Saudi and UAE universities lead Arab region in research, QS world rankings show

UAE University is the country's highest-ranked institution and placed sixth in the Arab world

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The UAE’s top universities are leading the way in the Arab region for research and winning recognition among international academics.

United Arab Emirates University is the country's highest-ranked institution, although it has slipped from the fifth position in the region last year to the sixth rank this year in the QS World University Rankings of the Arab region’s best universities, published on Wednesday.

While Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University took the top spot in the region for the fourth consecutive year, Qatar University took the second place and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia ranked third.

The Arab Region is home to a burgeoning higher education ecosystem and its countries continue to assert themselves and their universities on the global stage
QS senior vice president Ben Sowter

The UAE had three universities placed in the top 10 across the Arab region, while 10 universities from the Emirates placed in the top 50.

Khalifa University of Science and Technology improved from the ninth position in the 2022 ranking to the seventh rank in 2023 league table. American University of Sharjah was ranked eighth last year and ninth in the latest list.

The new rankings revealed that the UAE is home to the Arab Region’s most prolific research institutions, with the British University in Dubai and Khalifa University scoring perfect 100s for the number of papers per faculty.

UAE University is the country’s most well-renowned institution among international academics, scoring 96.9/100 for academic reputation.

Khalifa University ranked ninth regionally for its international research network.

Quacquarelli Symonds, global higher education analyst and compiler of the list of the Arab Region’s best universities included 199 universities across 18 countries in the latest edition of their league table.

United Arab Emirates University, or UAEU, is the first national university and one of the highest-ranked and largest higher education institutions in the country.

QS senior vice president Ben Sowter said: “The fact that the UAE boasts the highest concentration of top universities in the Arab Region is significant but unsurprising.

"It reflects an extended period of economic growth and subsequent education boom that has been supported by ambitious development projects.

“The UAE is a hugely attractive higher-education destination for international faculty and students alike. This translates into outstanding research productivity, made possible by a diverse and highly trained cohort.

“If the UAE hopes to close the gap on its regional and global competitors, it should ensure that this superlative research output is of equally superlative impact and relevance, in turn bolstering its global renown.

"The Arab Region is home to a burgeoning higher education ecosystem and its countries continue to assert themselves and their universities on the global stage.”

The latest edition of the rankings included 14 universities in the UAE. Of these, five improved their ranks, while seven declined and two universities retained their spots.

Abu Dhabi University jumped from rank 37 last year to the 31st spot this year, while American University in Dubai dropped from 28 last year to the 33rd spot this year.

University of Sharjah retained its spot at 15 and Zayed University at the 20th spot.

Updated: October 19, 2022, 1:11 PM