The recent league table from Times Higher Education (THE), the most prestigious global ranking body for higher education, has identified the world’s most international universities.

It is becoming increasingly true that the best and most successful universities are those that adopt a truly global strategy, attracting students from every corner of the world and collaborating with the international leaders of higher education. Using results from the “international outlook” indicator, Times Higher Education World University Rankings was able to uncover the most international universities for 2015-16.

THE’s international outlook indicator analyses the proportion of international staff and students, as well as the proportion of research papers published with at least one co-author from a country overseas. All institutions that featured in the top 800 of the 2015-2016 THE World rankings were considered in the survey.

Qatar University came out top with an international outlook score of 99.9, beating global HE juggernauts such as the US and UK.

In 2006, the Qatar National Research Fund was launched. It was a scheme that had a clear vision: “To enable research and development excellence in Qatar in order to achieve a knowledge-based economy”. The fund encouraged greater levels of international collaboration, and is cited as one of the main reason that Qatar was ranked first place.

Qatar was closely followed by the University of Luxembourg, which came in second with an international outlook score of 99.8. Following Luxembourg was the University of Hong Kong with an international outlook score of 99.5.

The University of Macau was the second most highly rated Asian university, landing sixth place with a score of 98.4. The National University of Singapore also represents Asia in a top 10 position, ranking ninth overall with a score of 96.2.

Though Qatar’s efforts to invest in education, research and infrastructure has been recognised, the UK has undeniably dominated the rankings, with 66 entries making the top 200, and 39 institutions featured in the top 100.

Phil Baty, editor of THE’s World University Rankings, said the UK’s HE sector has “fantastic assets” and remains “one of the world’s most attractive destinations for international students”, but he also notes that reforms to the UK’s immigration policies have sent negative messages to prospective international students.

“First of all, there is clearly a concern around immigration policies as to whether or not we truly welcome international students,” he said.

“There are also considerable concerns that our competitors are getting much better at attracting these students. Countries are offering more courses in English and are actively recruiting the same students that would have come to the US or UK in the past.”

Imperial College London was ranked as the UK’s most international university, followed by the University of Oxford, University College London, King’s College and the University of Essex, respectively.

The USA, arguably considered the UK’s main competitor, only managed to get nine institutions in the top 200 list, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology making its debut in 90th position (84.0 points).

Australia fared well with the second highest number of entries after the UK. The Australian National University (ANU) was identified as the country’s most “international” university with a score of 93.3, landing 25th position, blowing last year’s 52nd position completely out the water.

ANU was closely followed by Curtin University and the University of Western Australia, ranked 26th and 31st respectively.

Click here to see the list of the Times Higher Education 200 Most International Universities in the World 2015-16.

Image via Shutterstock

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