Queensland University of Technology and University of Canberra have joined the top 200 international tertiary institutions in the 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, released last week.
University of Canberra jumped more than 50 places in the latest league table to number 193, while Queensland University of Technology (QUT) entered the top 200 at 179. The two newcomers leapfrogged University of Technology Sydney (194) to become the 9th and 10th highest ranked institutions in Australia.
The majority of Australia’s prestigious Group of Eight (GO8) universities retained or improved on their positions in the 2019 rankings, with the exception of Australian National University and the University of Sydney, which each dropped one place.
In total, there were 11 Australian universities in the top 200 rungs of this year’s rankings, up from nine last year:
- University of Melbourne: steady at 32
- Australian National University: down from 49 to 50
- University of Sydney: down from 59 to 60
- University of Queensland: up from 69 to 66
- UNSW Sydney: up from 96 to 71
- Monash University: up from 84 to 75
- University of Adelaide: up from 135 to 120
- University of Western Australia: up from 134 to 131
- Queensland University of Technology: up from between 201 and 250 to 179
- University of Canberra: up from between 251 and 300 to 193
- University of Technology Sydney: up from 194 to 196
A strong year
According to Times Higher Education Global Rankings editor Ellie Bothwell, Australia has had a strong year after slipping in the 2019 overall and engineering and technology rankings.
“Of the 35 Australian universities present in the ranking, 19 finish higher than last year, with only five declining,” she said in her analysis.
This year’s Times Higher Education rankings for engineering and technology have yet to be released, and it will be interesting to see if they follow a similar path.
The Times ratings are based on 13 performance indicators for the whole university in the categories of teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income.
According to University of Canberra Vice Chancellor and President Professor Deep Saini, the institution’s rise can be credited to an improvement over all indicators due to the outstanding work of research, teaching and professional staff. A standout area was citation impact, which was up from 95 to 99.2 – placing the university 16th in the world with respect to this indicator.
“It is evident that our researchers are demonstrating impact and providing solutions to real-world problems,” Saini said in a statement.
No room for complacency
Bothwell said that, on average, Australian universities improved on 12 of the 13 metrics over the past year, with PhDs awarded per staff steady compared to 2019.
“The higher ranking positions were largely driven by their improved citation impact scores, as well as strong scores for research environment and international outlook,” she added.
And more Australian institutions are vying to improve their global position through high-quality teaching and research. One initiative is Innovative Research Universities, a coalition of seven universities – including Western Sydney University and James Cook University, which both made the global top 50 in Times Higher Education’s inaugural University Impact Rankings.
According to Conor King, Innovative Research Universities’ Executive Director, the increasingly competitive international market has pushed Australian universities to make sure what they are offering is genuinely world class.
“There is no longer any room for complacency in global higher education,” he said.
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