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Three Canadian universities among top 50 in the world: survey

The University of Toronto didn't quite crack the top 20 this year. (CBC)

Three Canadian universities have been ranked among the top 50 in the world by Times Higher Education.

In the list released on Tuesday, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and McGill University were listed at 23, 37 and 39 respectively.

All three were slotted into similar positions within the top 50 last year. 

However, the University of Toronto saw the biggest drop, falling from 16 to 23.

McGill slipped four spots from 35, while UBC remained unchanged at 37.

Times Higher Education releases annual rankings of the top 100 most prestigious universities in the world. Its results are based on a survey of more 10,000 academics from across the globe. Participants are asked to list up to 15 universities that they believe rate the highest for research and teaching in their respective fields.

Votes based on research prowess were weighted double.

The University of Toronto, UBC and McGill have been fixtures among the top 50 for the past several years. 

The top five of this year’s rankings included: Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.

U.S. Ivy Leaguers Princeton University, Yale University and Columbia University placed just outside of the top five. Harvard also ranked first last year. 

Improvement in Asia

Times Higher Education said in a press release that universities in Asia have seen a significant growth in terms of their presence in the rankings.

The news organization said there are 18 institutions from the continent on the list, up from 10 last year.

Paul Blackmore, a professor of high education at King’s College London, said in the release that Asia’s improvement can be attributed to “undoubted growth” in the region’s university systems as well as an increase in global recognition.

“We’ve had a highly Anglo-Saxon view of higher education for many years, and that can’t be sustained for much longer,” he said.

Joshua Mok Ka-Ho, professor of comparative policy at Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, said there have also been investments by many of the continent’s governments in higher education.  He added that many institutions are focusing their funding on strengthening their research and publishing in international journals.

“Such self-enhancing and advancing trends will continue, particularly when an increasing number of governments in Asia have recognized the importance of research, knowledge transfer, innovation and technology in transforming the economy and society,” he said in the press release.