SINGAPORE — Young Asian universities are outdoing their young western counterparts in research and teaching, but established education powerhouses in the United States and Europe continue to dominate academia at the highest levels, according to the educational consulting firm Quacquarelli Symonds.
In the firm’s annual listing of the World’s Top 50 Universities under 50, published last week, the five top spots were taken by Asian universities. The list aims to rank the best universities established in the past half-century.
Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, second in the past two editions, overtook Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to secure the top spot. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Pohang University of Science and Technology, another Korean institution, were third and fourth, with City University of Hong Kong placed fifth.
The president of N.T.U., Bertil Andersson, says that Asian universities are slowly catching up on the more established institutions in the global charts. “This shows that Asia is set to become the future global powerhouse of higher education and research,” he said.
Still, in Quacquarelli Symonds’s overall World UniversityRankings released two weeks earlier, N.T.U. came in just 39th.
Of the top 10 in the overall World University Rankings, which aim to compare the best of the best, six were from the United States, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which retained its top spot from last year. The other four were from Britain, including the University of Cambridge, in second, and Imperial College, London, in third.
No Asian universities made it into the top 20; National University of Singapore placed highest, at 22nd.
Quacquarelli Symonds, based in London, bases its assessments on several criteria. Research clout, employer reputation and academic reputation heavily weighted, which often benefit older and more established institutions.
Both lists reflect a focus on science, technology, engineering and math, exemplified by the top schools in each.
Another list, the World University Rankings published by Times Higher Education, will be released this week.