UNSW Sydney moves to 3rd in Australia in the latest ARWU rankings

The University is among six national institutions ranked in the world’s top 100.
Larissa Baiocchi | UNSW Newsroom

Strong research output has helped UNSW Sydney advance one place to third in Australia in the 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released today by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.

At 72nd globally, UNSW is one of six Australian universities ranked in the top 100 in the world. This year, more than 2500 institutions were scrutinised, with the best 1000 universities included in the latest league table.

UNSW Sydney Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs acknowledged the University’s mission to advance world-class discovery and applied research in key areas such as climate change, quantum computing, new materials manufacturing and cutting-edge health research.

“It is pleasing to see the ShanghaiRankings recognise UNSW academics for the quality and real-world impact of their research in areas that are critical to the lives of people in Australia and across the globe,” Prof. Brungs said. “Our strategic investment in research excellence in areas critical to society and education vital for these dynamic times is being reflected in the University reinforcing its position among the top research and teaching institutions in Australia.”  

Read more: UNSW Sydney rockets into global 20 in latest QS Rankings

Universities are ranked by several academic or research performance indicators in the ARWU rankings, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, the number of highly cited researchers, papers published in journals Nature and Science, papers indexed in major citation indices and the per capita academic performance of an institution.

“Sure, it’s disappointing that we dropped eight places this year, but all Australian universities in the top 100 fell, itself of concern,” said Professor Nicholas Fisk, UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research & Enterprise. “However, it’s positive to see us rising to 3rd in the Go8. Despite being hamstrung by ARWU’s disproportionate 30 per cent emphasis on alumni and staff winning topflight awards, UNSW again performs well against its older, more established counterparts, and is the highest ranked university in Australia without a Nobel Prize or Fields Medal.”

Read more: UNSW posts big jump in 2023 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings

Universities from the United States continue to lead the league table, with Harvard University ranking first for the 21st year. Chinese mainland universities dominate the ARWU list for the first time, with 191 universities ranked in the Top 1000, outnumbering 187 universities in the United States. However, the United States maintains an overwhelming advantage at the Top 100 level where it holds 38 Top 100 seats, far more than that in mainland China (10), United Kingdom (8) and Australia (7).

Australia has 24 universities listed in ARWU’s top 500 and six in the top 100.

The ARWU rankings follow UNSW’s impressive rise in the 2024 QS World University Rankings where it jumped 26 places to equal 19th in the world and equal second in Australia with the University of Sydney.

* This story has been modified due to updated data from the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.