ANU, UC on the rise in world rankings despite pandemic upheaval

Ian Bushnell 5 September 2021 1
ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt

ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt said it’s “pleasing to be recognised for the exceptional quality of our research, teaching and contribution to society”. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

The Australian National University has risen in one of the main world university rankings, improving five places on last year’s result during a period of great upheaval.

It is now ranked 54th in the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings, equal with the University of Queensland and second to the University of Melbourne (33) in the list of Australian campuses.

The University of Canberra’s reputation continues to grow, leaping 14 places to be ranked at 170, retaining its place (10th) in the Top 10 Australian universities.


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Overall six, Australian universities made the Top 100. The others are Monash (57), Sydney (58) and UNSW (70).

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the latest rankings once again placed ANU among the very best of the best.

“By any measure, ANU is a world-class university, so it is always pleasing to be recognised for the exceptional quality of our research, teaching and contribution to society,” he said.

“But rankings are not what drives our mission as a university. We exist to serve the nation and all Australians, as well as our region and the wider world, through truly transformational research and teaching.

“This is what we were founded to do 75 years ago. This is what we will keep doing for many more decades to come.”

The ANU has had a tumultuous 18 months since the pandemic emerged and wreaked havoc with its international student program.

The resultant loss of revenue forced the ANU in 2020 to revamp its schools, cut courses and staff in a bid to save $103 million a year over the following three years.

Paddy Nixon

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor, Paddy Nixon: “Our strong industry partnerships make it possible for us to push the boundaries of learning, teaching and research.” Photo: Rohan Thomson

The University of Canberra has risen steadily in the THE rankings since it first entered in 2016, then placing in the 501–600 band.

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Paddy Nixon said UC’s steady rise reflected the quality of its teaching and research, a strong tradition of industry collaboration, and the dedication of its staff.

“UC continues to see ongoing increases in the quantity and quality of our research,” Professor Nixon said.

“As a civic university – we measure the value of our research by its impact on the community, region, nation and world.”

Such research projects include the ongoing Arts for Recovery, Resilience, Teamwork and Skills (ARRTS) program, which helps veterans suffering from PTSD, and the play-based Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) Program from the STEM Education Research Centre (SERC), which has enjoyed wide success across Australian preschools and early learning centres.

“Our strong industry partnerships make it possible for us to push the boundaries of learning, teaching and research,” Professor Nixon said.

“Such collaborations allow us to ground the work we do in the real world, as our researchers come up with innovative, progressive solutions.”


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Professor Nixon said that this latest rankings success was all thanks to University of Canberra staff who have demonstrated great resilience, dedication and innovation in a time of ongoing challenges.

“I am extremely proud to be part of the UC community,” he said. “Every day, I work with people who put their students first, who work very hard to provide the best teaching and learning experiences for them – and whose research is honestly changing the world.”

The THE World University Rankings is the largest, most diverse ranking system of its kind, assessing over 1,500 universities in 93 countries and regions. It looks at a university’s performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.


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One Response to ANU, UC on the rise in world rankings despite pandemic upheaval
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Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:45 am 06 Sep 21

Being a “world-class university” in a pandemic is as about as useless as having Qantas frequent flyer points.

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