South Korea
199Queensland University of  Tech35,20037.914.0%Australia
201–250University of California, Santa Cruz19,20024.212.0%USA
201–250George Washington University22,3001314.0%USA
201–250University of Hawai’i at Mānoa15,00011.310.0%USA
201–250University of Illinois Chicago28,90011.418.0%USA
201–250University of Iowa28,60010.96.0%USA
201–250University of Miami17,10010.414.0%USA
201–250Northeastern University, US22,30014.132.0%USA
201–250Rutgers University – New Brunswick46,30011.217.0%USA
201–250University of Utah31,60013.38.0%USA
201–250Abu Dhabi University2,60010.960.0%United Arab Emirates
201–250University of Aberdeen12,80015.340.0%UK
201–250University of Leicester14,00013.931.0%UK
201–250Queen’s University Belfast20,90017.241.0%UK
201–250University of Reading16,00016.631.0%UK
201–250University of Sussex17,70017.334.0%UK
201–250University of Gothenburg21,70011.913.0%Sweden
201–250Autonomous University of Barcelona33,00013.213.0%Spain
201–250Pompeu Fabra University12,20022.713.0%Spain
201–250Korea University22,40016.331.0%South Korea
201–250King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals6,9008.515.0%Saudi Arabia
201–250Moscow Institute of Physics &  Tech (MIPT)6,20011.621.0%Russian Federation
201–250Tilburg University13,30032.221.0%Netherlands
201–250University of Luxembourg5,60021.349.0%Luxembourg
201–250Nagoya University15,3001312.0%Japan
201–250University of Padua44,50026.57.0%Italy
201–250Politecnico di Milano39,00025.719.0%Italy
201–250Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa8007.420.0%Italy
201–250Tel Aviv University25,00024.25.0%Israel
201–250University College Dublin23,50020.725.0%Ireland
201–250Indian Institute of Sc4,5009.61.0%India
201–250Friedrich Schiller University Jena16,10018.914.0%Germany
201–250Goethe University Frankfurt28,60014.514.0%Germany
201–250University of Potsdam14,40038.116.0%Germany
201–250Aalto University14,50020.423.0%Finland
201–250Aalborg University17,30014.912.0%Denmark
201–250Southern University of Sc &  Tech (SUSTech)6,60091.0%China
201–250Sun Yat-sen University61,50015.25.0%China
201–250Tianjin University26,5008.913.0%China
201–250University of Calgary34,10018.824.0%Canada
201–250Western University30,2003324.0%Canada
201–250University of São Paulo83,20013.92.0%Brazil
201–250Université Libre de Bruxelles30,30051.730.0%Belgium
201–250Vrije Universiteit Brussel15,00035.123.0%Belgium
201–250Medical University of Graz4,10015.529.0%Austria
201–250Medical University of Vienna7,3008.430.0%Austria
201–250Curtin University29,30020.829.0%Australia
201–250University of Newcastle24,70031.316.0%Australia
201–250Swinburne University of  Tech14,40028.524.0%Australia
201–250University of Wollongong16,40026.122.0%Australia
251–300Boston College13,20014.910.0%USA
251–300Brandeis University4,80011.633.0%USA
251–300University of California, Riverside25,70019.614.0%USA
251–300Florida State University39,90024.66.0%USA
251–300North Carolina State University31,40015.911.0%USA
251–300University of South Florida40,4001913.0%USA
251–300Stony Brook University25,90010.519.0%USA
251–300Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University37,30018.613.0%USA
251–300Khalifa University3,3009.341.0%United Arab Emirates
251–300University of Bath15,30015.831.0%UK
251–300University of East Anglia16,50014.321.0%UK
251–300Loughborough University16,20013.925.0%UK
251–300University of Surrey14,70016.333.0%UK
251–300Swansea University18,60016.821.0%UK
251–300Università della Svizzera italiana3,8001467.0%Switzerland
251–300Linköping University15,30014.915.0%Sweden
251–300Kyung Hee University20,50017.630.0%South Korea
251–300Sejong University11,70018.915.0%South Korea
251–300King Abdulaziz University60,60013.93.0%Saudi Arabia
251–300Qatar University10,1008.436.0%Qatar
251–300University of Bergen15,8001311.0%Norway
251–300University of Malaya19,40010.222.0%Malaysia
251–300Macau University of Sc &  Tech14,10041.892.0%Macao
251–300Humanitas University2,00017.918.0%Italy
251–300Vita-Salute San Raffaele University4,10013.95.0%Italy
