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Rankings warn Aussie unis of Asia's rise

AAP logoAAP 21/09/2016

Australia's universities continue to perform strongly on a global level but the latest rankings offer a warning about the rise of Asian institutions.

The University of Melbourne once again tops the pack for Australia, holding its position as number 33 in the Times Higher Education world university rankings, released on Thursday.

The second best performer, Australian National University, gained five places from last year to be ranked 47th in the world.

Australia still has eight universities among the top 200 and 35 of its 43 universities make the list, all within the top 800.

"In general, Australia's leading universities produce highly influential research and are successful at both attracting top international talent and collaborating with scholars from across the world," THE world university rankings editor Phil Baty said.

It appeared the Excellence in Research for Australia initiative, launched in 2010 to evaluate universities on the quality of their research, was paying off, he said.

This year 24 Australian institutions either moved up in the rankings or held their position and another four came onto the rankings for the first time.

But Mr Baty warned they would need to keep an eye on the "higher education superpower" of Asian universities, with more rising up the list in 2016.

The region's top institution, the National University of Singapore, comes in at 24th.

"Although the notion of Asia as the 'next higher education superpower' has become something of a cliche in recent years, the continent's rise in the rankings is real and growing," Mr Baty says.

"Australia's success at the top of the rankings cannot be guaranteed in the long-term while more of Asia's leading universities soar to join the world elite."

The rankings judge research-intensive universities based on teaching, research, citations, international outlook and income from industry.

HOW AUSTRALIA'S TOP UNIVERSITIES RANK

* 33 University of Melbourne

* 47 Australian National University

* 60 University of Queensland and University of Sydney

* 74 Monash University

* 78 University of New South Wales

* 125 University of Western Australia

* 142 University of Adelaide

* 201-250 University of Newcastle and Queensland University of Technology

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