Research lifts international standing of Australian universities
Sep 07, 2016 | News | by Learning Press staff
Six Australian universities have been named among the world's top 100 in the latest QS World University Rankings.
The results show an improved national result fuelled by greater investment in research, according to the British think tank QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) which produces the league tables.
Heading the list is the Australian National University at 22nd, followed by the University of Melbourne at 42nd, the University of Sydney at 46th, the University of New South Wales at 49th, the University of Queensland at 51st and Monash University at 65th.
The University of WA just misses out on a top 100 spot, coming in at 102.
The US has taken out the top three positions in 2016, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology again number one, followed by Stanford and Harvard universities in second and third places respectively.
British universities have slipped down the ladder following a real-terms cut to Government funding for research, although they still occupy four of the top ten positions.
European nations such as France, Portugal, Germany and Italy have also lost ground, while Chinese, Japanese and Korean universities continue to ascend thanks to significant rises in national funding.
The QS system ranks universities on a combination of academic reputation (40 percent), employer reputation (10 percent), the staff-student ratio (20 percent), citations per faculty (20 per cent) and numbers of international staff and students (10 percent).
It is one of the ‘big three’ global university rankings alongside the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the Times Higher Education rankings.
Each system uses its own judgement criteria which results in a differing order for Australia’s top universities - although they all place the same institutions within that top seven.
While ANU has slipped from 19th to 22nd in 2016, it retains a QS ranking position well ahead of Melbourne University, which sits higher on the other two global ranking systems.
ANU vice-chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said: “Everyone at ANU takes great pride in being measured against the best universities in the world, and we are committed to build on the excellence that naturally comes with the responsibility of being a truly national resource for all Australians.
"Our top ranking reflects the outstanding research efforts of staff and students and demonstrates the university's ability to conduct research that is equal to or better than the very best in the world."
The University of Technology Sydney and the University of Wollongong made the biggest improvements on the global scale, moving up to 193 and 218 respectively.
Federal education minister Simon Birmingham, who has flagged a 20 per cent cut to university funding in his latest discussion paper on higher education, said the results showed the importance of universities fostering innovation and excellence while ensuring collaboration with industry.
“The results demonstrate that while internationally competitive, we cannot be complacent and must continue to improve our global standing,” he said.
“I look forward to continuing the conversation Australia is having around higher education reform and ensuring that the system is fair and that it demands excellence and specialisation while being affordable and sustainable for this and future generations.”