The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has for the first time ever been ranked among the top 400 best performing universities in the world according to the latest 2020/2021 Times Higher Education (THE) rankings.

UKZN was placed in the 351-400 band, a significant improvement from its previous ranking in the top 500 (401 – 500) in the 2019/2020 cycle.

This achievement places UKZN in fourth position among South African universities.

More than 1 400 universities in 92 countries were assessed in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2020/2021 for research-led universities. THE uses 13 calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance which include teaching, research, citations, industry funding and international outlook. UKZN scored at the top of the comparable scale for research and citations. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath said it was exceptionally gratifying to note the upward success trajectory and collective achievements by the University to date. Three months ago, the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) positioned UKZN in the top 2.4% of universities in the world, placing it 477th out of 20 000 universities globally.

Ramjugernath says the rankings are the result of the efforts and dedication of UKZN staff and students in the area of scholarly and scientific work, which reaffirms the University’s excellent standing as a research-intensive institution of international standing. ‘These are difficult times for universities throughout the world but we will work through them with the same resolve and strengths which have delivered the outstanding ranking results.’

Meanwhile, UKZN also made it into this year’s annual Sunday Times Gen Next Awards, taking the fifth spot in the Coolest Universities 2020 category. The Sunday Times Gen Next survey has established itself as the leading barometer of what South African youths find on-trend and delivers insights that are valued by brand managers, advertising, and marketing professionals. Brands that made it onto this year’s list include Capitec, Avon, WhatsApp, Apple, Uzalo, Always, DStv, Engen and Woolworths Food.

For more information on the Times Higher Education rankings, go to: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2020/world-ranking.

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Words: Indu Moodley and Ndabaonline

Image: Nomonde Mbhele