The final instalment of the 2013 world university rankings season saw mixed fortunes for European universities, contrasting with talk of a ‘resurgence for continental European universities’ only a month ago.

THE Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE WUR) is one of the big three beasts dominating the world of higher education rankings and their verdict on the pecking order of international universities is keenly watched worldwide.

No-where more so than in the Rectors and Vice-Chancellors offices around Europe, where concerns about the impact of budget cuts, or at least constraints, contrast with the huge investment being made in education and research by many countries in Asia.

And their worst fears were realised when Phil Baty, Times Higher Rankings Editor, opened his analysis of the 2013-14 results by saying: “Power among the world’s leading universities has shifted further eastwards, with mainland Europe suffering the worst losses.”

QS more upbeat

This contrasted with a much more upbeat assessment from the last of big league tables, the QS World University Rankings, which put two Swiss universities in its top 20, following a leap of ten places by École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne (EPFL). ETH Zürich-Swiss Federal Institute of Technology became the highest-placed university outside the English-speaking world, by moving up to 12th spot.

* So who is right? Read my full report on the European Universities Public Relations & Information Officers’ website blog: Resurgence or retrenchment for European universities?

Main photo: ETH Zürich University

Ranking references:

(1) Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-14

(2) QS World University Rankings

(3) Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)

(4) Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-14 (broken down by top European universities)