Reputation has been identified as the key factor driving changes in most international universities, as identified by Times Higher Education in its latest ranking.

The ‘Most International Universities in the World’ list was published by THE on March 20 and shows Hong Kong, Swiss and Singapore universities leading the way, based on metrics from the overall THE World University Rankings.

The performance of UK universities has declined markedly, with 21 institutions scoring lower than in the previous list of most international universities, a fact THE are linking to the on-going Brexit saga and its influence on reputation scores.

Most UK institutions continued to perform well on the metrics relating to international students, staff and co-authorship compared with the previous year, but 12 received a lower score for international reputation.

Brexit could have a serious impact for UK universities on access to European collaborative research funding and to student mobility programmes, as well as impacting immigration and visa rules.

W100 members perform strongly in the latest THE table, with National University of Singapore leading the way at No. 6. LSE, King’s College London, Trinity College Dublin, UBC and Melbourne all make the top 20, followed closely by Warwick, Edinburgh, UNSW and McGill.

Overall, 27 of the top 50 are either members of former members of the W100, confirming the network as a leading forum for international universities. This year’s research project on the Role of Reputation in International Partnerships, which has now kicked off, will provide further resources to improve global performance.

Internationalisation has also be cited as a major factor in THE’s other launch in March, the Japan University Rankings 2019.  The table, headed by Kyoto University who have pulled about of University of Tokyo, shows many institutions making progress on internationalisation scores, reflecting government initiatives such as the Top Universities Programme.

W100 member Kyushu University has risen a place to 4th in the table, with Keio University ranked 14th.

The next major rankings launch will see Times Higher Education revealing their new Impact Rankings, at a conference in South Korea. THE are promising to ‘disrupt our own model’ with this new ranking by focusing on ‘the life-changing work of less prestigious universities’.

Given the focus of the next W100 Annual Conference in Manchester this Autumn on how universities are engaging with society, we will have a session with THE  looking at the Impact Rankings.