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‘Far-right populism’ impacts academic freedom in Hungary, says Times Higher Education

Weekly U.K. magazine Times Higher Education (THE) has announced its World University Rankings for 2019, with seven Hungarian institutions among more than 1,250 ranked universities, yet none in the top 400. THE observes that academic freedom is impacted by "far-right populism" in Hungary. 

"While there is great success for many European countries and universities in this year’s rankings, a shift in the political climate across the continent could damage many of its higher education systems in future years," says Ellie Bothwell, rankings editor for THE, in a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

"Universities in the U.K., and Europe as a whole, will lose out if pan-European mobility and research collaborations are restricted as a result of Brexit, while the rise in far-right populism is already impacting universities’ academic freedom in countries such as Hungary," Bothwell continues. "These factors, combined with stiff competition from Asia, will put European universities under a great deal of pressure over the coming 12 months," she warns.

The best Hungarian institution on the list is Semmelweis University, the oldest medical school in Hungary, ranking in the 401-500 bracket. Eötvös Lóránd University (ELTE) clinches a place in 601-800, while the University of Pécs and the University of Szeged also fall in the same bracket. Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) and the University of Debrecen achieve rankings in the 801-1000 bracket, while Corvinus University falls below 1001.

While Oxford and Cambridge retain the top two positions on THEʼs list, Japan surpasses the U.K. as the second most represented nation after the U.S. The two U.K. institutions are joined by U.S. universities Stanford, MIT, and Caltech to complete the top five.