Cambridge top of the class for tech degrees in UK

The University of Cambridge has been named the fourth best place in the world for those wanting to study technology.

Cambridge, whose famous alumni include Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, is one of three universities in England to be make it into the top ten of the QS World University Rankings 2010 for the subject.

The others are Imperial College London, in sixth place, and the University of Oxford, joint ninth with the University of Singapore (NUS).

Only one other UK university made it into the top 50 – the University of Edinburgh, which squeezed in at number 46 (graduating from 52nd place in 2009).

The QS list describes Cambridge, one of the oldest universities in the world, as having a reputation for “outstanding academic achievement”. 

It also comments on its science parks which surround the city, stating: “Within each College, staff and students of all disciplines are brought together. This cross-fertilisation has encouraged the free exchange of ideas which has led to the creation of a number of new companies. Trinity and St John’s have also established science parks, providing facilities for start-ups and making a significant contribution to the identification of Cambridge as a centre of innovation and technology.”

The US dominated the upper end of the table, with the top three universities named as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB).

A University of Oxford spokesperson was full of praise for its tech-savvy students.

He said: “Oxford’s world class research and teaching in technology means that its engineers and scientists are at the forefront of innovation, with one recent example being the acquisition by Google of Oxford student start-up Plink Search Ltd. 

“The University is committed to turning ideas from the lab into new products and services, supporting innovation through new initiatives such as The Oxford Invention Fund, and through its technology transfer company Isis Innovation Limited, which has created 65 companies since 1997 and files, on average, one patent application each week.”

Boffins at Cambridge were unable to comment specifically on the Technology ranking, but Professor Steve Young, senior pro-vice-chancellor at Cambridge, stated that the university was pleased with its performance overall in 2010.

He said: “While university league tables tend to over-simplify the range of achievements at institutions, it is particularly pleasing to note that the excellence of the transformative research – research that changes people’s lives – carried out at Cambridge is so well regarded by fellow academics worldwide.”

Meanwhile, The Times Higher Education is due to publish its own rival list of the world’s Top 50 Engineering & Technology Universities later this month.