By Matthew Backhouse
New Zealand universities have failed to rank among the world’s most prestigious 100 institutions as rated by top international scholars.
The Times Higher Education reputation rankings, released today, are based on the world’s largest invitation-only academic opinion survey.
The rankings show American and British universities remain highly rated by top scholars, while Asian universities are becoming increasingly well-regarded.
However, New Zealand universities did not rate at all among the top 100 – and are continuing to slip even further in reputation.
Times Higher Education rankings editor Phil Baty said institutions were not officially ranked below the top 100 because the data was not good enough at that level.
However, the top-ranked New Zealand university, the University of Auckland, had slipped from around 150 to around the 200 mark.
The only other local university to get a mention, the University of Otago, moved from the mid-200s to the lower 200s.
“It’s not great for New Zealand – they seem to be falling off the pace a little,” Mr Baty said.
The rankings are based on a survey of leading international scholars asked to name the very best universities in their field, based on their expertise.
“We can’t really speculate as to why fewer of them are naming New Zealand universities, but obviously it is a worry that New Zealand universities aren’t being mentioned as often – they’re not being named among the very best in the world in the same levels as in the past.”
Mr Baty said it could be due to rising competition, particularly close to home in Asia.
Australia had five universities in the top 100, down from six last year.
New Zealand had never rated in the top 100.
“That is a worry because Australia and New Zealand are both so well-poised to capitalise on the fantastic geographic advantages they have in terms of working with the booming Asian economies and the developing Asian nations,” Mr Baty said.
“Asia is rising up strong and New Zealand is in a brilliant position to capitalise on that, but it would appear that there are some challenges there and risks that it may miss out on this incredible opportunity.”
The poor result comes after five New Zealand universities were ranked among the world’s top 50 institutions, by discipline, by another British ranking company.
The QS rankings, released last month, rated the University of Auckland as the country’s best-performing institution.
The University of Canterbury, University of Otago, Massey University and University of Waikato also got top-50 mentions within disciplines.
The world’s top 10 universities:
1. Harvard Harvard University (US)
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
3. Stanford University (US)
4. University of Cambridge (UK)
5. University of Oxford (UK)
6. University of California, Berkeley (US)
7. Princeton University (US)
8. Yale University (US)
9. California Institute of Technology (US)
10. University of California, Los Angeles (US)
(The New Zealand Herald)