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Oxford University has come top of a major international university league table for ‘clinical, pre-clinical and health’.

The Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2011-12 see Oxford medicine overtake previous leader Harvard for the top spot.

Oxford is the only non-American institution at the top of any of the subject league tables.

The University of Oxford as a whole came fourth in the overall league table – the only non-US institution in the top five.

In ‘clinical, pre-clinical and health’, one of six major subject tables, Oxford led the field, followed by Harvard in second place, Imperial College London in third, Cambridge fourth and Johns Hopkins fifth.

The rankings considered factors under five broad categories: ‘Teaching – the learning environment’; ‘research – volume, income and reputation’; ‘citations – research influence’; ‘international outlook – staff, students and research’; and ‘industry income – innovation.’ The research influence indicator is given the heaviest weighting, accounting for 35% of the overall score.

In an article accompanying the ‘clinical, preclinical and health’ league table, the Times Higher wrote: ‘[Oxford]’s medical courses are perhaps best known for being extremely hard to get into ... But it is in medical research where Oxford really stands out, bolstered by the largest cluster of overseas research activity across the entire University – the Africa and Asia Tropical Medicine network.

‘And the future looks bright, too: in August, the institution was awarded well over £100 million over five years in three separate tranches by the National Institute for Health Research to fund research partnerships between the university and local hospitals.’

Oxford’s medical sciences division is one of the largest biomedical research centres in Europe, with over 2,500 people involved in research and more than 2,800 students. Its teaching and research spans fundamental science right through to clinical trials and translation into treatment, delivered in partnership with the local hospitals. It brings in around two-thirds of Oxford University’s external research income. Listed by itself, that would make it the fifth largest university in the UK in terms of research grants and contracts.

Related links

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011-12

World rankings for Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health

Medical Sciences research showcase