Two UAE universities rank among Asia's top 50 for the first time

Four UAE institutes made it to the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2019

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - July 17, 2018: Stock images of Khalifa University. Monday, July 17th, 2018 at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Two UAE universities have ranked among the top 50 in Asia for the first time, according to the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2019.

The rankings, released on Wednesday, placed four of the country's universities in its list of the best 417 institutes across the region.

Khalifa University, which was already in the top 50, remained the Emirates' top-ranked institute, rising four spots to position 28.

UAE University jumped from 71 to 49, giving the country two top 50 entries for the first time. Yet the country still has room to improve, say experts.

“The data shows that all four institutions in the UAE have slightly lower scores for international outlook this year,” said Ellie Bothwell, the Times Higher Education rankings editor. “However, the country performs exceptionally well on this measure, so this is not a big concern.

“In general, universities in the UAE should concentrate on improving their teaching and research environments, both of which tend to be their weakest areas.”

UAEU improved its score through better citations in the academic papers authored by the institute’s researchers, where as Khalifa scored better this year on teaching environment.

The American University of Sharjah dropped from 167 to being in the 201 to 250 group, which fell in the 2018 Times Higher Education global assessment. It has improved on many of the metrics, but there was a faster improvement in other institutes.

The University of Sharjah maintained its position in the same grouping.

Mohamed Albaili, the vice chancellor of UAEU, said the university's ranking was a step towards its goal of breaking into the top 20 in Asia.

“[This] is an attestation that the university is enhancing its regional and global reputation by conducting cutting-edge research in areas of strategic difference to the region and the world,” he said.

The regional list of 27 countries is added with other regional lists to compile the Times Higher Education global rankings.

Universities that do not teach undergraduate students or produced less than 1,000 articles between 2013 and 2017 are excluded from consideration. Universities can also be excluded if 80 per cent or more of their research is exclusively in one of 11 subject areas.


This year’s index had 19 universities from the Middle East in the top 100.

King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia remained the top university in the MENA region, holding its position at 23. Turkey, Israel, Iran, Qatar, Jordan and Lebanon also appeared in the top 100, but institutes from the Far East dominated the table.

Tsinghua University became the first Chinese institute to rank number one on the list.

"China is once again one of the main success stories of these rankings, reflecting the country's large and sustained investment in the sector over many years. But this year's table shows that the People's Republic is far from the only Asian country to make real higher education progress," said Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at Times Higher Education, in a statement.

“Leading universities in Japan and South Korea have made significant gains. Many institutions in Malaysia are soaring up the list and there are pockets of excellence in India and Indonesia.”

Japan was the most represented country with 103 listed institutions.