SOUTH African universities under 50 years old did not feature in the world’s 50 best universities in that age group‚ which was issued by a global higher education think-tank in its latest ranking on Tuesday night.

However‚ the University of Johannesburg (UJ) does feature in Quacquarelli Symonds’s "Next 50 Under 50" table. It entered the ranking in the 91-100 band.

The ranking is designed to emphasise the potential and excellence of universities that do not have decades or centuries of established reputation‚ and to identify which of them might disrupt‚ or have already disrupted‚ the global elite.

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

Other key features of this year’s ranking include the fact that Nanyang Technological University in Singapore retains the number one position and that Asian institutions take all of the top six places.

Six of the top 10 places were taken by universities with a heavy focus on STEM, which is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science‚ technology‚ engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

Australia is the most-featured nation on the ranking‚ with its young universities taking 10 of the 50 available places; while Asian institutions take 16 of the top 50 places.

Europe is the most-featured continent‚ with 18 universities. However‚ Europe’s highest-ranked university is Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

"The rankings suggest that young universities focussed on strong STEM-based research programmes stand the best chance of disrupting any established global elite‚" Quacquarelli Symonds’s head of research, Ben Sowter, said. — TMG Digital