Universities from London and the south east are flying the flag for the UK in the list of the world’s top institutions.
The Times Higher Education rankings for 2014 include 29 UK universities in the top 200, and 45 in the top 400, making the country second only to the US for world-class universities.
But the league’s editor, Phil Baty, noted alarm that the UK’s representation is decreasing, and that so many top-ranked universities come from the so-called “golden triangle” of Oxford, Cambridge and London.
“While the UK continues to punch above its weight in the global rankings, with more top-200 universities than any other nation except the US, and while the elite institutions remain highly competitive at the top of the global rankings, this new data raises a number of key concerns,” he said.
“Overall, the UK’s representation among the world’s leading universities is declining – three leading names fell out of the top 200 this year, and two others occupy 198th and 199th place. Five UK universities lost their top 400 places. This loss of power and influence is not good for the UK’s overall competitiveness in the global knowledge economy.”
The University of Oxford slipped one place in the rankings from second equal to third and the University of Cambridge climbed two places to fifth.
Other highly-ranked universities were Imperial College London (9), University College London (22), and London School of Economics and Political Science (34).
California Institute of Technology retained its top slot, with authors noting the rise of Asian institutions. There are 24 Asian universities in the top 200.