Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) continues to move towards becoming a world class university as evident in the latest announcement for the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education (THE) Asia University Rankings which were recently released in quick succession.
UBD saw a significant rise and improvement in the impact and quality of research citations, moving from a world ranking of 311 for research specifically, when it first broke into the THE World University Rankings in 2020, to 268 in 2021 and reaching its highest position of 233 in 2022. Progress was also observed in the number of publications per staff, doctorates awarded and industry income. In the region, UBD stands at 38th out of universities in Asia and 5th in ASEAN for Research Citations. According to the latest announcement from THE, International Outlook is UBD's strongest indicator as it is ranked 18th in this category.
To date, UBD is the only university in Brunei Darussalam that is placed in both the THE and QS rankings where it currently stands in the 341-400 band for THE World University Rankings, 62 for THE Asia University Rankings, and 256 for QS World University Rankings.
Since UBD first broke into the QS World University Rankings in 2018 in 349th place, it has moved up a total of 93 places. Having performed in the top 35.6 percentile of universities ranked by QS when it first placed, UBD steadily rose up to the top 19.2 percentile in 2021. This year, UBD rose to the top 18 percentile of universities in the whole world. Despite a slight decline in the overall ranking, this achievement remains a laudable feat for a young university especially when there is a 9 percent increase in the number of new universities participating in the ranking exercise.
In the QS indicators, UBD performed well as compared to a majority of the universities worldwide, particularly in International Faculty, Faculty Student Ratio, and International Students Ratio where it scored well over the global median. In International Faculty particularly, UBD maintained a perfect score. The university's performance in these indicators demonstrates its sustained efforts to ensure that UBD provides world-class teaching and research, fitting for a university of research excellence.
While it actively participates in ranking exercises, UBD is not consumed by the rankings. Instead, both THE and QS provide a guidepost on how the university can further develop its capabilities and capacity as an institution of higher learning. UBD continues to focus on high quality education, peaks of excellence in teaching as well as research with both economic and social impact.
UBD's commitment to providing quality education to its students can be seen in the way it stays up-to-date with the latest digital developments and technologies as part of its strategic plan for 2025.
The latest addition of the School of Digital Sciences (SDS) in UBD enables the university to fully incorporate the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) into its curriculum. With students and academics conducting studies in areas such as Big Data, Data Analytics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Cybersecurity among others, UBD aims to produce graduates and researchers who can contribute to technological innovations and technology-based economic development. To facilitate the effective delivery of the new programmes, UBD set up new laboratories, acquired equipment and recruited new faculty members with expertise in relevant areas. The teaching and research activities in Digital Science are supported with facilities such as high-performance computers, Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR) training kits, robotic systems, high specs vision systems, sensors and actuators, and smart prototyping equipment such as 3D printers and laser cutters. UBD received its first batch of 17 Digital Science undergraduates in 2020, with another 32 students the year after. The upcoming intake of students is expected to double that, demonstrating both increased interest and demand in this area.
Other disciplines in the university have also taken great steps in infusing relevant technological content and mobilising the use of digital technologies in everyday teaching and learning. UBD's multidisciplinary approach to curriculum design and development is in line with the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025 with the vision "Smart Nation Through Digital Transformation". Leveraging on digital technologies and enriching its people with the necessary skills and knowledge, Brunei Darussalam will realise its status of a Smart Nation driven by the development and implementation of Digital Government, Digital Economy and Digital Society to diversity the economy, improve competitiveness and economic growth, and improve the quality of life in the country.
While the ranking indicators point at how both students and academics from all over the world are drawn to UBD, the university remains committed in producing local graduates who are future-ready and equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to approach this fast-paced workforce head on while being guided by the values of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB). The focus continues to be on providing high quality education through programmes relevant to the nation's needs. UBD's innovative GenNEXT curriculum not only provides theoretical and technical expertise, but also opportunities for valuable hands-on experience through its Discovery Year programme. This holistic approach of providing world-class education, experiential learning and industry linkages make UBD graduate highly employable and prime candidates for both private and government sectors.
In addition to obtaining skills and knowledge within and outside the classroom, UBD collaborates actively with industries to ensure that students and graduates are fully prepared to enter the job market. One of the longest standing collaborations with a 100 percent employment rate is the joint Process & Chemical Engineering Scholarship Programme between UBD and Zhejiang University where students undertake the 3rd and 1st half of their 4th Year for further studies and industrial training at Zhejiang University, China. The programme also includes placement in a real live operational refinery environment. Upon completion of the programme, the students are then offered employment at Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd in the Pulau Muara Besar Refinery. To date, there has been 10 batches of this joint programme and a total of 80 students have completed their studies to join Hengyi Industries' growing pool of professionals.
Advancing learning, personal and professional development of individuals beyond traditional education settings, lifelong learning in UBD allows students of all walks of life to study at their own pace, place and along a path of their choosing. In this fast-paced world, demands in the workplace are seeing the need for employees to upskill and reskill in order to remain relevant in the job market. Through lifelong learning modules available in UBD particularly at the Centre for Lifelong Learning (C3L), employees can continue to add on necessary skills and knowledge in order to remain invaluable members of their respective sectors and industries.
The Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Digital Economy and Master of Government are programmes available at C3L which utilises modular credits for the duration of up to 10 years for part time students. They can study at their own pace with each module taking 14 weeks, an ideal option even for working professionals and adult learners. Upon completion of the necessary modules, students will graduate accordingly and earn a signed certificate accredited by UBD.
"We are committed to aligning our efforts with the goals of 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's Government," Dr Hazri Haji Kifle, Vice Chancellor of UBD said. "In addition to fulfilling our core business of teaching, learning and research, we continue to ensure that the education, skills and knowledge gained by our graduates are relevant to the ever-changing workforce. It is then crucial that we continue to assess, improve and execute strategies in order to remain ahead especially in this fast-paced digital age. This is only possible with the unwavering support from His Majesty's Government and the concerted efforts of the university staff and students."
Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Virginia Tech (VT, formally the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
Universiti Brunei Darussalam recently held the UBD Staff Excellence Award Presentation Ceremony 2021
In conjunction with the Brunei Digital Technology Week of Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition (MYEC)
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