Just three Swedish institutions feature in the Times Higher Education’s '100 Under 50' rankings this year, and all suffered significant drops.
Forty-year-old Linköping University in southern Sweden suffered the biggest drop, falling from 46th to 59th place.
Northern Sweden’s Umeå University dropped 12 places from 39th to 51st place. This is the last year that the university will be featuring in the list, as it is about to celebrate it's 50th anniversary.
The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, founded in 1977 with campuses around the country, also fell significantly, dropping ten places from 24th place in 2014 to 34th.
Sweden wasn’t the only Nordic country to lose ground, with Denmark’s University of Southern Denmark slipping seven places to 44th place and Aalborg falling two places to joint 57th.
Norway’s sole entrant, UiT The Arctic University of Norway is down to joint 73rd from 64th.
Finland fared slightly better, with the Lappeenranta University of Technology, a new entrant to the table, coming in at joint 31st. It was among three Finnish institutions represented.
The only European institution to feature in the top five, Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne claimed first place in the rankings, pushing South Korea’s Postech into second position.
The other top five spots went to universities in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Meanwhile, Australia overtook the UK as the best represented country in the list, with 16 institutions featuring in the top 100.
Other strong performers in the rankings included Spain, with six institutions, France with five and Canada with four.
While the US normally dominates the traditional rankings, just seven of its institutions featured in the ranking.
Overall, 28 countries or regions feature in the list, compared with 29 last year.
On Wednesday, another university rankings list – this time by subject – painted an altogether brighter picture for Sweden, with 14 Swedish institutions making an appearance.
The Karolinska Institute was classed particularly highly, earning first place in dentistry. The Stockholm-based university also secured sixth place in the top ten for Pharmacy and Pharmacology, ninth place in Medicine and 40th in Biological Sciences.