KAIST South Korea campus.

TWO university rankings, Times Higher Education (THE) and Reuters Top 75:Asia’s Most Innovative Universities revealed their annual lists last week reflecting an increasingly competitive higher education landscape.

THE published its World Reputation Rankings, the definitive list of the world’s most prestigious universities compiled, from research insight from leading global academics.

The United States takes eight out of the top10 places, and have a total of 42 institutions in the top 100. No Malaysian university made it to the top 100 for this ranking.

Reuters Top 75 is a list that identifies and ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science and invent new technologies. It is produced in partnership with Clarivate Analytics, the ranking factors in academic papers patent filings and performance.

Under this ranking, two Malaysian universities — University Putra Malaysia and University of Malaya — ranked in the top 75 last year slipped off the list this year.

Asian universities continue their rise with 28 institutions in this year’s ranking with China continuing to rise and, overtaking several prestigious European institutions.

THE rankings editor Phil Baty said: “The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings are based on nothing more than subjective judgment — but it is the considered judgment of senior, published academics, the people best placed to know the most about the world’s universities.

“A striking feature of this year’s table is the continued rise of Asia, in particular China, whose universities are overtaking distinguished Western institutions.

“Meanwhile, universities in North America and Europe are losing ground. Institutions across the world are jostling to make a name for themselves on the global stage.”

THE ranking also shows that universities in the Asia-Pacific are becoming increasingly prominent brands on the world stage.

“Mainland China is the stand-out performer in the region; Tsinghua and Peking universities have each risen four places to 14th and 17th place respectively, overtaking distinguished Western institutions including Imperial College London, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University. Meanwhile, the University of Hong Kong features in the top 40 for the first time in five years after climbing six places to joint 39th, and South Korea has three representatives, up from two in last year’s table. Both of Singapore’s leading universities also make the table.

“However, there are warning signs for Japan and Taiwan. Although the regions have improved their performance in the reputation table, their diminishing success in the World University Rankings list in recent years may harm their prestige in future years,” Baty added.

Meanwhile, Australia does not have more representatives, given the strong teaching and research performances of its universities.

South Korea and China dominate the Reuters Top 75 this year with Korea Advanced Institute of Science Technology (KAIST) and Seoul National University (SNU), both from South Korea, ranked first and second places.

KAIST earned its first-place rank by producing a high volume of influential inventions — the key criteria in this ranking of which was compiled in partnership with Clarivate Analytics, and is based on proprietary data and analysis of indicators including patent filings and research paper citations.

Its researchers submit more patents than 74 out of the 75 top-ranked universities in the region, and outside researchers frequently cite KAIST inventions in their own patents and research papers.

Overall, South Korean universities fill four of the top five spots on the ranking and eight of the top 20.

There are 22 South Korean universities among the top 75. China has the most universities on the list — 25 between Hong Kong and the mainland, Japan has 19 ranked universities, Australia has five, Hong Kong has four, Singapore has two, and New Zealand and India each have one.

Apart from the two Malaysian universities, another three ranked in the top 75 last year slipped off the list in 2017. They are Japan’s Nihon University, the Indian Institute of Science - Bangalore, and the University of South Australia. These drop-offs were all supplanted by fast-growing institutions in China and South Korea: the China University of Petroleum (#45), the University of Ulsan (#69), the University of Electronic Science & Technology of China (#70), Yeungnam University (#73), and Tongji University (#75).

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