Largest-ever world university rankings by subject show increased global competition

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LONDON, June 29, 2012/PRNewswire/AsiaNet Pakistan –

Several new challengers to the established global hierarchy are revealed in 2012 QS World University Rankings by Subject, the largest set of rankings of its kind ever compiled.

MIT and Harvard both top the table in 11 of the record 29 disciplines covered, ahead of Oxford (3), Stanford (3) and Cambridge (1). Yet it is the performance of universities outside of the traditional US-UK elite that provides the rankings’ main talking point.

Universities from 17 different countries make the top 20 in at least one discipline, spanning five continents: the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Brazil.

Asia accounts for around a quarter of leading institutions in engineering, mathematics, chemistry, and material sciences. University of Tokyo ranks 2nd in civil engineering, while National University of Singapore, Peking University, Hong Kong University and Kyoto University all make the top ten in at least one discipline.

“Global competition to develop research capacity and attract international talent is shaking up the established order”, says QS head of research Ben Sowter. “The financial crisis has eroded the ability of leading universities in the US and UK to monopolize world-class researchers and students”.

Continental Europe’s leading institution is ETH Zurich, ranked 4th in chemical engineering. Germany’s increased research funding through the Excellence Initiative is reflected in strong performances in science and technology, with Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München ranked 12th for physics.

“Countries in Asia, Australasia and parts of western Europe have increased their research budgets in a bid to foster innovation,” says John O’Leary. “The BRIC nations in particular have made higher education central to their plans for economic growth.”

Two Indian institutions appear for the first time in the top 30 for engineering, while China flexes its muscle with top-30 rankings in 17 disciplines. Brazil’s emergence is reflected by top-50 rankings in six subjects for the University of Sao Paolo.

Australian universities make the top ten in 11 subjects, while Toronto University is Canada’s top institution, with five top-ten rankings. 12 UK institutions make the top 20 in at least one of the 29 subjects, though only three of these universities register their best performance in a science or technology discipline.

QS World University Rankings by Subject is based on new data on research citations alongside global surveys of nearly 50,000 academics and graduate employers.

Source: QS Quacquarelli Symonds

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