The UK has the most universities in a list of the world's best higher education establishments under the age of 50, although it fails to rank in the top five.
As the results were published on Thursday, older universities were told to "watch their backs".
The University of York, Lancaster University and University of East Anglia come in at eighth, ninth and tenth place respectively in the inaugural Times Higher Education (THE) 100 under 50.
The list, which ranks the world's top 100 universities under the age of 50, is headed by Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea, followed by Ècole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Only one US university makes it into the top 10 - the University of California in seventh place - while Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris make it to fifth and sixth place respectively, meaning that six countries feature in the top 10.
Seventeen other UK universities make it onto the 100 list, which are Warwick, Essex, Brunel, Bath, Stirling, Surrey, Plymouth, Keele, Hertfordshire, Loughborough, Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt, Liverpool John Moores, Kent, Aston, Bradford and City University London.
A total of 30 countries or regions have institutions in the top 100, but emerging countries Russia, India and mainland China fail to have a single university in the ranking. Meanwhile the US has only nine representatives in the list, putting it in third place behind the UK and Australia, which has 14.
The youngest is Italy's University of Milan-Bicocca, founded in 1998, in 25th place.
Unsurprisingly Europe features the most of any continent with 16 nations represented in the list, with Spain, France and Germany also doing particularly well.
The 100 Under 50 is based on the same range of 13 separate performance indicators used to compile the World University Rankings covering all key elements of university performance, although they have been amended to better reflect the profile of younger institutions.
Phil Baty, editor of the Rankings, said: "This innovative global ranking of institutions under 50 years old serves as a clear warning to the traditional elites in the US and UK that new powers in higher education and research are quickly emerging.
"The heritage institutions need to watch their backs. With focused investment, innovation, strategic vision and lots of talent, some institutions have managed to achieve in a matter of years what the traditional elite universities have developed over many generations.
"The landscape is changing quickly and the old global hierarchies cannot rest on their laurels.
"Asian institutions are showing great strength, and investment taking place in the Gulf, for example, is very promising.
"The 100 Under 50 also serves as an extraordinary example to all those nations who aspire to develop world-class research-led global universities. Those at the top of this list show what can be achieved in a short time with the political will and the right resources, while those lower down give a real insight into which institutions could be future global stars."
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "The fact that the UK has the most universities in the top 100 under 50 proves our higher education sector has strength in depth.
"Newer universities with a clear sense of their own mission can match those with a longer history. Our reforms aim to keep our higher education sector world class."
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "The fact that the UK has the most universities in the top 100 under 50 proves our higher education sector has strength in depth.
"Newer universities with a clear sense of their own mission can match those with a longer history. Our reforms aim to keep our higher education sector world-class."