UCL News


UCL climbs to 4th in the 2009 THE-QS World University Rankings

8 October 2009

UCL has today climbed to 4th place in the annual Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings, its highest ever position in the Rankings, placing it second among UK universities behind the University of Cambridge.

Welcoming the news, Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL President and Provost, said: "League tables can never measure all a university's qualities. They capture a few key aspects of a complex organism. Yet we are pleased by UCL's spectacular progression up the tables in recent years, because it does reflect the truly outstanding quality of UCL's community of academics, and of our students from around the world.

"UCL is a remarkable place. It has an edginess to it, a spirit of restless energy, and its traditions are of radical change and innovation. It continues to pursue the highest standards of academic rigour, while responding rapidly and flexibly to the world in which it operates. We believe that the world's leading universities not only have the ability to address the major challenges facing the globe in the twenty-first century, but also the duty to do so, even though this requires new intellectual approaches, new partnerships and new models of internal organisation.

"One aspect of this is our role as London's global university. For example, we are launching today a major new partnership with Yale. We have agreed to combine forces to tackle some of the world's major challenges, focusing initially on developing 14 defined programmes within medicine and healthcare. This is a unique trans-Atlantic venture between two of the world's leading institutions. It is devoted entirely to bringing about improvements in human welfare."

Phil Baty, deputy editor of Times Higher Education magazine and editor of the World University Rankings, said: "UCL's rise up the world rankings can truly be described as meteoric - year after year we have watched it climb up the top 30, and it has now earned its place as number four in the world, above global super-brands like the University of Oxford, Imperial College London and Princeton University in the US. UCL's achievements are stunning.

"It has earned admiration in the higher education world for its eye-catching strategy to pool its research expertise across a wide range of disciplines, in order to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems - climate change, global health, intercultural interaction. But academics in other universities will be jealous, in particular, of UCL's moves to give its researchers the freedom to think, by hiring special research coordinators who can relieve academics from some of the more stifling bureaucratic burdens of modern academic life."

About UCL

Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. UCL alumni include Marie Stopes, Jonathan Dimbleby, Lord Woolf, Alexander Graham Bell, and members of the band Coldplay. UCL currently has over 12,000 undergraduate and 8,000 postgraduate students. Its annual income is over £600 million.

UCL Biomedicine

  • UCL is Europe's leading health research powerhouse. The latest data from ISI Essential Science Indicators places UCL first in Clinical Medicine outside North America as measured by citations in academic publications, as well as first outside North America and second in the world for Neuroscience & Behaviour;
  • UCL Partners (UCLP) was officially designated as one of the UK's first academic health science centres by the Department of Health in March 2009. It is the largest and most productive such partnership in Europe, comprising UCL and its five partner hospital trusts: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Together, these organisations treat over 1.5 million patients every year, support over 3,500 scientists, senior researchers and consultants, and have a combined annual turnover of around £2 billion.
  • UCL is collaborating with three of the world's leading biomedical research organisations - Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust - to build the UK Centre for Medical Research & Innovation (UKCMRI) in London. This will be one of the world's largest medical research centres, housing 1,500 scientists focused on translational research.
  • UCL is today (8 October) signing a unique partnership agreement with Yale, committing the two universities to work together to establish joint research projects.and share key resources.

UCL Grand Challenges

· In 2008, as part of its research strategy, UCL launched its Grand Challenges, challenges of global significance in which new interdisciplinary solutions can thrive, and where we will work to develop lasting and innovative solutions. The initial Grand Challenges are: Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Intercultural Interactions, and Human Well-Being.

UCL in London

· UCL is the largest employer in the London Borough of Camden, with over 8,000 employees. UCL runs a comprehensive Widening Participation programme including extensive links with local schools, and a formal partnership with City and Islington Sixth Form College. UCL is currently developing plans to sponsor a new secondary school, as part of the Government's academies schools programme, and this is scheduled to open in Camden in 2011.

UCL and Business

· UCL is one of the premier universities in the UK for research and innovation, and is dedicated to harnessing its exceptional research for positive social and economic benefit. It has also built a reputation as a pioneer of collaboration between industry and academia as well as for supporting entrepreneurship on the part of both students and academics. UCL was recently commended for its work engaging and supporting businesses and the wider community by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Notes for Editors

1. For further information, please contact Dominique Fourniol, Head of Media Relations, on 0044 207 679 9728 or 0044 7881 833 274.

2. Further information about UCL and images can also be obtained at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/media/

3. The full Rankings will be available to view at www.timeshighereducation.co.uk from 00.01 on 8 October.