According to the latest report from the Australian Research Council, 92 per cent of the research assessed is rated at world class or above, up from 89 per cent in 2015.
The largest gain was in the highest category — ‘well above world standard’ — which leapt from 32 per cent in 2015 to 40 per cent.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the results were a testament to the quality of Australian university research — which transforms and changes lives every day.
“Australian university researchers are some of the best in the world. Once again, this proves it.”
“The excellence of Australian research — in everything from health to environmental science — is something that all Australians can be proud of.”
The State of Australian University Research 2018–19: ERA National Report also found there has been a 37 per cent increase in the number of patents lodged by researchers since 2015.
“Australian ideas are being turned into the products and breakthroughs that are making a difference in the lives of Australians,” Ms Jackson said.
“This includes everything from new vaccines to fight disease, to drought resistant crops that help farmers feed the world, to new ways to safely monitor the health of unborn babies.”
The stellar results follow cuts of $328.5 million to research funding announced last year.
“The quality of Australian research is only possible when research is adequately funded,” Ms Jackson said.
“The Government’s research and development spend, as a percentage of our national economy, is now set to hit its lowest since 1978.”
“That’s going in the opposite direction of other advanced economies who are investing heavily in their research capability.”
“Sustaining this research performance will be only become more difficult as funding cuts bite.”
Last year, Universities Australia launched a new campaign #UniResearchChangesLives to highlight the tens of thousands of university researchers working on life-changing research.