There will be more cross-border collaborations among Malaysia's top varsities to ensure that they remain among the world's top 300 universities, said Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh. (Pix by MOHD FADLI HAMZAH)

PUTRAJAYA: There will be more cross-border collaborations among Malaysia's top varsities to ensure that they remain among the world's top 300 universities, said Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

"We will continue to improve our universities' world ranking by having more cross-border collaborations. We will have sharing of facilities and research. We will also improve the students and lecturers' mobility. It goes beyond the campus," Idris told reporters during a press briefing on the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings at the ministry today.

The improved world ranking for top five local research universities have placed them in the Top one per cent research universities in the world, he announced, adding that Malaysian award-winning academic researchers are among the most sought after in the world.

Based on a global ranking system involving 26,000 research universities in the world, conducted by QS, topping the list as the best Malaysian research university is University of Malaya (UM) - currently ranked 114 in the world.

"UM is getting close to becoming the top 100 research universities in the world. This is good news to us since we introduced the research university initiatives in Malaysia 10 years ago," he said.

Joining UM in the world rankings are Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

"Between 2007 to 2016, local research universities have generated RM6.18 billion income for the country," Idris added.

"This is a 55.3 percent return on research investment made by the government."

Attributing the success of UM to its enhanced engineering faculty, its Acting Vice-Chancellor Prof Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud said, "We know we have a lot of challenges ahead of us as we strive to be among the top 100 research universities in the world. Our research and development budget is limited. Competition is stiff. But we'll try our best."

While UPM and UKM are ranked 229 and 230 respectively, UTM landed on the 253 spot.

As for USM, it has improved its world ranking from 330 to 264 this year.

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