Intellectual Capital: London Beats Japan and Outruns Regions: News:WorldUniversityRankings

Article excerpt

Good news for 'golden triangle' in global rankings, but fears grow that the results reflect growing UK inequality. Elizabeth Gibney reports.

While universities in London go from strength to strength, power may be draining from the UK regions, analysis of the 2013-14 Times Higher Education World University Rankings suggests.

The UK has maintained its global position, with 14 institutions climbing, 14 falling and three static in the top 200, but the picture masks considerable changes on geographical lines.

Universities within London, Oxford and Cambridge - the "golden triangle" - have risen by six places on average, compared with a fall of two places among institutions in the rest of the country.

As the universities of Oxford and Cambridge maintain their 2012-13 positions (joint second and seventh, respectively), the London School of Economics climbs seven places to 32nd and King's College London jumps from 57th to 38th. Two other institutions in the capital gain ground: Royal Holloway, University of London climbs from 119th to 102nd, and Queen Mary, University of London rises from joint 145th to joint 114th. Bucking the trend are Imperial College London (down two places to 10th) and University College London (which drops four places to 21st).

Meanwhile, losing ground are the universities of Edinburgh (39th, down from 32nd), Manchester (58th from 49th), Bristol (79th from 74th), Sheffield (joint 112th from joint 110th) and St Andrews (joint 117th from 108th).

Further down the table, the universities of Sussex, Warwick, Southampton, Aberdeen, Reading and Newcastle all fall by 10 places or more. The University of Nottingham has dropped the most, falling 37 places to joint 157th.

The results mean that London alone boasts six top 200 players, more than Japan, the world's third-largest economy.

Jeremy Kilburn, vice-principal of Queen Mary, attributed his institution's rise to its growing research profile, but he added that this was helped by London's many advantages, including the capital's high employability and rich culture.

"We've probably benefited from the spotlight on Stratford from the Olympics and a general sense that the East End is a 'happening' part of London - plugged into Tech City," he told THE.

Power of inequality

The good news for London is dampened by concerns that the rankings performance may be reflecting growing economic inequality across the country. …