IIT Guwahati is the only Indian educational institute in the 2014 league table of '100 Under 50' institutions released by the 'Times Higher Education' (THE) magazine in London on Thursday. The IIT shares the 87th rank on the list with Portugal's New University of Lisbon and Australia's University of Western Sydney.
The annual evaluation of the world's top 100 universities under 50 years of age had a distinct Eastern stance with South Korea's Pohang University of Science and Technology topping the list for the third consecutive year. "There has been a great deal of soul-searching in India over the fact that none of its universities make the World University Rankings' top 200 – a serious concern given the country's great intellectual history and growing social and economic influence," said Phil Baty, rankings editor at THE magazine. "But this new analysis, which examines the next generation of global university stars, should be encouraging.
Of the 'BRICS' nations, Russia, mainland China and South Africa do not make the grade, so it is cause for optimism that the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati breaks into the top 100," he added. The '100 Under 50 2014' uses the same comprehensive list of 13 performance indicators that underpin the prestigious THE World University Rankings, but employs an especially re-calibrated methodology to better capture the characteristics of young institutions.
"It looks to the future by examining a new breed of global universities – those that have managed to join the world elite in a matter of decades rather than centuries, and those with the potential to become the next generation's Harvard or Oxford," THE said in a statement.
Asia again makes an impressive showing in the rankings, bolstered by India's inclusion. The top Asian nation in terms of numbers is Taiwan, which has four representatives (down from five), led by the National Sun Yat-Sen University in 40th, the statement said.
Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne retains second position and at the third position is another South Korean institute - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. East Asia's overall dominance at the top of the table increases this year with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in fourth place, while Singapore's Nanyang Technological University moves up to fifth from eighth. The US' top-ranked institution, the University of California - Irvine, falls to seventh.
The concentration of "plate-glass universities" established in the UK in the early 1960s has led to a steep decline in the country's representation on the '100 Under 50' this year.
It now has 14 institutions, as compared to 18 last year and 20 in 2012. The highest placed is Lancaster University, which climbs from 14th to 10th, followed by the University of Warwick (up one place to 12th). In terms of national strength, Australia now matches the UK, with 14 representatives in the table.
"The Times Higher Education '100 Under 50' shows clearly that exciting new powers are emerging in the global academy and the old guard cannot afford to rest on their laurels. The data also proves that nations can in a matter of years, with the right support and vision, create world-class universities to compete with traditional institutions that have had many centuries to develop. "The ancient seats of learning are vulnerable to new competitors as never before: the race for future dominance in higher education and research is wide open," Baty added.
Unlike the Times Higher Education 'World University Rankings' - which examine institutional performance irrespective of history and heritage - the '100 Under 50' is designed to be dynamic and only universities founded in 1964 or later are listed.
This means several institutions have fallen out of the list this year because of their 1963 foundation date.