New generation of elite universities rises around the globe

June 19 Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:59pm EDT

June 19 (Reuters) - Watch out Ivy League, there's a new generation of elite universities on the rise around the globe, according to a new "100 Under 50" report from Times Higher Education magazine.

The report, published on Wednesday, ranks the best young universities - defined as those founded no more than 50 years ago - in categories including research prowess, student-to-faculty ratio and international reputation.

South Korea's Pohang University of Science and Technology came out on top. Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne ranked second, followed by another rising Asian star, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

Britain had 18 institutions in the top 100, more than any other nation. Other countries with strong showings included France, Spain and Taiwan.

Eight American institutions made the list - all of them public universities. Two University of California campuses, Irvine and Santa Cruz, cracked the top 15, as did the University of Texas at Dallas. Rounding out the list of U.S. upstarts: The University of Illinois at Chicago, George Mason University, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The rankings, which were developed from data produced and analyzed by Thomson Reuters, show that the fabled institutions that traditionally perch on the top of most "best college" lists "don't have a monopoly on excellence," said Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education rankings.

"You get a real strong sense that the world is changing quickly," Baty said of the list, which includes universities in Portugal, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and Iran.

Just one online institution made the list - Britain's The Open University, which offers 600 courses in everything from juvenile justice to statistics.

The ratings give significant weight to research, looking at how much an institution spends on research and how widely its faculty's papers are cited around the globe. Points are also given for attracting international students and staff. Twenty-eight countries are represented on the list, but notable absences from the top 100 include India, Russia and mainland China.

Times Higher Education also compiles a more traditional list of top universities worldwide, regardless of age. Those rankings are routinely dominated by U.S. schools. This year, there were 76 American universities in the top 200, led by the California Institute of Technology, Stanford and Harvard.

"The U.S. can't rest on its laurels," Baty said. "There are governments that are extremely serious about pumping tens of millions into building world-class universities to challenge the traditional elites."

(Reporting by Stephanie Simon; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Maureen Bavdek)

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