These are the top 10 universities for natural sciences research in the United Kingdom

A single rising star.

10 February 2020

Gemma Conroy

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The Jodrell Bank Lovell radio telescope, run by the University of Manchester. The University of Manchester placed fifth in the Nature Index's ranking of top UK universities.

The University of Cambridge is the United Kingdom’s top university for the second year running, coming out ahead of its long-time rival, the University of Oxford, in the Nature Index rankings.

Between 2017 and 2018, the University of Cambridge’s Share+ has grown by 0.8%, indicating an increase in high-quality research publication.

The University of Oxford’s Share, on the other hand, has fallen by 4.3%. The University of Oxford topped the UK university ranking in 2016.

One of the oldest universities in the UK, the University of Cambridge also ranked among the top global academic institutions overall (ranked fourth) and in the life sciences category (ranked ninth) in the Nature Index in 2018.

But there was some shuffling further down the ranks, with the University of Southampton jumping two places to take the eighth position, surpassing King’s College London (ranked 9th) and Durham University (ranked 10th).

Southampton was the only UK institution to improve its position in the top 10 in 2018.

Southampton also saw the largest growth in output, with its Share increasing by almost 12% in just 12 months. The only other universities that increased their output were Imperial College London (4.5%) and the University of Cambridge (0.8%).

Despite seeing the largest decreases in output among the top 10, the University of Manchester (-16.3%) and the University of Edinburgh (-14.7%) have held their own, in 5th and 6th place, respectively, for four consecutive years.

+Share, formerly referred to in the Nature Index as Fractional Count (FC), is a measure of an institution’s contribution to articles in the 82 journals tracked by the index, calculated according to the proportion of its affiliated authors on an article relative to all authors on the article.


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