How did universities fare in the Young University Rankings 2018?
They might not been steeped in tradition, but these universities still have academic excellence. Source: Shutterstock

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has topped the Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings 2018; a feat it has achieved for the very first time due to its improved teaching environment, international outlook and research quality.

Out of the 250 universities aged 50-years-old or under, Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – which has ranked first in the list for the past three years – came second in the rankings, while Nanyang Technological University in Singapore held on to third.

Paris Sciences & Lettres University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham made their way to the top of the list in an impressive debut appearance, coming in at fourth and tenth place respectively.

The Young University Rankings uses the same 13 key performance indicators as the Global University Rankings, including international outlook, staff to student ratio and graduate outcomes, with less no weighing towards reputation.

Here are the top 20 young universities in 2018, according to THE:




1 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
2 École Polytechnique Fédérale deLausanne France
3 Nanyang Technological University Singapore
4 Paris Science & Lettres -PSL University France
5 Maastricht University Netherlands
6 Korea Advances Institutes of Science and Technology (KAIST) Korea
7 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
8 Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea
9 Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Italy
10 University of Alabama at Birmingham United States
11 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
12 University of Luxembourg Luxembourg
13 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
14 Pierre and Marie Curie University France
15 University of Antwerp Belguim
16 University of Technology, Sydney Australia
17 University of Postdam Germany
18 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
19 University of Duisburg-Essen Germany
20 Queensland University of Technology Australia

The UK was the most represented country in the rankings, with 31 universities featuring in the list despite none manging to land a position in the top 40.

Australia’s universities were also well-acknowledged, with 22 institutions being recognised in the rankings.

HKUST’s acting president Wei Shyy pointed to its research for its quick climb to the top of the rankings. The university “has a clear positioning of the research spectrums we want to excel in…that would keep us abreast with the needs of the modern-day society,” according to THE.

This “clear vision” has allowed the university to make a “major impact in their own areas – such as our researchers’ discoveries in the mechanisms under Alzheimer’s disease, which could bring [about a] cure, or our computer scientists cracking the code of HIV using big data,” he adds.

Hong Kong isn’t only one the world’s best cities, it’s now one of the world best student cities. Source: Florian Wehde/Unsplash

Shyy added that HKUST is “steering our curriculum towards a multidisciplinary, highly individualised and student-driven direction over the past decade”.

The list has been further divided into Generation X universities (founded between 1968 and 1985), Generation Y universities (founded between 1986 and 1999) and Millennial universities (founded since the year 2000) to add further depth to the rankings.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Maastricht University and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) top the table of the Generation X universities.

Generation Y’s rankings are dominated by HKUST, Nanyang Technological University and Pohang University of Science and Technology.

The new-kids-on-the-block Millennial league sees Paris Sciences & Lettres University, University of Luxembourg – which was first for international outlook – and University of Antwerp come out top.

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