University of Queensland has taken out the top spot for mining and mineral engineering in a global ranking of more than 4000 universities, with three other Australian institutions in the top 10.
The 2018 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) – released by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy as part of their Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) – ranks tertiary institutions across subject areas spanning engineering and medical sciences, as well as natural, life and social sciences.
“These results are a testament to our school’s high level of industry collaboration, as well as our research quality and its impact across the resources sector,” said University of Queensland (UQ) Mechanical and Mining Engineering Head of School Professor Ross McAree in a media release.
University of WA, University of NSW (UNSW) and Monash University also made the global top 10 for mining and mineral engineering – at number five, seven and 10 respectively.
UQ was the only Australian university to bag a ‘number one’ world ranking in any subject area, and was also ranked seventh globally for biotechnology.
Also in the top 10 for engineering subjects were:
- University of Newcastle – 8th globally for automation and control;
- Monash University – 7th globally for metallurgical engineering;
- University of Sydney – 6th globally for transportation science and technology; and
- UNSW – 5th in the world for water resources and 10th for civil engineering.
Nationally, UQ was first for aerospace engineering (18th globally); UNSW for mechanical engineering (45th globally); and University of Adelaide for electrical and electronic engineering (36th globally). Monash was first in Australia for chemical engineering (34th globally).
GRAS rankings are based on information from the Web of Science InCites database. Universities are assessed on indicators including the number of papers published, citations, international collaboration and the number of award-winning staff.
While there has been a decline in graduate mining engineers, other in-demand fields such as robotics and automation, urban development and sustainability, and aerospace engineering will see interest in engineers with these skills grow.
There is pressure on Australian universities to keep up, but also opportunities to become world leaders in many new and emerging fields.
Effect of funding cuts
Based on this year’s GRAS rankings, Australian universities have the chance to parlay these placements into status as world leaders in engineering education. One of the hurdles to clear, though, is adequate funding.
Six Australian universities were in the top 100 of the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings – released last September – with University of Melbourne the best overall national performer at number 32, which is up one place from the previous year’s list.
But according to Australian Universities, all the other top universities fell between one and seven rankings from the previous year.
“Australia’s position in future years may suffer if the government goes ahead with plans to cut funding by 2.5 per cent, which would result in a $2.8 billion loss in income,” Times Higher Education analysis stated.