There have been a couple of new ‘young University’ rankings that have come out (see here and here) and Australian institutions (particularly Macquarie and Wollongong) come out reasonably well. So the conclusion is clearly that these rankings mean that we should continue to spread our research funding too thinly:
Strong results for Australia in new world rankings for young universities have prompted calls for the federal government to resist pressure to concentrate funding on the sandstone institutions.
As I have previously discussed I have the opposite view (although I am not sure that Monash, UNSW or some other Go8 Universities have much sandstone!). So – a couple of points.
- 50 years is completely arbitrary. Increase it to 55 and Monash comes in. 65 years and UNSW comes in. It is simply fortunate that the cutoff keeps these two out as otherwise Macquarie and Wollongong would have no story;
- The fact that a University ranked less than 200 in the world on the THE rankings is the best Australian University under 50 is not something to cheer about; and
- The results highlight the sad state at Australian Universities (look at the Universities above Macquarie on the THE list and ask how many of them are world leading research institutions).
My conclusion – if we keep increasing undergraduate numbers and do not rethink what our universities are, what they should do, and how they are funded, then our few real world class universities will struggle and Australian research and research training will head for mediocrity.
Finally, I suggest a new ranking – top 50 Universities named after famous people. Out with Oxford, Cambridge and MIT. John Harvard doesn’t count – he is only famous because the University is named after him. Stanford was an industrialist so he doesn’t count. But Sir John Monash …..
So we could have the world’s top ranked University - just think up the right filter.