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Singapore—In this year’s Times Higher Education Rankings, the National University of Singapore (NUS) has gone down two spots, while Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has gone up by three places.

The list of the world’s top universities was published on September 11, Wednesday. The number one spot was taken by the United Kingdom’s University of Oxford, followed by the United States’ California Institute of Technology, which went up three places from last year to become this year’s runner-up. At numbers three to five, respectively, are the University of Cambridge (UK),  Stanford University (US), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US).

Sixty of the top 200 universities come from the US, with 10 of them from the state of California.

The UK, on the other hand, has not fared as well. “The University of CambridgeImperial College London, UCL, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the University of Edinburgh – the UK’s next highest-ranked universities – have all dropped by one place. Overall, 18 of the 28 UK institutions ranked in the top 200 of the table have declined since last year.”

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In Asia, the top two universities are from China—Tsinghua University, ranked at 23, and Beijing University, ranked at 24. These two institutions come just before NUS, now ranked 25th worldwide.

Last year, NUS ranked 24th in world reputation rankings, and was number two in Asia.

The NUS ranked high for the categories of international outlook (95.5), research (90.4), and engineering and technology (89.3), and received an overall score of 81.5.

In the meantime, NTU rose three spots and is now ranked 48th on this year’s Times Higher Education Rankings. It was named the world’s fastest-rising young university by Times Higher Education. Like NUS, NTU also scored well in international outlook (95.1) and engineering and technology (86.6). It received an overall score of 72.9.

The Straits Times (ST) quotes Ellie Bothwell, Times Higher Education (THE) rankings editor, as saying, “Singapore still punches well above its weight in global higher education.

For such a small nation, to have two universities in the global top 50 is a fantastic achievement. However, NUS’ slip to third place in Asia shows that even Singapore – which invests heavily in its leading universities – is not immune to the rise of China.

Singapore is well placed to continue to perform extremely well in this new and highly competitive global higher education environment, but must be willing to make the necessary investments and form the necessary strategic partnerships with international institutions.”

According to Phil Baty, Times Higher Education (THE) chief knowledge officer, it’s not a question of diminished performance on NUS’ part.

“It is simply the case that China’s top two universities continue to make extraordinary gains, fuelled by decades of reform and investment, huge increases in research productivity, but more recently also in research quality and some important international collaborations.

The differences between the three Asian powerhouses of Tsinghua, Beijing and NUS are very slight.”

A spokesman for NUS was also quoted by ST, who said, “As Singapore’s flagship university, we remain focused on our mission of educating, inspiring and transforming in the areas of teaching, research and entrepreneurship, as we strive to make positive contributions to Singapore and the global community.”

According to NTU’s president Subra Suresh, “While the NTU community is pleased with its rapidly growing reputation around the globe by very different metrics and assessments, we are primarily driven by our passionate pursuit of impactful work in education, research and innovation.” -/TISG

Read related: NUS slips to second place in Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings

NUS slips to second place in Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings


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