AUSTRALIAN universities have improved their international standing in the past year and now enjoy the third highest ranked reputation in the world.
The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, to be released today, found Australian now lags only behind the US and UK, with six of our universities ranked in the Top 100.
In the past year, Australian universities outperformed the Netherlands, Japan and Germany, with two new entrants on the list – Monash University in Victoria, and the University of NSW – joining the four existing place holders.
The University of Melbourne improved its rank from 43 to 39 and Australian National University from 44 to 42. Sydney University rose one place to 49, and University of Queensland remained in the 80th percentile.
Times Higher Education editor Phil Baty said the reputation rankings have been held since 2011 and Australia has improved its standing at each survey.
The results are based on a global opinion poll and take into account more than 16,000 responses from senior published academics in 150 countries.
“Australia is a country very much on the way up in terms of worldwide academic prestige,” Mr Baty said in a statement.
“In many ways these results show that Australia’s image among scholars around the world is catching up with the reality: until now it has tended to perform less well in the reputation rankings compared with the overall, objective World University Rankings.
“These results show how well poised Australia is to make the most of its geographical advantages: while it has strong links with the best universities in the West, it has also made the most of East Asia’s booming higher education scene. If it continues to exploit these opportunities, Australia could be a serious beneficiary of the Asian century, which is great news for its economy and competitiveness.”
Monash University president Ed Byrne said in a statement: “Australia is ideally situation between the rising academic powerhouses of Asia and established centres in the old Westticipate a bright future.”
UNSW Vice Chancellor, Professor Fred Hilmer, put the institution’s first-time inclusion down to a “very strong improvement path”.
“When you look at the quality of the student intake, it’s gone up every year. It’s harder and harder to get in and if you look at research in particular, we are winning increasingly competitive grants,” Professor Hilmer said.
Universities in the US and UK still hold the bulk of the top 100 positions, (43 in the US and nine in the UK) with an elite group of six “super-brands” including Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge, holding the top positions since the rankings’ inception.
The highest ranking university outside of the US and UK is the University of Tokyo at 9th, while India and New Zealand are among the countries with no entrants on the Top 100 list. China’s two most prestigious universities, Tsinghua University and Peking University, both dropped slightly in the rankings, but they remain in the Top 50.