Despite a decline in the ability of the country’s educational institutions to meet the talent requirement of the market last year, four Malaysian universities were featured in the latest QS Top 50 Under 50 2016-2017 rankings.

Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) rose a whopping 11 places - from 38th place in last year's rankings to 17th place this year.

This was followed by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in 25th and 26th places respectively. While Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), in 33rd place, came in last of the four.

Across the straits, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) yet again retained its top spot in this year's rankings.

NTU is immediately followed by five more young Asian universities - namely, 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), and The Hong Kong Polytechnoc University - "an unbroken sequence which testifies to the region's success in developing world-leading institutions at high speed," noted the press release.

Here are the top 10 institutions: 1. Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - Singapore 2. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) - Hong Kong 3. KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology - South Korea 4. City University of Hong Kong - Hong Kong 5. Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) - South Korea 6. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University - Hong Kong 7. Maastricht University - The Netherlands 8. University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) - Australia 9. Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona - Spain 10. University of Antwerp - Belgium

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"Alongside the Top 50 Under 50, the Next 50 Under 50 highlights the next set of ‘ones to watch’, ranked in groups of 10. New entrants this year include Singapore Management University (in the 51-60 band), Australia’s Central Queensland University (81-90), and Malaysia’s Universiti Teknologi Petronas (91-100)."

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

The Top 50 Under 50 list was developed four years ago, in 2012, to celebrate the world’s highest-performing universities under 50 years old. The list spotlights dynamic young institutions making rapid progress in the international league tables – and challenging those which have spent centuries cementing their positions at the top.

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