Times Higher Education (THE) has unveiled the world’s most prestigious universities 2016 and Asia has fared particularly well, increasing its share of featured universities by no less than 10.

The THE World Reputation Rankings 2016 hosts 18 Asian institutions, a hefty improvement from the eight universities that made it to last year’s list. Japan’s University of Tokyo represents the region’s top performer, maintaining 12th position in the rankings.

China’s representatives also showed significant progression, with Tsinghua University rising from last year’s 26th position to 18th this year, and Peking University jumping an impressive 11 spaces from last year’s 32 up to 21.

As THE notes, these two nations also led the region in the number of representatives in the top 100 list with five universities each, up from two each last year.

South Korea and Hong Kong also performed well in the ranking, with each gaining another representative, taking their total featured institutions to two and three, respectively. Seoul National University and the University of Hong Kong earnt joint 45th, representing the nations’ highest achieving institutions, up from the 51-60 band declared by the previous ranking.

THE recognises that Asia’s firm performance in this year’s reputation rankings, based on an invitation-only survey of top academics, follows the region’s impressive performance in recent flagship THE World University Rankings.

Joshua Mok Ka-Ho, Vice-President and Chair-Professor of Comparative Policy at Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, believes that Asia’s strong regional performance reflects increased government investment into higher education, as well as increased productivity from the contingent’s universities who have concentrated funding into strengthening research and bolstering contributions to esteemed international journals.

“Such self-enhancing and advancing trends will continue, particularly when an increasing number of governments in Asia have recognised the importance of research, knowledge transfer, innovation and technology in transforming the economy and society,” he told THE.

He added that Europe’s universities “should look for cooperation opportunities” in Asia because “Asian universities are keen to engage in regional and international research attached with funding support”.

On the other side of the scale, several European countries have dropped down the ranks, with the UK’s Durham University and the University of Bristol slipping out of the top 100. Despite this, the UK remains the second-most represented nation, hosting 10 featured universities – but seven of these 10 institutions earned a lower position than they did in last year’s list.

Furthermore, four out of Germany’s six representatives and four of the Netherlands’ five universities dropped down the ranks, while Denmark and Finland, both nations that had one institution in last year’s top 100, do not have a single representative in THE’s most recent list.

Paul Blackmore, Professor of Higher Education at King’s College London’s Policy Institute, claims that Asia’s notable improvement is the result of a combination of “undoubted growth in university systems” and “of more being known [about them] among those giving a view”.

“We’ve had a highly Anglo-Saxon view of higher education for many years, and that can’t be sustained for much longer,” he said.

Here are the 10 most prestigious universities in the world, according to THE:

1. Harvard University – USA

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – USA

3. Stanford University – USA

4. University of Cambridge – UK

5. University of Oxford – UK

6. University of California, Berkeley – USA

7. Princeton University – USA

8. Yale University – USA

9. Columbia University – USA

10. California Institute of Technology – USA

Click here to read the full Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2016…

Additional reporting by Times Higher Education.

Image via Flickr.

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