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01/05/2014 07:56 BST | Updated 01/05/2014 07:59 BST

University Rankings: The Top 100 Universities Under 50 Years Old Revealed In 2014 League Table

Pohang University

The number of UK universities under 50 years old which are ranked in the world's top 100 has dropped, amid warnings of increasing competition from Asia.

There are 14 UK institutions in the 100 best universities under 50 years old, compared to 18 last year and 20 in 2012, a Times Higher Education (THE) magazine rankings has shown.

The UK had the most universities in the league table last year, but it now shares this position with Australia. Only one UK institution features in the top 10 of the list, Lancaster University, which climbs from 14th last year to 10th place.

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The highest placed universities after Lancaster are the University of Warwick, up one place to 12th, the University of Essex, up to 22nd from joint 29th, Brunel University up to 29th from 44th and the University of Bath which remains static at joint 34th.

Only two out of the UK institutions on the list were founded after the 1960s, both former polytechnics that gained university status under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. Plymouth University moves up to joint 42nd from joint 53rd, while the University of Hertfordshire rises 15 places to joint 60th.

Scotland's top representative in the rankings is Heriot-Watt University, at 52nd, up from 63rd, overtaking the University of Stirling which now stands at 56th, rising from joint 61st.

The University of Strathclyde - up one place to 78th - is the country's only other top 100 institution.

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The steep decline in the UK's representation on the list was fuelled by a concentration of "plate glass" universities established in the UK in the early 1960s, according to the THE.

York University, which was in seventh place last year, is no longer eligible for the league rankings, nor is the University of East Anglia, which was in 16th place, as they have 1963 foundation dates.

The league table showed the US was the second best represented country in the top 100, with eight institutions.

The best represented Asian nation in terms of numbers was Taiwan, with four representatives, down from five.

Hong Kong still has three institutions on the list, all in the top 30, despite losing an institution because of age.

Its best performer, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, keeps its fourth place position and the City University of Hong Kong moves up one position to joint 17th, while Hong Kong Polytechnic University rises four places to 30th.

South Korea has only two institutions in the list, Pohang University of Science and Technology and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology but they occupy first and third position respectively.

Singapore has one representative - Nanyang Technological University - but it occupies fifth position.

Phil Baty, THE rankings editor, said: "The UK shares the accolade of being the best-represented nation in the 100 Under 50, with 14 institutions.

"Given that the country is globally renowned for its venerable universities - both the ancient Oxbridge elite and the Victorian red bricks - this demonstrates the strength in depth of the UK system, showing that the 1960s generation are thriving on the world stage, often exceeding the performance of their elders - but not betters.

"But there are warning signs.

"All but two of the UK's representatives in the list were founded in the 1960s while the ranking is dominated by much younger and higher-placed institutions from strengthening economies that have focused resources on building world-class universities, developing genuine global competitors such as the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and the Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea.

"Competition is only going to intensify as more nations and institutions join the race - the UK must work hard not to be left behind."