The ranking is based on such indicators of academic and research performance as the number of Nobel Prize winners, prominent researchers, and articles published in fields of nature and science and academic performance per faculty. The U.S. still dominates the highest positions, occupying 17 out of 20 top positions.
The best European universities are Oxford and Cambridge, the only European universities in the list of the world top ten universities. Regarded as the oldest institutions in the English-speaking world, Oxford and Cambridge claim to produce more British and foreign Prime Ministers, Nobel Prize winners and scientists than any other institution of higher learning.
As of 2005, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford occupy the second and eighth position respectively. U.K. is also represented in the list of European universities by such institutions as Imperial College London, which ranks 23 and University College London, ranking 25. Originally called the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, the college has adopted the name Imperial College London in 2002. Considered one of the best European universities, Imperial focuses mainly on a curriculum of science and technology. The institution has consistently ranked third in the United Kingdom after Oxford and Cambridge and is seen as one of the top engineering universities in Europe and the world. According to the Times Higher Education Supplement university ranking, Imperial College London rates with the world's top five universities for engineering, information technologies and science. In the list of best European universities it ranks third after Oxford and Cambridge.
University College London is one of the colleges of the University of London. With its combined staff and student body numbering 25,000, the college is larger than the majority of universities in the United Kingdom. It is also regarded as the third oldest institution in the country after Oxford and Cambridge. Together with the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and London School of Economics University College London make the G5 group of elite and prestigious universities.
Switzerland is represented in the list of the best European universities by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, located in Zurich. The university is commonly referred to as ETH. Currently the university is fifth and twenty-seventh in Europe and the world respectively. It is seen as one of the leading European universities in the fields of Computer Science, Engineering, Physics and Chemistry.
Utrecht University is the top institution in Netherlands and one of the best European universities. In Shanghai Jiao Tong University classification it ranks 41st in the world. As of 2004, it had enrollment of nearly 27,000 students and 8,000 staff members, which makes the university one of the largest in Europe.
The Karolinska Institute is a medical school in Sweden, considered one of the country's largest centers for training and research and the largest institution of higher learning in medicine worldwide. The institution is a member of the League of European Research Universities.