251–300RCSI University of Medicine & Health Scs2,80023.967.0%Ireland
251–300Semmelweis University10,00012.837.0%Hungary
251–300Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf28,20030.113.0%Germany
251–300University of Hohenheim8,40037.714.0%Germany
251–300Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz30,80024.111.0%Germany
251–300University of Konstanz7,60034.511.0%Germany
251–300Ruhr University Bochum37,80046.716.0%Germany
251–300University of Stuttgart15,20025.320.0%Germany
251–300Technical University of Darmstadt15,9003719.0%Germany
251–300École Normale Supérieure de Lyon2,1007.911.0%France
251–300Lappeenranta-Lahti University of  Tech LUT5,10031.614.0%Finland
251–300University of Oulu10,80020.88.0%Finland
251–300University of Southern Denmark18,3009.913.0%Denmark
251–300Beijing Institute of  Tech34,10013.48.0%China
251–300Nankai University31,50011.77.0%China
251–300South China University of  Tech40,50012.66.0%China
251–300Xi’an Jiaotong University45,80014.77.0%China
251–300Université Laval30,40017.916.0%Canada
251–300Queen’s University27,10025.916.0%Canada
251–300Simon Fraser University27,30026.831.0%Canada
251–300Medical University of Innsbruck3,40012.944.0%Austria
251–300TU Wien11,4001931.0%Austria
251–300Deakin University41,00032.718.0%Australia
251–300Griffith University34,80031.615.0%Australia
251–300La Trobe University19,20028.229.0%Australia
251–300RMIT University32,6002434.0%Australia
251–300University of Tasmania16,90022.531.0%Australia
301–350University at Buffalo27,10017.212.0%USA
301–350Drexel University17,0001115.0%USA
301–350Oregon Health & Sc University3,0000.93.0%USA
301–350The University of Tennessee-Knoxville28,400173.0%USA
301–350Washington State University28,90018.86.0%USA
301–350United Arab Emirates University8,20012.618.0%United Arab Emirates
301–350University of Dundee14,20018.125.0%UK
301–350University of Essex15,6001641.0%UK
301–350Royal Holloway, University of London11,30016.131.0%UK
301–350St George’s, University of London3,80013.118.0%UK
301–350University of Strathclyde20,40016.325.0%UK
301–350China Medical University, Taiwan7,20014.77.0%Taiwan
301–350Swedish University of Agricultural Scs4,5004.78.0%Sweden
301–350University of Navarra12,00014.326.0%Spain
301–350Hanyang University19,40013.221.0%South Korea
301–350Stellenbosch University25,20025.77.0%South Africa
301–350University of the Witwatersrand27,80024.47.0%South Africa
301–350Norwegian University of Sc &  Tech37,900159.0%Norway
301–350University of Otago19,40020.616.0%New Zealand
301–350Universiti Teknologi Petronas4,60013.112.0%Malaysia
301–350Kyushu University18,3007.713.0%Japan
301–350Catholic University of the Sacred Heart28,90039.17.0%Italy
301–350University of Pavia17,80031.59.0%Italy
301–350University of Rome II – Tor Vergata18,5002420.0%Italy
301–350Hebrew University of Jerusalem19,3008.95.0%Israel
301–350University of Galway15,80026.116.0%Ireland
301–350University College Cork18,60021.116.0%Ireland
301–350Sharif University of  Tech9,40021.82.0%Iran
301–350Hong Kong Baptist University7,50010.255.0%Hong Kong
301–350University of Bremen12,30019.513.0%Germany
301–350University of Kiel29,50023.98.0%Germany
301–350Université Grenoble Alpes51,30018.417.0%France
301–350Montpellier University40,80020.515.0%France
301–350Tampere University16,30020.77.0%Finland
301–350University of Turku13,60015.76.0%Finland
301–350University of Tartu9,700912.0%Estonia
301–350Copenhagen Business School16,80027.523.0%Denmark
301–350Beihang University32,90012.34.0%China
301–350East China Normal University28,80014.18.0%China
301–350Northwestern Polytechnical University36,80014.54.0%China
301–350Southeast University39,70012.44.0%China
301–350Xiamen University44,80015.12.0%China
301–350Dalhousie University17,40014.727.0%Canada
301–350University of Liège23,60029.220.0%Belgium
301–350University of Innsbruck15,40023.748.0%Austria
301–350Flinders University17,50029.433.0%Australia
301–350University of South Australia22,90030.217.0%Australia
301–350Western Sydney University35,60041.821.0%Australia
351–400Aix-Marseille University73,00017.314.0%France


