Photo: timeshighereducation.co.uk

The University of Sussex has retained its position as one of the highest performing universities in the world for a second year.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011-12 listed Sussex as 12th in the UK, 31st in Europe and 99th in the world, in the table published this month.

Despite the results confirming that Sussex has slipped four places in the national rankings and descended twenty places globally, the results were congratulated by Vice-Chancellor of Sussex, Professor Michael Farthing.
Professor Michael Farthing said: “in the increasingly competitive world of university education, it is gratifying to see Sussex recognised once again as one of the very top institutions in the world. We continue to prove our worth against bigger, older and richer universities around the globe, thanks to the quality of our research, the calibre of our students and the unique setting and experience we can offer those who come to teach and learn from all over the world.”

Sussex was one of 12 UK universities to appear in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011-12.

The highest performing UK institution in the global league table was the University of Oxford which came 4th. It was followed by the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London, coming 6th and 8th respectively. Compared to the same survey published last year, the Anglo-American trend in the 2012 performance league table appeared less prominent, with the US and the UK each having two less universities the top 100.

Nevertheless, the top 100 leader board remained dominated by the United States with 51 American institutions in the rankings, followed by the UK with twelve, and Canada in third place with five. Harvard University relinquished its first place to California Institute of Technology as the world’s highest achieving University.
The overall score measured quality of teaching and the influence, volume and reputation of research produced by a university. The result also took into account an institutions international outlook, regarding intake of international students and staff as well as international authorship of published research.

Additional credit was also given based on a university’s contributions to industry and level of research income it receives from industry. Sussex performed particularly high in the international outlook and influence of research categories but scored fewer points in teaching and industry income.

Professor Michael Farthing believed that the strong performance of UK universities at a global level was “great news” but urged the Government to carefully consider how they will support higher education in the future. Professor Farthing said: “in an environment of massive public-funding changes, and of wider economic pressures and uncertainties, Sussex is proving that growth is possible. We already aim to reduce our dependency on public funding by diversifying our income sources, through new academic activities, expanded trading services and through fund-raising and philanthropic giving.

“By becoming less reliant on government funding, we are better able to steer and control our own future.
The objectives of this process are outlined in the university’s strategic plan ‘Making the Future’, which can be viewed online at www.sussex.ac.uk/strategicplan/nextsteps/.

Professor Michael Farthing added: “we are also investing £100m in our campus to provide enhanced teaching space, improve support facilities and add extra accommodation on campus. Having a vibrant and attractive campus and bringing additional students to Sussex means we can offer a better student experience overall.”

Already on track to increasing international student intake to 2,800 by 2015, Sussex hopes this will help to better prepare itself against a potentially tough future financial climate. Professor Michael Farthing defended of fall of Sussex in the league tables saying, “what we have actually seen is a continued upwards trend over the past few years, which has seen Sussex consistently named among the UK’s elite universities.

The University of Sussex has also been shortlisted for ‘University of the Year’ in the Times Higher Education Awards 2011.
The winner is to be announced in November.

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