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Australia has more successful young institutions than any other nation, according to the latest league table of the world’s best universities established during the past 50 years.

But the top 100 under 50 ranking, released yesterday by metrics house QS, suggests the old guard of US and British universities face a challenge from the East.

Asian universities have claimed the first six spots in the new list of upstarts.

First place went to 24-year-old Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, followed by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

With 16 universities in the list of 100, Australia had more entrants than any other single country, including eight institutions in the top 50.

Another eight ranked between 51 and 100 in a list that doubled in size this year.