Methodology – How World University Rankings are Made?

Times Higher Education has unveiled its World University Rankings for 2024, encompassing 1,900 universities from across 100 countries and regions. The table has been constructed based on the newly introduced WUR 3.0 methodology, which meticulously assesses an institution’s performance in five key areas: teaching, research environment, research quality, industry engagement, and international outlook.

Times Higher Education also measures the international outlook of universities, the number of students compared to the university staff, and how universities are perceived globally.

It also takes into account the reputation of research done by universities and how often papers produced by universities were quoted around the world.

This year’s rankings have been drawn from more than 134 million citations sourced from 16.5 million research publications. Additionally, the rankings incorporate valuable insights from 68,400 scholars worldwide. In total, a staggering  411,789 data points were collected from over 2,670 institutions that actively participated in the data submission process. )

Australia Rankings 2024

Results from the 2024 edition suggest that the pandemic damaged the business model that had buttressed Australia’s seemingly irrepressible buoyancy in the rankings. Border closures undermined universities’ ability to harvest overseas tuition fees to compensate for shortfalls in research funding, while diluting the international mix of staff and students.

Covid-induced redundancies also exerted upward pressure on student-staff ratios that were already high by global standards. Tweaks to the ranking methodology and updates to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation data that inform the distribution and country weightings of the reputation survey that determines one-third of the ranking scores also denied Australian universities crucial points in the competition for the highest spots.

Australia’s top universities have slipped down the world’s most prestigious academic league table, with every institution in the top 200 recording a lower rank than 12 months ago.

The slide down the Times Higher Education rankings comes after an overhaul of the methodology used to score universities, but analysts say Australia’s poor performance is because of a research funding shortfall as well as student to staff ratios, which are among the worst in the world.

The University of Sydney dropped six places to rank 60th in the world; behind the University of Melbourne, which dropped three places to 37th on the list; and Monash University, which dropped 10 places to 54th.

Australian National University dropped five places to 67th spot; the University of NSW dropped 13 places to 84th; and the University of Technology, Sydney dropped 15 places to rank 148th.

Times Higher Education chief global affairs officer Phil Baty said Australian universities had been outpaced by research investment of other institutions while a drop-off in international students from 30 to 26 per cent meant revenue and consequentially research funding had taken a hit.

“We’ve seen the rise of mainland Chinese and east Asian universities … Australia does not have the same level of the same drive and level of commitment,” he said.

The University of Sydney is among the best 60 universities in the world – just –but it has slipped in the rankings.

“In addition, while the rankings show Australia has historically very high levels of research quality, current figures show a relative under-investment in research, which sends a clear red-light warning.”

The student-to-staff ratio in Australian universities is among the worst in the world, with the index finding they are in the bottom 15 per cent of the 1900 institutions assessed.

“Student ratios were already low, but it has become lower because of a spate of redundancies at universities over the past few years,” Baty said.

Many leading UK universities remain over-reliant on China, despite the risk to such ties from geopolitical tensions.

September 27, 2023. Patrick Jack

UK researchers rely on Chinese collaborators for nearly a quarter of all outputs in some key fields, Times Higher Education World University Rankings data shows.

Analysis of Elsevier bibliometrics shows that UK- and China-based academics co-authored 24,000 research papers in 2022, representing 10.9 per cent of the UK’s total publications. This was up from 7.1 per cent in 2018.

However, in certain key disciplines the reliance on China was much greater. In engineering, Chinese collaborations accounted for 23.5 per cent of all UK outputs in 2022, up from 16.5 per cent five years previously.

Across the physical sciences, such partnerships made up 17.6 per cent of UK output last year.

Citing Clarivate data, the King’s report identified a range of more narrow subject areas where Chinese collaboration is even more prominent: for example, 45.5 per cent of UK research papers on automation control systems published between 2017 and 2021 in 21,000 leading journals had a China-based co-author.

Telecommunications, electrical engineering, artificial intelligence and information systems all had Chinese collaboration rates of between 30 and 40 per cent.

UK research institutions would face significant damage if they disengaged from China, and that “no viable alternative partner exists to fill the gap”.

It said that ministers and intelligence agencies needed to produce “clearer guidance” for “universities to maintain scientific collaboration and intellectual exchange with China for as long as the geopolitical context permits and it remains in the national interest”.

As the world’s largest spender on research and development, China was a vital partner in scientific research.

With the US and China locked in an intensifying contest for technological leadership that is already drawing in the UK and many other countries, the chances that the global scientific endeavour will be disrupted by geopolitics have risen sharply over the last two years.

Assessing and mitigating the impact of such disruption is a critical responsibility of university leaders and policymakers as they contemplate a global knowledge economy that could begin to deglobalise at pace.

Nevertheless, the continued concentration of Chinese doctoral students in high-tariff institutions, as well as Chinese nationals working in research in these institutions with links to Chinese research institutions, suggests that high levels of UK-Chinese co-authorship are likely to continue.

This highlights the need for institutions to look at how to diversify their research partnerships in particular areas, and for sector-wide institutions to adopt a strategic and long-term approach, including undertaking further analysis of where de-risking is necessary and supporting actions that can be taken.