École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
The Rolex Learning Centre at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Source: Facebook.

Newer universities do better than their older counterparts in attracting students from abroad as well as in publishing international research, a finding researchers say reveals the priorities of these younger schools.

Older schools have the upper hand in funding, teaching and research, but trail behind the younger schools when it comes to internationalisation, the 2017 Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings show.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne leads this year’s rankings of 200 institutions aged 50 and under, scoring the best overall across all measures. The Swiss school had also placed first in THE‘s World’s Most International Universities rankings.

The upper rungs were overall dominated by universities in wealthy Asian nations like Hong Kong and South Korea.

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) president Professor Bertil Andersson says THE‘s latest findings “reaffirm NTU’s globally acknowledged strengths in teaching, research and working with our international partners and the industry”. NTU was ranked third in the list.

At the University of Technology, Sydney (15th place overall, 5th for internationalisation), more than one-third of its students are foreign, with a similar proportion of local students spending time studying abroad. Vice-chancellor Attila Brungs says their institution focuses on “preparing our students to be global professionals”

The new rankings grouped the 200 institutions that featured in THE‘s World University Rankings according to their age group, such as millennials (founded from 2000 to the present day), Generation Y (1986-1999) and Generation X (1967-1985).

These universities were then ranked according to 13 performance indicators grouped into five areas:

  • Teaching (the learning environment)
  • Research (volume, income and reputation)
  • Citations (research influence)
  • International outlook (staff, students and research)
  • Industry income (knowledge transfer)

Millennial institutions topped the chart in terms of proportion of internationally co-authored research, compared to the full list of institutions in THE‘s most recent World University rankings, which have an average age of 91.

Within this age group (millennials), the University of Luxembourg and Saudi Arabia’s Alfaisal University scored the highest for internationalisation, where the proportion of international students, staff and research were measured.

Generation Y universities, on the other hand, were found to draw the biggest proportion of foreign students on average, followed by the millennials group.

Overall, traditional favourite study destination the United Kingdom had the most number (27) of universities in the table, followed by Australia with 23 institutions.

Here are the 10 universities that topped THE‘s rankings:

Young University
Rank 2017
Young University
Rank 2016
World University
Rank 2016-17
Institution Country Year founded
1 1 30 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland 1969
2 3 49 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong 1991
3 2 54 Nanyang Technological University Singapore 1991
4 5 104 Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea 1986
5 6 89 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea 1971
6 4 94 Maastricht University Netherlands 1976
7 20 119 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 1984
8 13 135 Ulm University Germany 1967
9 8 144 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Germany 2009
9 10 190 Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Italy 1987

Source: THE

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