Five UAE institutions on 'Times Higher Education' young university global rankings

UK has most entries but Asian universities dominate top placings

Towers, rooftop garden and screened stairwell. NTU - Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore, Singapore. Architect:  Heatherwick Studio, 2015. (Photo by: Hufton+Crow/View Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
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Times Higher Education has released a new table of the world's best universities under 50 years old – with five UAE institutions on the list.

The Young University Rankings 2021 examined the achievements of 475 universities from 63 countries.

The UK was the country with the highest number of entries although the list was dominated by high-achieving universities in Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.

Nanyang Technological University in Singapore came top. The institution caters for more than 25,000 students and is already considered one of the world's best, despite being established only three decades ago.

Paris Sciences et Lettres University came second while Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was third.

Gulf nations were well represented, including Saudi Arabia with seven universities, three of which made their debut on the list.

Saudi Arabia's Alfaisal was the highest ranked Gulf entry in 36th place, its third consecutive year in the top 50.

The United Arab Emirates University was in 53rd spot and Khalifa University was 54th. The University of Sharjah came 177th.

Zayed University (201-250) is the UAE's 'only debutant this year, claiming a top 250 position alongside the American University of Sharjah.

The UK was the most represented country with 37 entries. The highest ranked British college was Brighton and Sussex Medical School, awarded a position in the top 50 for the fourth consecutive year.

India had 34 entries, including many science-focused colleges. The Indian Institute of Technology Ropar was the country's highest in joint 63rd place while the Indian Institute of Technology Indore was 76th.

Other countries featuring strongly were Spain and Turkey with 33 and 31 institutions respectively.

The highest-placed university in mainland China was the Southern University of Science and Technology, ranked 26th.

Times Higher Education young university rankings Top 10

  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris
  • The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
  • City University of Hong Kong
  • Maastricht University
  • Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa
  • Pohang University of Science and Technology
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology

The Times Higher Education Young University Rankings list the world's best universities that are 50 years old or younger.

It uses the same globally recognised indicators as THE Global Rankings, but the criteria were adjusted to give less weight to reputation.

The universities are judged across five areas: teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); citations (research influence); international outlook (staff, students and research); and industry income (knowledge transfer).

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - APRIL 6:  The United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain on April 6, 2010.  (Randi Sokoloff / The National)  For News story by Melanie Swan

Many of the world's top universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, were founded hundreds of years ago. However, authors of the list say newer universities have shown academic excellence despite their recently established status.

“This year, we have seen more universities join the rankings than ever before, and witnessed Nanyang Technological University, Singapore become the first Singaporean university to achieve the number one spot," he said.

Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at THE, said while more established universities have accumulated property and developed generations of successful alumni, younger universities can use their relative youth to disrupt the status quo.

"The dynamism of these younger institutions is reflected throughout the rankings, but maybe most obviously in the top 10, where we see a record seven countries and regions represented in the group for the first time.

“Despite youth often being paralleled with inexperience in a centuries-old university sector, these institutions have the ability to be proactive and flexible in the ever-changing higher education environment, not held back by tradition or expectation and are offering world-class education, research and teaching across their missions. They are well poised to shake up traditional higher education hierarchies.”