Top Universities rankings: UAE's status boosted in new global league table

Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi came top in the Emirates and fourth in the Mena region

Five of the UAE’s universities rose up this year’s international index.
Five of the UAE’s universities rose up this year’s international index.

UAE universities continued to boost their global standing on Wednesday, with eight institutions ranked in the top 1,000 around the world.

Khalifa University, in Abu Dhabi, came top in the Emirates and fourth in the Mena region overall.

Five of the country’s universities rose in this year’s international index while three in the region entered the table for the first time.

Only one university in the Emirates – the American University of Dubai – dropped in the global ranking order, with two others maintaining their position.

“It is clear that the universities from the Arab Region are breaking new ground in the search for excellence, with institutions in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman all reaching record highs,” said Ben Sowter, director of research at the QS World University Rankings.

“This is reflected in the increasing research output from the region. This is in part a testament to the clear-minded strategising on the part of government bodies like the UAE’s Ministry of Education, which is reaping the rewards of both establishing a National Commission for Scientific Research…and its conscious attempts to attract gifted foreign researchers.”

The publication of the rankings from Quacquarelli Symonds, a global education research consultancy, is in its 16th year.

In total, it placed 37 universities from eight countries in the Arab region in the top 1,000 institutions globally.


QS World University Rankings - top 20


Khalifa University was ranked fourth in the region, breaking into the top 300 universities in the world for the first time. It was ranked 268th, up from 315th last year, according to the report.

Dr Arif Al Hammadi, executive vice-president of Khalifa University, said the high ranking is the result of years of hard work.

The university is aiming to carry out new research in health sciences and attract graduate students from across the globe.

"We want to be the leading university in the UAE and in the region and set a good example that UAE can become a hub for education," said Dr Al Hammadi.

“It is a good sign that more UAE universities are getting into the world university table as it shows more research is happening in the country."

Across the Mena region, 14 universities rose up the table this year, while a total of 10 fell.

UAE University in Abu Dhabi was ranked the second highest-institution in the country, placed at 329th and up from 350.

Meanwhile, the American University of Sharjah also rose six spots from 376th in the table to 371.

The new index also reported that the American University in Dubai had dropped from the 561-570 category to the 601-650 bracket. Zayed University in the capital, however, shot up from the 701-750 bracket to the 651-700 range.

Professor Reyadh AlMehaideb, vice president of Zayed University said the institution is strengthening partnerships with fellow academic facilities in order to continue its rise up the ranks.

"We are working on enhancing research collaborations, participating at international conferences and building a strong network to facilitate knowledge sharing.

"As an institution, we currently have three research institutes centres, and six new research centers are getting established in relevant areas to the development of the UAE, like smart cities, energy, and environment, social innovation, in the culture and arts, and in the teaching and learning of Arabic language,” he said.

Ajman University was ranked among the top 800 institutions in the world.

"Our performance clearly indicates that Ajman University is now firmly established on the global map," said Dr Karim Seghir, chancellor of Ajman University.

Each year, QS ranks the world’s top 1,000 universities based on academic reputation, employer reputation, citations from faculty, international student ratio and faculty to student ratio.

This year, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was named the world’s topmost university for the eighth year in a row.

In the Arab region, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz University became the region’s best-rated institution, ranking 231st this year and up from 286 last year.

At seventh position globally, Cambridge University in the UK dropped to its lowest rank in the university table.

With uncertainty around Brexit, universities in the UK have been falling in rankings for two years.

This year, two out of three of the 84 UK universities that are ranked have slipped in the index.

Updated: June 20, 2019 08:54 PM


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