Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has leapfrogged 61 places to clinch the 294th position in this year’s Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, compared to its previous rank of 355 in the year 2013. This is the highest improvement in ranking among universities in Malaysia, and the best achievement so far for UTM since it joined the ranking exercise in 2007. With this new ranking, UTM is the 3rd top ranked University in Malaysia, after University of Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

UTM’s exceptional performance in this year’s QS World University Rankings is a testament of the success of the policy implemented by the University in charting the UTM Global Plan, which has seen strong commitment and enthusiasm among staff as well as stakeholders in bringing the university to greater heights.

In terms of world rankings, UTM has shown a remarkable performance so far, surging more than 100 positions in the QS World University Rankings within a period of 7 years. In 2007 UTM was merely ranked in the 411-420 grouping. The latest ranking has seen UTM improving in almost all criteria, with improved score and best placing in International Faculty resulting from its Global Plan strategy.

UTM’s success is attributed to its persistence in inculcating an entrepreneurial, innovative and global mindset culture among staff and students of the University, guided by the concept of ‘New Academia’, which generates new philosophy from sub-specialization to multidisciplinary knowledge integration; fosters new alliances from academic fraternity to society at large, particularly among industry partners and entrepreneurs; initiates new learning experience for students from mere talk and chalk to innovative and experiential learning experience and global outreach; and promotes new outcomes from academic certificates and expertise to business and job creation ventures leading to setting up of spin-off companies.

The approach also encourages effective measures on how to make a difference, and excel in impactful ways, resulting in positive transformation especially through a revised structure of managing publication, R, D & C and other meaningful outcomes in staff performance.

The 2014 QS World University Rankings has also shown UTM’s remarkable standing in the field of Engineering and Technology, where it is now ranked 134 in the world. It is worth noting that at the national level, the Engineering Accreditation Council of Malaysia recently awarded accreditation recognition to 19 programs offered by six UTM Engineering Faculties, which will remain in force for a period of 5 years from the date of conferment.

UTM has also the best brains in academia with several of its faculty members becoming the recipients of the prestigious Merdeka Award, the highest accolade in the country. The most recent is Prof. Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, who won the 2014 Merdeka Award for Outstanding Scholastics Achievement.

UTM faculty members remain committed to positioning UTM as a world class University as evident from their publication and research efforts. UTM’s SCOPUS indexed papers have shown a consistent increment of 25 per cent annually since 2009, which amounts to an increase of more than 300 per cent in 2013 as compared to 2009. The latest figure for publication showed that between January and July 2014, UTM’s Scopus publication totaled 2,461, which has been reported to be the second highest number of publication amongst public higher education institutions in Malaysia.

In addition, a remarkable accomplishment for the university recently is when the UTM Wireless Communication Centre (WCC) was awarded the HICoE status by the Ministry of Education, Malaysia. UTM fire testing lab is also the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, capable of testing temperatures up to 1,700ºC and loads of up to 100 tonnes per test session. UTM has also established strong partnership with the industry through its collaboration in research activities under the MyLab Grant scheme, for instance.

In relation to that, it is worth noting that UTM has the highest number of PhD Industry candidates in the country in various faculties of study. This is proof of UTM’s strategic engagement with industrial partners including Proton, Telekom Malaysia, Intel, Seagate, Motorola, Boustead Naval Shipyard, Shell Sarawak, Malakoff Corporation, Petronas Carigali and MISC Bhd., to name a few. The UTM Industrial PhD program has strengthened the strategic partnership between UTM and the industries by preserving the mark of original and innovative research in resolving industrial issues and problems.

UTM has also enhanced its visibility through Impactful Global Engagements, achieved via collaborations with strategic world-renowned partners such as MIT, Imperial College London and Aachen University, to name a few. Projects with MIT involved the blended learning approach to learning mathematics and science called Blossoms (Blended Learning Open Source for Science and Math Studies), and the MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program. Partnership with Imperial College London is through the establishment of a low carbon transport research centre, while the UTM-Aachen University and National Heart Institute (IJN) of Malaysia Partnership aims to develop products for the diagnostic and clinical use of cardiovascular diseases.

UTM is steadfast in advancing the acquisition, application, and dissemination of knowledge in a more dynamic, vibrant and enriching way; based on practicality, smart partnerships, meaningful engagements and meaningful exposure that would bring benefits beyond conventional paradigms. Such an intellectual ecosystem has enabled UTM to garner the highest number of postgraduate student population among the higher education institutions in Malaysia and the region, totaling 13,177 as at 7 September 2014.

Although UTM strives to be a graduate-focused University, its undergraduate training is still its core component. In fact, activities in research and development at postgraduate level adds value to undergraduate studies at the university, with students gaining from research outcomes and findings. Undergraduate students are nurtured to not only become leaders and champions in their respective fields, but also to cultivate strategic thinking, global outlook, and spirit of volunteerism. UTM undergraduates have been and will continue to be involved in community engagements programmes. Among the more recent initiatives include the ‘1Ringgit, 1Nation’ programme involving distributing food to the homeless; the UTM-GKI Southeast Asian Water Challenge Program which aimed at assisting the community in Air Papan, Mersing to address their water issues and problems, as well as the Lao PDR water treatment project, not to mention the recent Sudan humanitarian mission by the student leaders of UTM.