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We've Got The Smarts! Aussie Unis On The Rise In World Rankings

Australian universities are among the best institutions in the world, with the University of Melbourne our highest ranked, according to new findings.

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings have been released for 2020, and it's good news for Australian universities.

For the first time, eleven Australian institutions cracked the Top 200, up from nine last year.

The rankings -- regarded as one of the best university metrics in the world -- compare almost 1,400 universities from 92 countries.

The 11 Australian universities inside the top 200 are:

  • University of Melbourne (=32)
  • Australian National University (50)
  • University of Sydney (60)
  • University of Queensland (60)
  • University of New South Wales (71)
  • Monash University (=75)
  • University of Adelaide (=120)
  • University of Western Australia (=131)
  • Queensland University of Technology (=179)
  • University of Canberra (193)
  • University of Technology of Sydney (=194)

THE looks at 13 performance indicators across five areas -- teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income -- to rank the world's higher education institutions.

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The University of Oxford topped the list for the fourth consecutive year, followed by the California Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge to round out the top three.

Average institutional incomes and ranking positions. Photo: Times Higher Education

One of the biggest climbers on the ladder was the University of New South Wales, which rose 25 spots to 71st in the world.

The "unprecedented' rocket up the rankings is an important moment for the Sydney-based UNSW, said Professor Ian Jacobs, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor.

"It reflects our progress across the spectrum of research, education, innovation, equity, thought leadership and global impact, guided by our Strategy 2025," he said.

The University of NSW. Photo: Getty

The University of Queensland is another winner for Australian universities, climbing to 66th in the world, and holding on to its fourth rank in Australia.

The achievement, which puts UQ in the top five percent of universities in the world, means it now sits "comfortably" among the best institutions, said Professor Aidan Byrne, UQ Acting Vice-Chancellor.

“It is a testament to the continued hard work of our academic and professional staff who strive to keep UQ’s place among the top world universities despite increasing competition from international institutions," he said.

University of Queensland. Photo: Times Higher Education

As a whole, Australian universities are improving, with 19 finishing higher than last year.

THE said their higher ranking positions were because driven by strong scores for research environment and international outlook.

Being able to consistently deliver high quality teaching and research over the past decade was responsible for their success, said Conor King, executive director of Innovative Research Universities, a coalition of seven Australian institutions.

Photo: Getty

“While the international market is increasingly competitive for Australian universities, it has pushed them even harder to make sure what they are offering is genuinely world class," he said.

"There is no longer any room for complacency in global higher education."

Contact the author jdunne@networkten.com.au