Young University Rankings 2024: results announced

Higher education growth shifts east, but there are markedly different trends across Asia

May 14, 2024
Asian students
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Browse the full results of the Young University Rankings 2024

Asia is now home to almost half of the world’s young research universities, according to the latest Times Higher Education Young University Rankings.

The number of Asian universities in the list has nearly doubled in five years, climbing from 165 in 2020 (representing 40 per cent of the table) to 327 this year (49 per cent).

Turkey, India and Iran have driven the rise. Turkey now has 58 universities in the ranking, up from 47 last year and just 23 in 2020. India is represented by 55 ranked institutions, up from 45 last year and 26 in 2020; while Iran now boasts 46 universities, up from 39 last year and 20 in 2020.

The Young University Rankings can be seen as reflecting the relative development of university systems. It compares institutions founded within the past 50 years and applies the same methodology as the World University Rankings with recalibrated weightings.

As well as the increase in representation, there have been rises in the ranking positions of many institutions in Turkey, India and Iran. However, the age cut-off means that the list is inherently dynamic (as institutions drop out when they reach their 51st birthday), limiting detailed year-on-year comparisons in terms of performance.

Xin Xu, lecturer in higher education at the University of Oxford, said global higher education was “developing into a state of having various important powers, including rising ‘middle powers’”.

“Higher education in Asia has been developing rapidly, and…the middle powers to watch include India, Iran, Indonesia and Turkey,” she added.

Yusuf Ikbal Oldac, assistant professor at Lingnan University’s School of Graduate Studies and an expert on Turkish higher education, agreed that “Turkey is increasingly becoming an important higher education player in its region”.

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore has retained its place at the top of the ranking. Meanwhile, Hong Kong continues its strong showing in the top 10, but it is a mixed picture in terms of individual institutional performances. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has slipped from second place to third, and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University from fourth to seventh; however, City University of Hong Kong has risen two places to fourth.

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Several French universities, all of which comprise merged older institutions, dominate the top of the table and improve their scores this year. Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris is now ranked second, up from third last year; Université Paris-Saclay is fifth, up from 12th; Institut Polytechnique de Paris is sixth, up from eighth; and Sorbonne University is eighth, up from 15th.

Elsewhere, Africa has beefed up its showing in the ranking, albeit not as dramatically as Asia has. Five years ago, 39 African universities appeared in the table, representing 9 per cent of the total. The continent now has 77 institutions ranked (11 per cent). Nigeria chalked up the biggest percentage increase in universities ranked of all African countries: while just one was included in 2020, now 10 feature.

Young University Rankings 2024: the top 10

Rank 2024 Rank 2023 Institution Country/region
1 1 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
2 3 Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris France
3 2 The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
4 6 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
5 12 Université Paris-Saclay France
6 8 Institut Polytechnique de Paris France
7 4 The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
8 15 Sorbonne University France
9 14 Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) South Korea
10 13 Maastricht University Netherlands

Janet Ilieva, founder and director of the consultancy Education Insight, said the countries to watch were those with capacity for growth.

“Countries with [university] participation rates below the world average of 40 per cent have significant room to grow. This is further strengthened by their demographic outlook and projected growth for tertiary education-aged learners,” she said.

“While East Asia and the Pacific currently have the largest share of global higher education, growth in the next decade and beyond is likely to mainly come from South Asia (India and Pakistan) and beyond South-east Asia, such as Nigeria.”

Nigel Healey, professor of international higher education and vice-president global and community relations at the University of Limerick, said ageing populations could have an impact on the number of universities in many East Asian countries.

A “demographic cliff” in territories such as South Korea, Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan was “forcing a number of changes, including the merger or closure of universities, especially in the countries where tertiary participation is saturated”, he said.

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