What are the best universities for life sciences?

What are the best universities for life sciences?

Australian Universities are well-prepared to take on students who are keen to take up health science degrees after recent reports revealed school leavers’ sustained interest in pursuing STEM-related courses.

The 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject for life sciences and medicine revealed that 22 Australian universities are among the leading tertiary institutions, with the University of Melbourne (UniMelb) in the lead.

With an overall score of 85.8, UniMelb placed 22nd in the global rankings – its lowest ranking to date. The University’s starting rank, back in 2017, was in 13th place and declined in the following years. However, the University posted the highest score in academic reputation at 88.1

In February, the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity – the University’s joint venture with the Royal Melbourne Hospital – recently became the first research institution to replicate the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outside China.

Last week, the Victorian Government gave Doherty and the Burnett Institute a total of $6m in additional funding to fast-track their research. Another $3.2m was given by the Jack Ma Foundation to the Doherty Institute to speed up their search for a vaccine.

UniMelb is followed by the University of Sydney, which maintained its position at 42nd place for the second consecutive year.

In 2019, the University bounced back from its lowest rank at 50th place in 2018. With an overall score of 77.8, the University of Sydney received perfect marks for its international faculty and students. It also received a 97.5 score for academic reputation.

The University also made it into the top 50 for other subjects, ranking the highest for sports-related subjects.  Outgoing University Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Michael Spence credited the latest results to the University’s quality of teaching which affected employment and research outcomes.

The University of Queensland (UQ), which was earlier tasked to find a COVID-19 vaccine and had made a breakthrough in Hendra virus research, came in third place among Australian universities. UQ overall ranked 37th place and had been on a downward trend since 2018 when it peaked at 30th place.

UQ had an overall score of 81.9, posting the highest grade in terms of academic reputation at 84. UQ posted better rankings in sports (3rd), Engineering – Mineral and Mining (5th), and Environmental Sciences (14th). 

Monash University, the last Australian institution to make it in the top 50, ranked 39th place, also its lowest standing to date. Monash had an overall score of 81.6, posting the highest scores in terms of citations per paper at 84.1 and employer reputation at 83.5.

The University still had a high score in academic reputation at 81.8.

Monash’s top 2 leading subjects also came from the STEM field, namely Pharmacy and Pharmacology (2nd) and Engineering – Mineral and Mining (7th). Education was the University’s third-highest ranked subject at 12th place.

Professor Margaret Gardner, Monash’s President and Vice-Chancellor, said the University’s performance in the latest ranking shows their ability to partner with industry and academic peers.