26 March 2015

The University of Queensland leads  Australia and excels globally in two critical measures of science research excellence associated with the prestigious journal Nature.

As well as being Australia’s number one in Nature’s index of research publications, UQ scores nearly twice the global average for the  proportion of its publications in the gold standard  journals Nature and Science.

The Nature Index tracks author affiliations, institutional relationships and contributions to articles published in 68 of the world’s absolute prestige science journals.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the result was testament to the excellence of UQ researchers and it underscored UQ’s current position as the leading Australian university for research income

“UQ has many excellent researchers who bring about benefits that improve the daily lives of individuals, families and entire communities,” Professor Høj said.

“The Gardasil cervical cancer vaccine,  the Triple P Positive Parenting Program and our world leading approaches to the management of urban and environmental water resources are prominent examples of fully translated research excellence captured by the Nature Index - and more is on the way.”

Nature said UQ postdoctoral researcher Dr Timothy Barnett from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences was one of UQ’s “stars”.

“Work by Barnett and his team reshaped understanding of how group A Streptococcus bacteria infects the body, effectively hiding from the immune system and growing within cells,” Nature said.

“The new comprehension of the bacteria’s behaviour is an important step towards better treatment for an infection linked to more than 500,000 deaths globally each year.”

Professor Høj said the Nature Index reflected the established strengths of Australian research institutions with the seven next Australian positions taken by members of the Group of Eight

“However, a look beneath the index’s surface shows the tectonic plates of university prestige are shifting,” he said.

“Universities outside Australia are building their research excellence, and will soon topple the old order of university rankings in our region. This will reverberate across Australia’s economy unless we get a sounder national approach to investing in and rewarding top quality research. One of the first casualties will be our $16 billion education export industry, which is vital not only to the Australian economy but also very  important for our future relations with strongly expanding global economies”.

 More information is at natureindex.com.

Media: Fiona Cameron, +61 7 3346 7086, communications@uq.edu.au.