The University of Newcastle has lost its position as the highest ranked Australian university under 50 years old in controversial circumstances.
The university slipped to become the second-highest ranked Australian university in the category in the 2014-15 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
However, it is debatable whether the university should have been included at all.
While Newcastle only fell from 28 to 30 in the global ranking of universities under 50, Sydney’s University of Technology jumped from 47 to 21 to become Australia’s highest ranked institution for 2014-15.
Newcastle’s performance in the prestigious Times rankings, as well as other publications such as The Good Universities Guide, has consistently improved over the five years.
After claiming the position of Australia’s highest ranked university under 50 last year, many believed the university would not be eligible to be considered this year.
The University of Newcastle, which is celebrating its 50th year, gained autonomy from the University of NSW on January 1, 1965.
The Britain-based Times Higher Education did not respond to questions seeking to clarify why the university was included in the 2014-15 table of universities under 50.
A university spokeswoman said the university was proud to be ranked 30th in the world among young universities by the Times Higher Education’s independent ranking system.
‘‘We are delighted to be one of 16 Australian universities included in today’s rankings. This is clear evidence that Australia is home to a truly world-class higher education sector,’’ she said.
‘‘We warmly congratulate all Australian universities ranked in the world’s top 100 under 50 years old.’’
The university remains ranked in the 251-275 band in the list of all universities.
This article originally appeared in The Newcastle Herald – University of Newcastle no longer top in ratings