In the latest league table of the world’s best universities, eight of the top universities are in the US, with Oxford and Cambridge the only universities from any EU member state completing the list of elite institutions in the top 10.
The 2016 Shanghai top 100 global index sees ETH Zurich place first among universities in mainland Europe, while the University of Copenhagen (31st) in Denmark overtakes Pierre & Marie Curie (39th) in France as the second best European university outside the UK.
Universities in China and Singapore made the global top 100 for the first time. Tsinghua University in China is the country’s best university in 58th position, and the National University of Singapore is the country’s top entry at position 83.
This year’s ranking confirms Harvard, the world's wealthiest university, as number one for the fourteenth consecutive year. Stanford University retained second place.
Competition among the elite universities is seen to be largely static. The 10 universities ranked at the top of Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities last year have all retained their place in the top 10 for 2016, despite some movement up and down.
The biggest change was by Oxford University, which climbed three spots from 10th to seventh. Cambridge University climbed one spot to fourth.
In the battle among Asia-Pacific institutions, the University of Tokyo was top at number 20 overall.The Shanghai Ranking has been published annually since 2003. In total, 500 universities are ranked from across the world based on six criteria. These include the number the number of former students who have earned Nobel prizes and the number of articles published in prestigious journals Nature and Science.