46 of the 52 W100 Reputation Network members improved or maintained their academic reputation scores compared to the previous year in the latest QS table, as the rankings season gets into full flow.

QS released their World University Rankings 2020 at the end of June, followed by the THE Reputation Rankings in mid-July, with the latter showing predictably little change.

The headline results from QS showed continuing declines for UK and US universities and the growth of Chinese influence. Two thirds of UK universities dropped in the rankings, attributed by QS to declining employer reputation and staff-student ratios (QS’s sole metric related to teaching). China now has 19 universities in the top 200 having had just 12 in 2016, with Tsinghua University climbing to the 16th spot.

The performance of W100 universities in the academic reputation scores is a strong endorsement of the focus on reputation leading to institutional benefits. Many W100 members have developed proactive strategies to improve global reputation, with a particular focus on the academic reputation surveys of the rankings, following on from the Academic Influencers research study of 2017.

Notably, even some institutions that saw their overall QS ranking decline made progress in the academic reputation scores. Indeed, more than half of W100 members fell overall in the rankings, with UK institutions particularly suffering.

NUS continues to lead the way for W100 members, holding its position at 11th in the overall table. Amongst the risers in the top 50 were Manchester (up 2 to 27th), Melbourne (38) and UNSW (43).

Dutch universities were notably successful this year, with Groningen, Leiden and Utrecht all improving their positions. Many of the young universities in the network also improved, markedly Wollongong and University of Newcastle from Australia.