Abu Dhabi University has been ranked among the top 250 universities in the world in a new higher education league table.
The university made it into the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the first-time last year and was counted among the world’s top 350 but rose to the 201-250 position in the latest table.
This is the highest position achieved by a UAE-based university.
Previously, the highest-placed universities on the league table were University of Sharjah and United Arab Emirates University, which both were in the 251-300 grouping in last year’s table.
Times Higher Education released the results of its 2024 World University Rankings on Wednesday and found that on average, UAE universities had risen by 89 positions in the past year.
Phil Baty, chief global affairs officer at Times Higher Education, said the UAE’s progress has been exceptional.
“Universities from the UAE are knocking on the door of the world’s top 200 universities, which is an extremely impressive achievement for such a young nation and given where higher education and research was in the country just a decade ago,” he said.
“With the government’s continued investment in higher education and research it’s highly likely we’ll see a UAE university in the top 200 in the coming years.”
Prof Ghassan Aouad, chancellor of Abu Dhabi University, said the improved ranking was a result of various achievements over the years.
“It’s a combination for sure, technology is one, an improvement in the quality of research publication and citations is one, but also improving the quality of teaching and being recognised internationally,” he said.
“It’s creating this ecosystem in the university where we want to improve on all fronts in terms of teaching and research, international outlook, collaborations we have with international institutions and the number of international students the number of international faculty.”
The university devised a strategy to improve its ranking and worked hard to improve, “and to be in the top 250 is a big achievement”, the chancellor said.
“We are hoping that we can be in the in the top 200 and then in a few years and maybe we could be in the top 100 if we keep this sustained performance,” he added.
Six of the best from the UAE
This year, six universities from the UAE have featured in the table.
Khalifa University is the second-highest ranked university and is placed among the top 251-300 universities worldwide, a jump from the 351-400 band last year.
The third highest ranked university in the country is United Arab Emirates University which came in the 301-350 band, a drop from its position in the 251-300 band.
University of Sharjah also dropped in the table while American University of Sharjah retained its position. Zayed University improved its ranking 501-600 to 401-500 this year.
In 2021, Khalifa University became the first university in the UAE to rank among the top 200 of a global higher education league table when the institution ranked 183 in the 2022 QS World University Rankings.
Duncan Ross, chief data officer at Times Higher Education, said that compared to the rest of the world, universities in the UAE had performed exceptionally well in the international staff and international co-authorship metrics, as well as in the research quality category.
Areas considered weaker included industry income and patents, where universities in the country performed below the global median.
“This year marks the first time that all pillars in the UAE have exceeded the global average scores,” said Mr Ross.
Globally, the University of Oxford was ranked the best while Stanford University placed second and Massachusetts Institute of Technology was at the third position.
The 2024 league table included 1,904 universities from 108 countries.
The latest Times Higher Education Arab University Rankings ranked universities based on indicators such as teaching, research quality, research environment, international outlook and industry.
Meanwhile, eight universities in Saudi Arabia were in the top 600 globally.
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals is the highest-ranked university in Saudi Arabia placed in the 201-250 band while King Abdulaziz University was ranked 251-300 , a drop from the 101st position last year.
The rankings found that, while universities in Saudi Arabia performed well in most areas, research productivity remained comparatively low.
The data indicated that more efforts were needed to develop the country’s research foundations, develop more PhD programes and on improving university-industry relationships.