Cash-strapped and resource-poor Indian universities have failed to make it to a list of the world's top 100 institutions under 50 years old, published by The Times.
South Korea's Pohang University of Science and Technology heads a list of the world's Top 100 "young" universities for the second consecutive year.
The annual '100 Under 50' rankings, published by The Times newspaper's 'Higher Education' supplement here yesterday, also found China and Russia lagging behind in terms of newer universities.
"South Korea's experience shows that it is possible for nations with sufficient political will to build in a relatively short time world-class universities that can
compete with the traditional elites in the US and the UK," said Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education rankings.
"We haven't found many examples of India's universities under 50 years which are currently meeting our tough global standards," he added.
The 100 Under 50 is based on the same 13 performance indicators covering teaching, research, interaction with industry and internationalisation that underpin the
supplement's definitive World University Rankings, although academic reputation is less significant.
To qualify for inclusion in the ranking, universities have to be 50 years old or younger, founded in 1963 onwards.
The ranking provides a fresh perspective on the concept of the "elite university", which some believe better reflects past glories and reputation built up over centuries than current academic excellence.
"The traditional elite cannot afford to coast on centuries of history and tradition or rely too heavily on reputation. There is a new breed of dynamic universities
emerging quickly and visibly to challenge for their crowns," Baty said.
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist) also rises from fifth to third, while the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology drops one place to fourth.
Only one UK institution - the University of York, in seventh place - makes the top 10, compared with three last year.
After York, the highest-placed UK institutions are the University of Warwick (13th), Lancaster University (14th) and the University of East Anglia (16th).
Overall, however, the UK still has the most representatives in the list, with 18 in the top 100 institutions but down from 20 last year.
Other strong national systems include Australia (13 institutions), the US (eight), France (seven), Spain (six) and Taiwan (five).