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NTU is world's top young university for third consecutive year

Published on: 21-Sep-2016

NTU leads the dominance of Asian and technological universities in QS' latest young universities league table

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has topped the rankings for young universities for the third straight year.

In Quacquarelli Symonds' (QS') latest rankings of the world's top 50 young universities established less than 50 years ago, NTU retained its No. 1 spot. The global list is dominated by Asian universities, with the top six places held by universities in Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea. The list shows the strong performance of universities focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) such as NTU which is regularly ranked among the top in the world in engineering.

The annual rankings by the London-based QS look at six indicators including research quality, teaching quality, reputation among employers, and an assessment of the global diversity of faculty and students.

NTU President, Prof Bertil Andersson said, "Being crowned the best young university in the world for three consecutive years is indeed a remarkable achievement and comes right after NTU had solidified its 13th position in this year's QS World University Rankings.

"NTU is leading the charge of the Asian universities up the young universities table through its focus on science and technology. Being young is an advantage, as it allows us to be nimble and to chart our own dynamic paths without being held back by conventions."

Prof Andersson who has led NTU's rapid charge up international academic and research league tables since he was appointed NTU President in 2011 predicts that the number of Asian universities in the world's Top 100 will double in the next 10 years.

"The rise of Asian universities is connected to Asia's economic development and Asia's strong belief in the value of education. NTU for example has benefitted from the strong government support in education and research. NTU continues to punch above its weight supported by Singapore's investments in research and innovation which have grown remarkably in recent years," Prof Andersson added.

A record S$19 billion (US$13.9 billion) has been budgeted to support Singapore's research and development efforts to drive the nation's value creation over five years through 2020. This represents an 18 per cent jump from the previous S$16.1 billion (US$11.7 billion) budgeted for research, innovation and enterprise between 2011 and 2015. 

Prof Andersson said, "STEM education is vital to drive the growth and economy of many nations, and it is important to attract the young to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As a technological university, NTU has been strengthening our programmes in STEM education and research to groom future generations of scientists, technologists and inventors who are trained to solve the world's increasingly complex challenges."

Ben Sowter, QS head of research said: "Following NTU's sustained performance in the QS World University Rankings this year, their reaffirmation at the top of the QS Top 50 Under 50 was inevitable. However, what they have achieved in just 25 years serves as a glittering example to other young universities that the traditional pecking order is not beyond disruption."

Young Asian technological university with a global outlook

Inaugurated in 1991, NTU marks its silver jubilee this year. A young university with a global mindset, NTU believes that international exposure is integral to a well-rounded education. The university has an ambitious goal to have at least 80% of its undergraduates go overseas at least once during their studies.

Under NTU's innovative flagship engineering programme, the Renaissance Engineering Programme, for instance, students can choose to spend one year overseas at Imperial College London (UK), University of California, Berkeley (USA), or Northwestern University (USA). Students on its University Scholars Programme may choose to go on a fully-sponsored semester at the University of Pennsylvania or Bryn Mawr College in the United States, or Australian National University.

A cosmopolitan university with faculty from 80 countries, NTU also has a strong network of international industry partners in research, ranging from BMW, Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and Leonardo-Finmeccanica in Europe, General Electric and Lockheed Martin in the US, and Delta Electronics, Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Toray in Asia.

The university has been actively investing in education. One of NTU's major initiatives is the large-scale adoption of the flipped classroom pedagogy across the university, with S$75 million (US$55 million) invested into redesigning at least half of its current 3000 modules for flipped classroom learning. An iconic learning hub known as The Hive was opened last year and is the centrepiece of the new learning model designed to meet the needs of students in this digital era.

NTU's rise in the last few years is also due to its success in attracting established scientists and promising young investigators as well as the best and brightest students.

"NTU professors are continuing to raise the university's global profile through their exceptional work in cutting-edge research, publishing quality work in high-impact journals, and having more international collaborations. Through our innovative programmes such as the Renaissance Engineering Programme, and the joint medical school with Imperial College London, we have been successful in attracting the best students in Singapore," said Prof Andersson, a renowned plant biochemist.

In April this year, NTU was named Singapore's top institution in research for the second consecutive year in the Nature Index global rankings. NTU was also ranked 32nd among the world's universities and 37th among global research institutions. NTU takes the lead in normalised citation impact among Asia's top universities (Thomson Reuters InCites 2014 and 2015). Similar data by Elsevier also point to NTU being first among the top Asian universities in citation impact.

The latest ranking builds on NTU's strong performance across other higher education league tables. Earlier this month, the university maintained its 13th position in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings for the second year running. NTU is one of only six institutions in the world in the top 100 across all six QS indicators, together with MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, UCL and Imperial College.

For more information on the Top 50 Under 50 rankings, visit:

QS University Rankings: Top 50 Under 50 2016/17 ​ ​
Rank​Institution NameCountry/ Territory
1Nanyang Technological University (NTU)SG
2The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)HK
3KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and TechnologyKR
4City University of Hong KongHK
5Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)KR
6The Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHK
7Maastricht UniversityNL
8University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)AU
9Universitat Autónoma de BarcelonaES
10University of AntwerpBE
© QS Quacquarelli Symonds 2004-2016 ​ ​


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Media contact:
Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: (65) 6790 6687

About Nanyang Technological University

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a joint medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).

Ranked 13th in the world, NTU has also been ranked the world's top young university for the last three years running. The University's main campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore's medical district.

For more information, visit


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