UK universities boast highest percentage of Nobel Prize winners

As 2015's Nobel Prize winners were being revealed in Sweden, a new study showed that more than a third of the winners who had studied abroad since the prize was introduced in 1901, had attended universities in the UK.

St John\'s Cambridge
The research by the British Council found that 50 international students who went on to win one of the prestigious awards had been educated at UK universities – more than any other country.The study found that, since the prize's inception, 131 of the 860 individuals to receive awards had studied overseas and 38 per cent had done so in Britain, a far higher percentage than those who had opted for the US and Germany, the second and third most popular places.Cambridge University could boast the most overseas students who went on to win the award with 18 foreign Nobel Laureates, while 11 went to Oxford and another five attended the London School of Economics.The most frequently awarded Nobel prize for UK alumni was physiology or medicine, with 17 winners. Eight UK alumni won prizes for physics, eight for chemistry, seven for economics, five for literature and five for peace.The study also found that there have been 91 British winners of the prize since 1901. The University of Cambridge again tops the list with 48 British students going on to win the prize, followed by the University of Oxford (17) and the University of Manchester (seven).With almost a half-million international students currently attending UK universities, Dr Jo Beall, British Council director of education, said the attraction for students looking abroad is down to the Britain's "global reputation for excellence".She added, "The British Council celebrates UK alumni and, without question, Nobel Laureates have changed the world. Their journeys would have begun with their studies at university, so it's wonderful to discover that, for Nobel Laureates who went abroad to pursue their education, more studied in the UK than anywhere else."Looking at students currently at British universities, Dr Beall said, "It's thrilling to imagine what they will go on to achieve and which of them could be future Nobel Laureates, with their experience here as a springboard to that."Prof Sir Timothy O'Shea, vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, commented, "This research by the British Council affirms the transformative effect that learning in other countries and cultures has – and it is our ambition to offer all our students an international learning experience."The most recent Nobel winner to study in the UK as an overseas student was Randy Schekman, an American cell biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who won the 2013 prize for physiology or medicine. While an undergraduate, Dr Schekman spent his third year studying at the University of Edinburgh.

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