x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAEU retains its place in the world's top 500 universities

The country's first federal university has retained its place in the top 500 institutions worldwide - and now aims to begin climbing the ladder.

A UAE University class. The institution has invested in a Dh2bn campus to help boost progress up the world rankings. Sammy Dallal / The National
A UAE University class. The institution has invested in a Dh2bn campus to help boost progress up the world rankings. Sammy Dallal / The National

ABU DHABI // The country's first federal university has retained its place in the top 500 institutions worldwide - and now aims to begin climbing the ladder.

The achievement by UAE University (UAEU) is notable given it was founded less than 40 years ago in 1977.

But administrators hope to push higher up the list than their ranking of 370 thanks to a new Dh2 billion campus and by focusing more efforts on research.

The QS World University Rankings, compiled by QS in London, scores universities on the basis of academic and employer surveys, staff to student ratios, research citations and the proportion of international staff and students.

Dr Michal Grivna, an associate professor in the department of community medicine at UAEU, has worked at the university for 10 years and said the drive to improve has always been there.

"There has always been this willingness to push ahead," Dr Grivna said. "To push as a research-orientated institution and to increase student numbers and collaborations to rank among the worldwide universities."

UAEU's new 80,000-square-metre campus includes specialised research centres equipped with a state-of-the-art IT network and infrastructure.

The lecture halls and laboratories also have the latest equipment.

The new university library is stocked with books and electronic resources for extensive research and students can get their extra-curricular fix in the health clubs, Olympic-size swimming pools and tennis, basketball and badminton courts.

"The facilities have improved to accommodate the growing student body," Dr Grivna said.

He said the main improvement has been in research capabilities and opening up graduate and post- graduate courses to international students.

More than 13,500 students are enrolled at UAEU's nine colleges, which include business and economics, education, engineering, food and agriculture, humanities and social sciences, IT, law, medicine and health sciences, and science.

"We have students from other GCC countries in our post-graduate studies, and in courses of public health. This plays a major role.

"It is important for programmes to open up for other nationalities. It is an excellent opportunity for UAE nationals to broaden their perspective as well as give them a spirit of competition."

More than 55,000 students have graduated from the university in 32 batches and now hold positions in commerce, industry, private sector and government bodies in the UAE.

aahmed@thenational.ae