Britain Stakes Its Claim to the Summit as the US and Japan Slip

The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE, October 29, 2015 | Go to article overview

Britain Stakes Its Claim to the Summit as the US and Japan Slip


THE World University Rankings by subject: life sciences results announced. Ellie Bothwell writes

The UK has topped the Times Higher Education ranking for life sciences subjects for the first time, as the US loses ground and Asia records mixed results.

The University of Oxford is in pole position, while the University of Cambridge shares second place with Harvard University. The top five is completed by state rivals Stanford University and the California Institute of Technology.

Although the US has 36 institutions in the top 100 - double the UK's tally - three have fallen out of the table since last year. Its diminishing performance has also affected its top-ranked universities; it is the first time an institution outside the US has taken first place, and the country now has only 11 universities in the top 20, down from 13.

Abigail Fowden, head of the School of Biological Sciences at Cambridge, attributed part of its success to the fact that researchers are encouraged to work across disciplines and to think beyond the university. "Cambridge and the surrounding region has some excellent research institutes and biotech companies as well as allied industry, which can lead to some productive collaborations," she said.

With six places, Switzerland punches well above its weight. Its highest-ranked institution is ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, in 11th place, which has edged closer to the top 10 each year, rising 23 places since 2011.

Detlef Günther, vice-president for research and corporate relations at ETH Zurich, said the university has "three strong pillars to our life sciences research". …

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