Message from the Chancellery: Summer 2019

5 December 2019

The word ‘excellence’ is used frequently these days, perhaps to the point of overuse, but it is an entirely fair description of Australia’s university system.

Depending on which global ranking you look at, Australia now has seven universities in the world’s top 100. A remarkable achievement for a country of only 25 million people.

It must be remembered, however, that while all are fine institutions, not all universities are the same. There are those that excel at teaching, those that excel at research – but fewer excel at both. The University of Queensland is clearly one of those.

This may always have been the case, and I thank UQ colleagues past and present for elevating UQ to this rarefied position, but recent indicators help to confirm this desirable status.

In the fiercely contested Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellowships scheme, for example, UQ secured the largest share of funding in the most recent round. In the history of that scheme, the University now has more laureates (27) and more cumulative funding ($77.7 million) than any other university, turbocharging our top minds to pursue game-changing research. 

In another ARC scheme, the Centres of Excellence which funds highly innovative and transformational research, a recent injection of $102 million towards three new centres also places us as the national leader over the lifetime of that scheme. 

These and other results underscore our exceptional researchers and the quality of research being undertaken at UQ, and should be celebrated for the national benefit they bring.

At the same time, our teachers are excelling at preparing graduates for what will likely be a sequence of careers. The Good Universities Guide 2020 gives us five-star ratings for staff qualifications, student demand, overall student experience, learning resources, and teaching quality. These ratings are backed up by Australian Government data, which records employer satisfaction with UQ graduates at 87.3 per cent – equal fifth in the nation – and a full-time employment rate of 78.2 per cent four months after graduating.

These are great results that arguably point to UQ’s standing as Australia’s most comprehensively excellent university using the twin pillars of teaching and research.

It has been a privilege for me to be part of this excellence for the last seven years. 

All of these successes pale in comparison to the cumulative achievements of alumni – the stories of just a few feature in the summer 2019 issue of Contact. It is the combined efforts of this extraordinary group that make the world a better place to live in.

After my departure from the University in June next year, I will continue to watch from the sidelines as new leadership builds on these achievements and takes the institution to ever greater heights.

Professor Peter Høj AC
Vice-Chancellor and President