UBD breaks into top 400 in THE World University Rankings

Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) has been placed in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for the second consecutive year.

UBD made a significant rise up to the 351-400 band from last year’s 401-500 band, THE stated recently.

This keeps UBD’s position as the fourth highest university in ASEAN, with only five and 19 universities in ASEAN making it to the top 500 and 1,000 in this year’s THE World University Rankings.

THE World University Rankings is one of the most influential university rankings in the world. It is widely used by many of the world’s top peer universities, industry and government agencies as well as prospective staff and students.

It is regarded as an objective, robust and transparent system which uses a global performance table that judges research intensive universities across all their key missions, including teaching, research, knowledge transfer and industry income and international outlook.

Carefully calibrated performance indicators provide a comprehensive and balanced comparison of universities across the globe. UBD is currently the only university in Brunei Darussalam placed in both the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and THE World University Rankings, a major milestone for the 35-year old university.

In the recently announced THE World University Rankings, UBD performed particularly well in international outlook and research impact.

Positioned at 123rd in the world, international outlook looks at the percentage of international staff, international students as well as international collaborative research.

This shows that UBD has solid networks and partners globally to ensure high quality and credible teaching and research. In research impact, UBD is placed in the top 80 percentile, joining the ranks of the top 20 per cent of universities in terms of research publications and citations. This is aligned to UBD’s field-weighted citation index, a measure of research impact by Scopus SciVal.

UBD‘s score this year is 1.86 which means UBD’s research impact is 86 per cent higher than that of global average, a jump from last year’s score of 1.36. Another key indicator measured by THE is the quality of teaching in a university in which UBD has improved its score and position from last year. In teaching (learning environment), the ranking exercise uses the reputation survey, staff-to-student ratio, doctorate-to-bachelor’s ratio, doctorates-awarded-to-academic-staff ratio, and institutional income.

This indicator gives a sense of UBD’s commitment to produce high quality graduates for the country.

Teaching and learning in UBD was, and remains the key focus for UBD, producing the next generation of future-ready leaders.

Through its flagship GenNEX programme, students excel according to their individual learning styles. The broad-based and transdisciplinary approach provides the flexibility and adaptability necessary for students to fully explore their potential hands-on.

It caters to individual needs while addressing the needs of a constantly fast changing world environment and demands of the workplace.

One of the key elements of the GenNEXT programme is the Discovery Year offering opportunities to gain skills and experience both locally and internationally. Discovery Year requires students to do one or a combination of four options: a study abroad programme, an internship, an innovation and incubation project, or a community outreach project.

This year, with the challenges due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, some students have successfully conducted internships and overseas studies virtually. Adjusting and assimilating to the “new normal”, students were able to continue reaping the benefits of working closely with institutions and companies overseas albeit missing out on the physical travel. An example is participation in a virtual internship with TOQQA Global, based in Melbourne, Australia with personal mentorship from TOQQA Global CEO and co-founder Michelle Curry.

The internship period was primarily a discovery phase to induct the interns and familiarise them with the business, solution and programme work.

Combined with these opportunities, UBD reviews its courses and curriculum to stay relevant to the nation’s needs. New courses and majors fill the national demand for expertise in various fields.

Latest additions to UBD’s curriculum are the Bachelor of Business (Major in Entrepreneurship), Master of Science in Petroleum Geoscience as well as an upcoming Bachelor of Digital Science. Covering key digital technologies in the Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0, the Bachelor of Digital Science will contribute to the human capacity building of local talents in the most advance fields in the digital world.

The four majors covered include Computer Science, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and Cybersecurity and Forensics. This ensures that local human capacity will not only be confined to the existing limited local market but are also competent to adopt latest and emerging technologies to diversify the market in the country.

In developing local expertise, part of this success lies within the internationalisation of UBD’s education. Through partnerships with top tiered international universities, UBD conducts collaborative and joint programmes to students such as Dual Degree Programmes with Korea University in Biodiversity Studies and Sungkyungkwan University (SKKU) in Industrial Engineering. Through these programmes, UBD students can gain skills and hands-on experience, with access to experts and direct involvement with relevant industries.

Another example of academia-industry collaborative programme is the joint Chemical and Process Engineering Scholarship Programme of Hengyi Industries which includes study at Zhejiang University in China for a year and industrial training at Hengyi Industries’ petrochemical plant.

Once they have competed the programme, students will be offered a position at Hengyi Industries. Another joint programme is the Master of Public Policy and Management (MPPM), a 12-month programme where students spend a semester in one of the partner policy schools in the United States of America (USA) namely McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University; School of Public Policy, University of Maryland; Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University; and Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley.

UBD’s curriculum and pedagogy is geared towards preparing students for the workforce, making them employable.

The university aims to train valuable manpower for the country and produce future-ready graduates who fit the different needs of the world. In ensuring this, teaching in the university has gone uninterrupted even as Brunei Darussalam faced the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delivering a titah at the 29th Convocation Ceremony, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, as Chancellor of UBD pointed out how rankings are an important measure of a university at the international level. His Majesty also stressed the need to ensure the relevance of high quality programmes to produce marketable and future-ready graduates.

“Alhamdulillah, with the support from the Government of His Majesty as well as the concerted efforts from staff and students, UBD has shown remarkable growth, Masya Allah,” said UBD Vice-Chancellor Datin Dr Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina binti Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz. “Insya Allah, with employing quality teaching techniques especially with UBD now entering its new norm of structured, student-centric blended learning, we hope to provide the best education to our students to empower future-ready leaders and produce valued members of the workforce.”