Four UK unis in world's top 10
Four of the best universities in the world are in the UK, new international rankings show.
It reveals that Oxbridge and London continue to dominate, with Imperial College London leaping into joint second place with Cambridge, and Oxford tying with University College London (UCL) in fifth.
Institutions that focus on science and maths-based subjects and research, such as Imperial, are increasingly well-respected as governments see these areas as vital for their nations' future success, it is suggested.
The latest QS World University Rankings include eight UK universities in the top 50, and 19 in the top 100, up one on last year.
And a record six British institutions made the top 20. Besides the four in the top 10, King's College London (KCL) was 16th and Edinburgh University came 17th.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States was first overall in the rankings.
Ben Sowter, QS head of research, said: "In the wake of the recession, both governments and private sector funding sources are placing greater emphasis on high-impact Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) research, much of which takes place in specialist institutions.
"Tech-focused institutions are increasingly the focal point of a global race for innovation. With budgets from public sources increasingly coming under strain, institutions seem more focused than ever on potentially lucrative research in science, technology and medicine."
Professor Alice Gast, president of Imperial College London, said: "These rankings support what our students, alumni, staff, friends and collaborators know, that Imperial is one of the world's great universities.
"Imperial has a rare ability to turn outstanding research into discoveries that have a real impact on the world, and to prepare people to go out into that world ready to lead.
"Imperial's open, collaborative and international culture is a hub of activity. Rarely a day goes by when there isn't a new discovery or innovation from Imperial's talented staff, students and alumni."
London is the only city in the world to have five universities in the top 100 - these are Imperial, UCL, KCL, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Queen Mary, University of London.
This is more than Boston and Hong Kong, which each have three, and New York, Paris, Tokyo, Melbourne and Beijing with two each.
The rankings are based on performance in a number of areas, including academic reputation, employer reputation, staff to student ratios, research citations and international students and faculty.
Cambridge was the only British university to make the top 40 for research citations, with three others, UCL, Oxford and Imperial, making it into the top 50.
Graduates from Oxford and Cambridge were rated as the world's most employable, with LSE also making the top five.
The UK universities in the top 100 are: Cambridge (2), Imperial (2), Oxford (5), UCL (5), KCL (16), Edinburgh (17), Bristol (29), Manchester (30), Glasgow (55), Warwick (61), Birmingham (64), Sheffield (69), LSE (71), Nottingham (77), St Andrews (88), Durham (92), Southampton (94), Leeds (97) and Queen Mary, University of London (98).