Australia’s research-intensive Group of Eight (Go8) universities have once again been confirmed as Australia’s leading universities in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024 released today.
Six of Australia’s research-intensive Go8 universities are ranked in the top 100 of the global rankings with all in the top 150 globally, which provides an overview of quality in teaching, research, reputation, research impact and industry engagement.
Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said that in THE and across all the major ranking systems, with their differing and evolving methodologies, the one constant is that Go8 universities are consistently the top ranked universities in Australia.
“In their 2024 rankings edition, THE have nuanced their industry engagement metrics to account for patents connected to university research which has seen a significant improvement in the industry engagement scores for Australian universities. This is particularly heartland territory for Go8 members who lead the sector in research commercialisation income and where one Go8 member, the University of Queensland, reported more research commercialisation income than CSIRO.
“However, THE analysis of the ranking performance of Australian universities did contain warning notes for the sector that mean the nation cannot take this strong and consistent performance for granted.
“In particular, despite historically very high levels of research quality, the rankings show a relative under-investment in research. THE also noted that the COVID pandemic has put pressure on the ability of Australian universities to undertake international engagement.
“This is a canary in the coalmine situation. The Australian Government must take the opportunity they have created through the Australian Universities Accord to put research funding on a sustainable footing by reforming the current distorted system that sees Australia’s university research underpinned by cross-subsidies from international student fee income.
“The Government must also look to strategically underwrite the international research collaboration of Australian universities through participation in such initiatives as the EU’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program. As it stands, Australia is at risk of being one of the few research-intensive nations to ignore the opportunities of this landmark €95.5 billion Horizon Europe program – effectively isolating itself from a core driver of the ever more global research system.