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UOW boosts its research excellence rating

2018 Excellence in Research for Australia report confirms university’s world-class research profile

The University of Wollongong’s standing as a world-class, research-intensive university has been reinforced by the 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) report, announced Wednesday 27 March by Federal Minister for Education the Hon. Dan Tehan.

Published by the Australian Research Council (ARC), the ERA report benchmarks the university’s research against national and international standards.

UOW received the top rating of 5 (“well above world standard”) in 23 research areas (up from 21 in the previous ERA round in 2015; from seven in 2012; and from three in the first ERA round in 2010); and also in two broad research fields (up from one in 2015). A further 22 research areas and 10 broad research fields were given the next highest rating of 4 (“above world standard”), up from 11 and seven in 2015, 19 and six in 2012 and 14 and five in 2010.

In total, 90 per cent of all UOW research was rated as being “at world standard” or better, 73 per cent was rated “above world standard” or better, and 37 per cent was rated “well above world standard”.

Nationally, across the research area level, UOW was ranked 10th (out of 42 institutions) calculated by taking a university’s Grade Point Average score and multipling it by their total number of assessed disciplines (see table below).

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) Professor Jennifer Martin AC congratulated the University’s researchers for an outstanding result.

“This is well-deserved recognition that so much of our research is truly world-class,” Professor Martin said.

“As well as the exceptional performances in UOW’s long-standing research strengths such as chemistry, engineering, mathematical sciences, earth sciences and archaeology, it is particularly pleasing to see the University’s performance improve so well in areas such as physics, biology, health and medicine, and information and computing science.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE welcomed the ARC’s evaluation of UOW’s research and the continuous improvement in research quality that it revealed.

“The Excellence in Research for Australia report shows a sustained upward trajectory in our research performance,” Professor Wellings said.

“To go from three research areas receiving the top rating in 2010 to 23 in 2019 is a remarkable achievement, and the result of a lot of hard work and an ongoing commitment to high-quality research.

“With the University’s strategic investment in research institutions, including Molecular Horizons, the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institution, and the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials, we are determined to continue that upward trajectory.”

UOW researchers performed exceptionally well across the sciences, as well as in mathematics, engineering, health and medicine, and archaeology.

UOW received the top rating of 5 in the broad research field of Chemical Sciences, as well as in all six individual research areas it was rated in – analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, macromolecular and materials chemistry, medicinal and biomolecular chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. It was one of only five universities nationally to receive a 5 in organic chemistry; one of only 7 to receive a 5 in inorganic chemistry; and one of only 9 to receive a 5 in analytical chemistry.

UOW’s research was also given a rating of 5 in the field of Physical Sciences, and in the individual areas of condensed matter physics and “other physical sciences” (where it was one of only four universities to receive the top rating).

All three research areas that UOW was assessed on in the Biological Sciences – biochemistry and cell biology, ecology, and plant biology – received a rating of 5 (UOW was one of only seven universities nationally to receive the top rating in biochemistry and cell biology).

In Medical and Health Sciences, a rating of 5 was given to the areas of neurosciences, nursing, and pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences.

In Information and Computing Sciences, UOW was deemed the best in Australia for data format, being the only university to receive a rating of 5.

UOW was also the top in Australia for interdisciplinary engineering, with its rating of 4 being the highest for any university. In other Engineering research areas, UOW received a rating of 5 for environmental engineering (one of only three universities to receive the top rating) and for materials engineering.

Other research areas to achieve the 5 rating were applied mathematics; statistics (one of only eight nationwide to do so); atmospheric sciences (one of only six); geology; environmental science and management; and archaeology (one of only two universities to receive the top rating).

In the humanities and social sciences, research areas ranked as “above world standard” included human geography (placing in the top 10 nationally), sociology, psychology, specialist studies in education, visual arts and crafts (top five nationally), literary studies (top 10 nationally), historical studies, philosophy, and law.

Posted in Science and Technology
Tagged: Research