Post-Brexit uncertainty and long-term funding issues hit UK higher education, university rankings show


Post-Brexit uncertainty and long-term funding issues have seen storm clouds gatherover UK higher education in this year’s QS World University Rankings.

Startlingly, 38 of the UK’s 48 top-400 universities have dropped down the rankings this year, with the University of Cambridge dropping out of global top three for first time since 2004.

Even though Cambridge, Oxford, UCL, and Imperial College London have remained in the top ten – and with Edinburgh joining the top 20 and Manchester entering the top 30 – Ben Sowter, head of research at QS Quacquarelli Symonds, cited a combination of uncertainty and long-term funding issues which have impacted negatively on the UK’s performance.

For the second year in a row, China – which continues to benefit from generous government research funding – has more universities in the top 100 for citations per faculty than the UK. Sowter said: “Uncertainty over research funding, immigration rules, and the ability to hire and retain the top young talent from around the world seems to be damaging the reputation of the UK’s higher education sector.”