Singapore

NTU overtakes NUS in world varsity rankings

Nanyang Technological University (NTU), which has traditionally lagged behind the National University of Singapore (NUS) in international rankings, has overtaken Singapore's oldest university.

In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings released this morning, NTU moved up two places to be ranked 11th, while NUS fell from 12th to 15th.

Singapore Management University was placed in the 441-450 category.

NTU had made improvements across four of the six metrics QS used to rank universities and had made the biggest gains in employer reputation and citations per faculty.

QS said analysis of Scopus/Elsevier academic citations data showed NUS had higher overall research output and citations impact. But NTU scored higher because of how QS assesses research impact.

Since 2015, QS had adjusted the research data numbers to offset the advantage that institutions with large volumes of medical research have.

Also, NTU had 4,300 faculty members as opposed to 5,100 at NUS, resulting in a higher citations-per-faculty score.

"This disparity is the primary driver of NTU's success this year," said QS, adding that NTU's ascendancy is also best understood as part of a recurrent global trend - "universities with a heavy technological focus have made consistent improvements and, in many cases, are gaining ground".

Mr Ben Sowter, research director at QS, said NUS and NTU appeared to share a comparative narrative with Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

MIT overtook Harvard in the 2012 rankings.

MIT held its No. 1 position for the sixth year running in the table, which ranks the world's top 959 higher education institutions this year. Stanford is second and Harvard, third.

Professor Bertil Andersson, president of NTU, said: "As a university, we have been in hyper drive - ramping up research, designing innovative academic and research programmes, building new facilities and more."

He said NTU's young scientists make up 8 per cent of the faculty but account for almost 40 per cent of NTU's citations in top research journals, representing the NTU of tomorrow.

Mr Sowter said NTU's rise showed that young and well-run institutions could quickly achieve success.

He said NUS, which was ranked No. 1 in Asia for academic and employer reputation, "remains consistently excellent", but dropped a couple of places owing to the "ever-escalating standards" set by the world's leading universities.

NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan said: "NUS will continue to stay focused on bringing positive impact to the communities we serve through education and research."

He also commented on NUS' placing in another ranking released today - Asia's 75 most innovative universities - where NUS was placed 11th, the same as last year. Prof Tan said it was recognition of the "deep impact" of NUS' research towards the advancement of science and technology.

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