UK Stem universities dominate world rankings

Three of the top five universities in the world specialising in Stem subjects are in the UK, according to higher education advisor Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)

UK universities specialising in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) dominate the QS World Rankings for 2014, as global interest in STEM research grows.  

According to higher education advisor Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), three of the world's top five universities for Stem subjects were in the UK, with six UK institutions in the global top 20. The top university was Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the third consecutive year, with the University of Cambridge and Imperial College equal second. The Imperial College rose from fifth place last year, boasting the biggest leap in the top ten.

Harvard University placed fourth, dropping two places, and UCL College London and Oxford equal fifth. The rest of the top ten included Stanford, Caltech, Princeton, with Yale dropping two places to tenth.

Harvard University previously topped the overall QS World University Rankings every year from 2004-2011.

And King's College London, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Bristol and the University of Manchester made it into the top 30 overall QS World University Rankings, based on their science credentials.

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QS research head, Ben Sowter, said: "In the wake of the recession, both governments and private sector funding sources have been putting a greater emphasis on high-impact Stem research, much of which takes place in specialist institutions such as MIT, Imperial College and Caltech."

"Tech-focused institutions are increasingly the focal point of a global race for innovation."

In the report Danny Byrne, editor of, said universities focusing on Stem subjects have been particularly successful at meeting the challenge of balancing "research excellence with small sizes and comprehensive internationalisation".

Stem institutions in Switzerland ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne ranked 12th and 17th, meaning a quarter of the top 20 universities were Stem-focused.

France's Ecole Polytechnique ParisTech climbed six places to 35th, Singapore's Nanyang Technological University climbed two places to 39th, and South Korea's KAIST rose nine places to 51st.

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