The Ministry of Education has announced the top five research universities in the UAE, categorized under the 'outstanding' label. These include the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates University, Khalifa University, Mohammed bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, and New York University Abu Dhabi. This classification is part of a national agenda focused on growth and innovation. The National Higher Education Institutions Classification Framework attributes 35 per cent to both scientific research and innovation and teaching quality. This information was disclosed at a media roundtable held on Thursday. Dr Sameera Almulla, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Curriculum Sector and Director of Certificate Equivalency Department at the Ministry of Education, clarified that this classification is distinct from ranking and is currently applicable only to research universities, with non-research universities to be classified soon. The framework segments higher education institutions into research and non-research clusters, with further classification into four levels within each category. This initiative aims to enhance educational standards and practices, and align education with job market needs. Dr Mohammad Al Mualla, Undersecretary for Higher Education Academic Affairs at the Ministry of Education, noted that this classification will assist students and parents in making informed decisions about higher education. The classification results also offer universities a chance to adjust their development plans. The framework, which includes over 150 classification standards, was developed in consultation with global universities and consultancies, and will be updated annually.