The Times names UCL University of the Year 2024

The Times and Sunday Times’ The Good University Guide has named UCL as University of the Year 2024.

The publication acknowledged UCL’s world-leading performance in multidisciplinary research and education, the career prospects of UCL’s graduates, along with the university’s ambitious work around sustainability.

It also highlighted UCL’s new and ‘visionary’ UCL East Campus on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the medical breakthroughs led by UCL scientists, helping to transform lives globally, and the prominence of its academic experts in the media on issues, such as climate change, public health and inequalities.

This top accolade follows a series of strong achievements for UCL, London’s Global University, that have collectively reflected our academic excellence, our interdisciplinary approach to teaching and pioneering research, which creates real-world impact.

In June, UCL came ninth in the 2024 QS World University Rankings. This was the 12th year running UCL had been ranked in the top 10 universities worldwide.

In the 2023 QS World University Rankings by Subject, UCL was in the top 10 globally in 10 subject areas. The IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, maintained its position as first in the world for Education for the 10th year in a row, while The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment, was first in the world for Architecture & the Built Environment, and Archaeology was third in the world.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2021), UCL was second in the UK for research strength, with 93% of its research graded 4* ‘world leading’ and 3* ‘internationally excellent’. 

Last year, UCL retained its position as a leading university for knowledge exchange. Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) placed UCL in the highest possible band for ‘Research Partnerships’, ‘Public and Community Engagement’ and ‘Intellectual Property and Commercialisation’.

And, UCL was ranked seventh in the UK’s People & Planet University League 2023 – jumping 12 places compared to last year – with the university awarded ‘First-Class’ Honours for the sixth consecutive time.

The award also marks the start of an exceptional time for the university, with the new UCL East campus, soon to be officially launched and fully opened, and in 2026, a year-long programme of activities and events will mark UCL’s 200th anniversary.

Commenting on the award, UCL President & Provost, Dr Michael Spence, said: “Being named the Sunday Times University of the Year is a testament to the dynamic and diverse community of students and staff who make UCL such an extraordinary place.

“Our high-achieving, curious students learn from and work alongside world leading academics, getting directly involved in research that breaks boundaries and tackles global challenges.

“This is a particularly exciting year for us, as we are opening our new campus at East Bank on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. UCL East is the culmination of years of passion and perseverance as we and our partners bring the vision of our new site to life, driving local innovation to transform lives across the globe.”

Helen Davies, editor of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said: “We are here to champion the ambitious work of our first-class universities, and the aspirations of any student of any age who wants to keep on learning.

“Almost two centuries since its founding, in 1826, UCL continues to challenge its students, raises the bar for research and provokes global debate on everything from detecting cancers to legal action on behalf of those affected by climate change. The expansion of its curriculum, and its campus into east London, is visionary.”

The Times and Sunday Times University of the Year has been awarded every year since 1999 and UCL previously won the award in 2004.  In ranking universities, The Good University Guide uses the latest data to measure for criteria, including student satisfaction, quality of teaching, graduate job prospects, entry standards and research quality. This year UCL improved its performance across these areas moving up to 6th, up from 7th last year.

These recent accolades, research achievements and exciting plans for the future, are rewards and recognition for UCL’s powerful community of brave thinkers, who have the freedom to challenge and think differently.

UCL in numbers

A global research powerhouse

  • 9th in the world *2024 QS World University Rankings
  • Second in the world for the strength of our international research network *2024 QS World University Rankings
  • £2.27bn research grants under management
  • 93% of UCL’s research is ranked ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’
  • Top 10 globally in 10 subject areas *2023 QS World University Rankings by Subject

Delivering transformational impact across London and the UK

  • Generated £9.9bn of economic impact across the UK *2018-19 academic year, UCL London Economics report June 2022 
  • Actively support more than 450 London-based high-potential businesses to innovate and grow

Its graduate achievements

  • Ranked among the top 20 universities worldwide for graduate employability *2022 QS Graduate Employability Rankings
  • 90 UCL alumni have been named in Forbes 30 Under 30
  • UCL undergraduates attract a starting salary that is 20.7% higher (£32k) than the UK average *Graduate Outcomes 2020-21
  • 400,000 alumni in 190 countries

Driving UK innovation

  • National leader in knowledge exchange
  • £2.9bn external investment in spinouts *HEBCI 2014-2022
  • Five UCL spinouts listed on the Nasdaq, collectively raising £796m
  • In 2023 AI firm Synthesia, co-founded by a UCL scientist, became a $1bn unicorn
  • Over 400 new graduate businesses and 60 spinouts started at UCL, raising more than £3.2bn in investment *HEBCI 2014-2022

Collaborations with global reach

  • 70k collaborative research papers with the top five knowledge producing countries *Collaborative publications on Web of Science, no restriction on author numbers, 2017-2021.
  • Highest number of internationally co-authored research papers in the Russell Group *2018-2022: total 56,089 papers
  • Second in the world for open access research outputs *Web of Science
  • UCL Press reached 7m downloads across 246 countries and territories


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