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UK second behind US in new global university rankings

6 October 2011 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Slashing funding threatens world reputation warns UCU

The UK is second behind America in new global rankings released today.
The annual tables from Times Higher Education rank the world's top 200 universities. The UK has 32 in the 200, three more than last year, and seven in the top 50. However, fewer UK universities are in the top 100 than last year.
UCU said the government urgently needed to think again about slashing funding in an area where the UK is still a leading player on the world stage, especially as competitor countries are increasing their spending on higher education.
Figures released last month by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development make worrying reading as they show that spending on higher education in the UK fell to just 1.2% against an average of 1.5%. Those figures were based on 2008 data, before recent funding cuts started to take hold, which suggests even leaner times ahead for the UK in comparison to other countries.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Higher education is one field where we can rightly, and proudly say, that we are still leading the world. Sadly, if we do not urgently rethink plans to slash funding we are going to get left behind.
'Other countries recognise that knowledge is the main driver of economic growth and are investing in their universities. Universities are some of most important engines of the knowledge economy. They produce and develop the brains that drive the country and the economy from laboratories to libraries to computer networks.'