EDINBURGH University remains Scotland’s sole representative on a list of the world’s most prestigious higher education institutions.
The university held its 46th position in the top 100 of World Reputation Rankings, with the upper reaches of the league dominated by US institutions.
The list, based on a survey of senior academics, is topped by what its compilers describe as Anglo-American “super-brands”.
In first place was Harvard University, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University.
Cambridge was the highest-placed UK institution, in the fourth spot down from third last year, followed by Oxford in fifth, down one from fourth.
The research also shows a widening gulf between a “golden triangle” of institutions in London, Oxford and Cambridge and the rest of the nation.
Rankings editor Phil Baty said: “The UK has lost three big-name universities from the list since the rankings were first published in 2011. In 2012, the University of Sheffield exited the rankings, the University of Leeds followed suit in 2013, and this year the University of Bristol misses out.
“Given how important global reputation is in attracting top international talent, collaborations and investment, this is cause for concern.”
Eight of the UK’s ten entrants, compiled by the Times Higher Education supplement, come from a “golden triangle” in the south-east of England, the rankings show.
Besides Oxford and Cambridge, these were Imperial College London (13th), the London School of Economics (24th), University College London (25th) and King’s College London (43rd), as well as the London Business School and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which both entered in the 91-100 band.
The US has the most universities in the top 100 with 46, while Germany has six, putting it just behind the UK. Australia and Japan have five each, and 20 countries have at least one institution in the top 100.
Wendy Piatt, director-general of the Russell Group, which represents 24 top universities including Edinburgh and Glasgow, said: “Our leading universities continue to be held in high regard around the world with the UK coming second only to the United States overall.
“However, UK public spending on higher education and research is comparable with that of Slovakia and Chile, far less than competitors like the US, China and most western European countries.”
A spokesman for Edinburgh University said: “It is a tribute to the hard work and innovation of our academic and professional support staff.”