NTU climbs back to No. 5 as NUS retains 3rd spot among Asian universities in Times rankings

Both universities have held top 10 positions since 2015. PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has been ranked fifth among Asia's top universities, while the National University of Singapore (NUS) retained third place in the latest rankings by Times Higher Education.

NTU returned to the top five after finishing sixth in 2020 as NUS continued its stay in the top three. Both universities have held top 10 positions since 2015.

The top 10 universities in Asia were dominated by those in China and Hong Kong, with Tsinghua University and Peking University clinching the first and second spots respectively while the University of Hong Kong retained fourth place.

This is the third year running that Tsinghua University has been ranked first.

Other universities on the list include the University of Tokyo in sixth place, Seoul National University in ninth and Kyoto University in 10th, having climbed two places after ranking 12th last year.

This year's rankings, which were released on Wednesday (June 2), comprises 551 universities from 30 countries and regions, up from the 489 ranked in 2020.

Times Higher Education assessed the universities based on 13 performance indicators that are grouped into 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).

Mr Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer of the publication, said the increasing number of participating universities highlights the growing competitiveness across the region.

He added: "It will be interesting to see what happens in the region over the coming years, and how universities across Asia adapt to the post-Covid world.

"Despite the difficulties caused by Covid-19, there may be an opportunity for Asian universities to attract and retain more regional students and academic staff as disruption to traditional talent flow continues."

NUS noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the push for universities worldwide to transform and enhance their contributions to society.

An NUS spokesman said: "We have been sharpening our graduate's competencies and preparing them to be more agile and adaptable by intensifying our focus on interdisciplinarity, experiential and cross-cultural learning, alongside our efforts in lifelong learning initiatives."

The spokesman added that NUS has also strengthened its research capabilities as it innovates to find solutions to pressing local and global challenges, such as in supporting the pandemic efforts, from rapid diagnostics to vaccine development.

Professor Ling San, deputy president and provost of NTU, said its climb up the Asia University Rankings was driven by its strong performance in citations and industry income indicators.

He added that despite the Covid-19 pandemic last year, NTU remained actively engaged in industry collaborations and research, such as developing rapid test kits to help in the pandemic.

"The university's achievement is the result of the hard work and concerted efforts of the NTU community to achieve the university's mission and objectives. Educating and training the next generation of thinkers, innovators, leaders and lifelong learners is central to our mission," said Prof Ling.

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