THE World University Rankings

02 October 2014

Commenting on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Russell Group Director General Dr Wendy Piatt, said:

“The UK’s leading universities continue to outperform many of their global competitors, with 11 Russell Group institutions in the top 100. But other universities, particularly those in East Asia, are rapidly catching up, thanks to their governments pumping billions into their best universities.

“Without increased investment and less regulation in coming years, the UK’s best universities might lose their place as world-leaders . The UK’s spending on higher education is already far behind that of other European nations, China and the US – our public expenditure of 0.9% of GDP on higher education is on a par with Israel and Mexico.

“It’s important to remember that no one ranking of universities can capture all the strengths of a particular university, so they shouldn’t be used in isolation to make judgements about the quality of an institution.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Only this week, the Japanese Government announced plans to pump extra funding into the country’s best universities:
  2. According to the OECD report Education at a Glance published in September, the UK’s total investment in higher education is 1.2% of GDP: less than half that of the USA, and below the OECD average. UK public investment in higher education is 0.9% of GDP, below the OECD and EU 21 averages, lower than Brazil, Russia and almost all European countries for which data was available. It is on a par with Israel and Mexico. Read more in the full report.
  3. The UK’s spending on research and development as a proportion of GDP fell from 1.77% in 2011 to 1.72% in 2012. This is well below the EU average of 2.06% in 2012 (up from 2.03% in 2011), the spending of 1.98% by China (up from 1.84% in 2011) and the US investment of 2.79% (up from 2.76% in 2011). Sources: and
  4. Read our policy report Jewels in the crown: The importance and characteristics of the UK’s world-class universities

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