Report highlights UNE’s special research strengths

Published 02 February 2011

tianduThe University of New England’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, says the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) report, published this week, proves that UNE is making a substantial impact on the world research stage in its areas of speciality.

Talk of world standards in research dominated the higher education sector yesterday as results were confirmed for Australian universities’ international performance in research with the publication of the ERA report by the Australian Research Council.

“UNE is an institution that has a long-standing reputation for high-quality research in niche areas, and this is reflected in the ERA report,” Professor Barber said.

The report gives particular recognition to two key UNE research disciplines: animal production research, where UNE was equal top across the Australian sector, and pure mathematics research, where UNE is in the top six Australian universities – equal with the University of NSW and the University of Sydney. Both research areas scored a ranking of 4 in the international scale, placing UNE above world standard in these disciplines.

In addition, UNE was in the top 20 Australian universities across the vast majority of its research areas – particularly in the humanities, going against the downward trend in this area across the sector. UNE’s research in archaeology was rated in the top 10 universities, and its research supporting excellence in education saw it achieve a place in the top 15 in curriculum and pedagogy.

“We are proud of our contributions to education scholarship, and it’s good to see UNE maintaining that standard, especially in topics that deal with research and the practice of teaching,” Professor Barber said.

UNE also boasts strong results in key areas of science research, with environmental science, agricultural science and veterinary science all scoring a 3 in the ERA rankings – meaning UNE is meeting world standard in these important areas of research.

“When we’re put up against the big universities in equivalent areas of research UNE comes out in the top half of the game, which is impressive given our size and output,” Professor Barber said. “The methodology employed in determining the ERA results obscures the fact that in nine areas UNE has achieved world standard, and in two areas above world standard.”

“We will use these results to specialise further in those areas where we have achieved world standard or greater,” he said. “I want to congratulate the outstanding contributions made by many of UNE’s research teams.”

THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here expands to show UNE mathematician Professor Yihong Du (right) with Professor Gang Tian (from Princeton University and the Beijing International Centre for Mathematical Research) during a visit by Professor Tian to UNE in 2009. “Professor Tian’s work covers, at the very highest level, all three of our research fields here at UNE: differential equations, complex geometry, and algebraic topology,” Professor Du explained at the time.