(STOCK) Four Malaysian universities are among the world’s top 40 best universities under 50 years of age in the latest QS Quacquarelli Symonds University rankings 2016/2017. Pix by Rosdan Wahid

KUALA LUMPUR: Four Malaysian universities are among the world’s top 40 best universities under 50 years of age in the latest QS Quacquarelli Symonds University rankings 2016/2017.

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) improves its rank from 38th to 17th, to become Malaysia’s best young university.

The other three are: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) which now ranks 25th; Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) rises from 32nd to 26th and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is now ranked 33rd, down from 26th.

Universities with a heavy tech or STEM focus dominate the upper regions of the rankings this year, with six technological universities among the top 10.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU), ranked the world’s best young university, is followed by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), City University of Hong Kong, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Maastricht University, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and University of Antwerp.

QS’s head of research, Ben Sowter, said: “The rankings suggest that young universities focused on strong STEM-based research programmes stand the best chance of disrupting any established global elite.”

The QS University Rankings: Top 50 Under 50 list is designed to emphasise the potential and excellence of universities without decades or centuries of established reputation, and to identify which of them might disrupt, or indeed have already disrupted, the global elite.

The 2016/17 ranking indicates that Asia and Australia are home to the world’s strongest recently-formed institutions.

Sixteen of the 50 available places go to Asian institutions, while Australia is the most-featured nation on the ranking, with its young universities taking a fifth of the available places.

Among other countries, Spain has five universities in the list, Malaysia and Hong Kong have four each, while Taiwan and South Korea have three each.

Two more Malaysian universities are represented in the ranking, namely the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and the Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) — both in the 91-100 band.

UTP is a new entry this year.

For the full QS Top 50 Under 50 Rankings, go to http://www.TopUniversities.com/.