Oxford has retained the top spot in a global league table of universities, but many other British institutions are slipping down the rankings.
Cambridge has fallen from second to third place and Imperial College London from ninth to tenth amid ‘fierce competition’ from Asia, the US and the rest of Europe.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings show that 18 of the 28 British universities in the top 200 have dropped by at least one place since last year.
Oxford has retained the top spot in the global Times Higher Education university rankings
University College London is now in 15th position, down from 14th; the London School of Economics and Political Science is at joint 27th, down from 26th; and the University of Edinburgh is at 30, also slipping a place.
The US provides the bulk of the institutions in the global top ten and top 20. The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has risen from fifth to second position, behind Oxford, which has clung on to the top slot for the fourth year in a row.
The other high-ranking US institutions are Stanford (4th), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (5th), Princeton (6th), Harvard (7th), Yale (8th), and the University of Chicago (9th).
Overall, the US has seven universities in the top ten, 14 in the top 20 and 60 in the top 200. Asia continues to ‘shift the balance of power away’ from Europe, according to the rankings, ‘significantly’ increasing its overall representation. Numbers of institutions in the global top 200 have risen by two to 24.
Cambridge University (pictured) has fallen from second to third place and Imperial College London from ninth to tenth
Phil Baty, from Times Higher Education, said many continental European universities have also ‘stolen a march on leading UK universities’. He said: ‘Bristol, for example, has been leapfrogged by Sorbonne in France and Charite in Berlin.
Glasgow has been pushed down by Lund in Sweden, Helsinki in Finland, Basel in Switzerland, Ecole Polytechnique in France, among others in the US.
‘Oslo and University of Paris have moved ahead of Durham.’ He added: ‘Europe as a whole has not had a particularly strong year.
Eighteen of the 28 British universities in the top 200 have dropped by at least one place since last year
‘But it is clear that many big name UK universities have lost ground to European neighbours – and that’s even before Brexit brings a wide range of predicted blows to the UK university sector, in terms of lost access to talent, collaborations and funding.’
The Times Higher Education rankings include more than 1,300 universities from 92 countries. They are based on factors such as volume and reputation of research, staff to student ratios, proportion of international students and the views of 21,000 academics.
Mr Baty added: ‘It is clear that the UK’s standing among academics the world over, at least for its reputation for good teaching, is under threat.’