“Germany has made strong progress in the rankings this year,” THE university rankings editor Phil Baty said. “Only the US and the UK are better represented among the global elite.”
Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich jumped almost 10 places, from 46th to 35th.
And both Heidelberg and the Humboldt University in Berlin joined the top 50 universities worldwide for the first time, at 38th and 41st places respectively.
Berlin's Free University was close behind, placed between 51st and 60th – meaning that both Berlin universities have leapfrogged 30 places.
Over 10,000 academics from 142 countries are polled to put together the rankings, giving their opinions without being asked to justify them.
Baty pointed out that to be placed anywhere in the top 100 is a huge achievement.
“This is the elite of the elite,” he told The Local. “There are 20,000 universities in the world."
In a statement, he added that the research his team had carried out was critical for universities to understand their position in the world.
"A university’s global academic reputation is vital – it not only influences investments and funding decisions, but more importantly, it helps a university to develop and nurture its single greatest asset: its student and academic talent," he said.
Of the world's top ten universities by reputation, the US could lay claim to eight of them, led by Harvard. The UK snagged positions two and three respectively with Cambridge and Oxford, followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University.
In the THE World University Rankings, which measured less subjective criteria like teaching and research, Germany had 12 institutions in the top 200 last October.
Baty told The Local at the time that Germany’s “excellent” performance was down to two factors – funding of elite universities and better understanding of the ranking process.
“The initiative to strengthen Germany’s top universities through the excellence initiative is working," he said.
The excellence initiative, which has been in place since 2005, promotes research among Germany's top universities.
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