Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) achieved another major milestone. It leapt up the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by a substantial 26 places. It now places at 323 in the world. Breaking into the QS World University Rankings for the first time last year in the top 1.3 percent of all universities globally, UBD continues to show remarkable progress for a young 33-year old university.
Among the indicators used to assess university performance covering Academic Reputation, Research, Teaching and Internationalisation, UBD's strongest performance indicators are "International Faculty" where it ranked 51 globally, "Faculty Student Ratio" ranked 61 in the world, and "International Students" where it is ranked 214. These are significant improvements compared to the previous year. These indicators of teaching and learning show that UBD is fulfilling its vision and mission, continuing to provide the highest quality, state-of-the-art education for its students.
The QS survey confirms that research activities in UBD has increased significantly over the years both in terms of research output and research impact. Recent research publications in international peer reviewed journals rose by 43 percent, from 706 to 1,010 and the number of QS normalised citations, which measures research impact, also increased by 71 percent. The university's latest Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) is 1.38, which shows UBD had 38 percent more citations in 2017 than the global average. UBD is now considered a "High Research Intensive" university internationally.
UBD continues to focus on high quality academic research which is aligned with the national vision, Wawasan 2035 that not only has high academic value but also has economic and social impact, and applied relevance. This includes strategic areas such as alternative energy research, biodiversity and the environment including herbal and medicinal plant research, Islamic banking and finance, Islamic governance, data analytics and cybersecurity.
This is in line with the titah by 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, Chancellor of UBD during the university's 29th Convocation ceremony where His Majesty highlighted research as a crucial factor in the efforts to raise the status of the university. His Majesty said, "Research is the one factor that sets apart a university from other institutions of higher learning."
A major development for UBD which has an impact on its QS reputation is the establishment of its first overseas campus in 2017, the UBD-FPT Global Centre in Da Nang, Vietnam. It is also the first overseas campus by an ASEAN university in Vietnam. A collaboration with FPT University, it aims to be a leading centre in ASEAN for English Language training. The overseas campus has already resulted in employment opportunities for a number of Bruneians. Joint research and development in the field of computing is also envisaged.
UBD takes its research a step further by encouraging its students to additionally develop an entrepreneurial mindset in helping to achieve its goal of becoming a "University of Innovation and Enterprise". With sustained effort over the years, UBD has now filed a total of 53 patents in Brunei Darussalam and other international geographies. In USA alone, UBD has filed 35 patents. 2018 marks a major milestone where UBD signed an agreement with Smart Coating Technologies (B) Sdn Bhd, a homegrown company, to commercialise one of its patents dealing with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal smart coating. This is evidence of how UBD draws even closer to seeing its students grow beyond the traditional mindset of landing jobs in the government sector immediately after graduating.
"Congratulations to UBD on the fruits of their labour, the clear result of commitment, dedication and hard work," said Yang Berhomat Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hamzah Haji Sulaiman, Minister of Education and Chair of UBD Council. "To steadily climb up the ranks is something Brunei Darussalam, the institution and its alumni can be proud of."
While rising up the ranks is a major achievement, UBD's key mission and focus remains in educating and training of graduates who are future-ready, marketable and industry-ready, able to face the challenges of an ever-changing world. A multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning across the faculties also promotes a holistic development of its graduates.
This is part of UBD's vision to be a university of lifelong learning. It instills a passion for continuing education among its students and for the citizens of Brunei to upgrade their skills. The Centre for Lifelong Learning (C3L) has recently launched several initiatives including its first online blended learning programme, Bachelor of Science in Digital Economy and recently the Master of Government.
"Alhamdulillah, UBD has continued to grow and enhance its international reputation as a highly recognised and respected institution. This could only be possible with the hard work, collaborative efforts and dedication of all its staff and our students," Datin Dr Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina POKLWDSS Haji Awang Abdul Aziz, the Vice Chancellor of UBD said. "Insha Allah UBD will continue to strive to become a world class university and fulfill its primary goal of producing highly educated and well trained graduates with the necessary skills for the workforce and nation building, particularly in helping to achieve the nation's Wawasan 2035."
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