Four universities in the UAE have been named among the top 31 institutions of higher learning in the Arab region, according to the Times Higher Education's Arab World University Rankings 2018.
Khalifa University of Science and Technology was ranked second and the United Arab Emirates University moved up one spot to fifth. The American University of Sharjah climbed two places to 12th while the University of Sharjah made its debut on the list by coming in 14th place.
"It was a great pleasure for me, and several other members of the KU team, to attend the THE Mena Summit in Jeddah where the latest THE Arab World Rankings were announced," said Dr Tod Laursen, interim president of the university.
“I am so pleased with KU’s high rankings in the most recent release and proud of the efforts of our faculty, staff and students that made this possible. Attending this summit, with academics from around the world, makes clear that our university continues to advance an international reputation through our collective efforts.”
Last month, KU ranked 32 out of 359 universities appraised in the THE's Asia University 2018 Rankings. The university is an amalgamation of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the Petroleum Institute and Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (Kustar), which merged last year to become the country's youngest public university.
King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia retained its top spot in the region for the third year in a row.
“Being the top university in the Arab World is not the end of our story as we aspire to be among the top 200 universities in the world to fulfil a part of the Saudi Vision 2030,” said Abdulrahman Al-Youbi, president of King Abdulaziz University.
“This goal requires KAU to shoulder an ever increasing responsibility to secure our long-term success. This road is not easy as we continue with our strategic plan to advance the existing knowledge and skills of our students and faculty, promote national prosperity, and expand our research initiatives to reach global significance.
“However, we are fully committed to all of these endeavours and certainly view our latest ranking as a significant step in that direction.”
Egypt is the most-represented nation in the table, claiming nine of the 31 places, up from eight last year. However, it has just one top-10 representative: Beni-Suef University at 10th place.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia takes five spots, the UAE claims four, and Morocco and Jordan each have three.
"The United Arab Emirates is one of the strongest nations in the table," according to THE.
The league table, published on Wednesday, is based on the same methodology as THE's flagship World University Rankings, but includes only universities located in nations that are members of the Arab League.
The UAE, Saudi and Qatar were recognised for driving their scholarship forward through internationalisation, according to THE.
"In all three nations, more than 60 per cent of research between 2014 and 2017 featured at least one co-author from outside the country," according to THE. "The international collaboration rates for Switzerland and Singapore — two of the most open research nations in the world — were both lower than those of Qatar and Saudi Arabia."
The results were revealed at THE's Mena Universities Summit, which is being held in Jeddah partnership with King Abdulaziz University.
"The ranking uses the same 13 rigorous and demanding performance indicators as the overall World University Rankings, so it is a great achievement," said Phil Baty, THE's editorial director of global rankings.
“The results demonstrate that leading universities are found across the Arab region. While Egypt dominates the table, universities from 11 countries make the list, proving what a diverse and competitive higher education region the Arab world is becoming.
“However, the ranking also shows that there is a lack of data on higher education institutions in the region. Of the 1,102 universities that make our World University Rankings, just 31 are based in the Arab world. We hope that more universities in the region will participate in future years.”
*Additional reporting by Roberta Pennington