Warning on impact of Aust uni funding cuts

University of Melbourne has retained its position as the highest-ranked Australian university.
University of Melbourne has retained its position as the highest-ranked Australian university.

Australian universities could face an "uphill struggle" in the coming years as funding cuts take hold, a group that ranks the world's universities has warned.

Nine Australian universities have scored a spot in the latest Times Higher Education world university rankings, with the University of Melbourne remaining the highest-ranked at spot No.32.

But global rankings editor Ellie Bothwell says things aren't all rosy in Australia's higher education system, where six of the nine universities that made the top 200 have slipped since last year.

"While there are some examples of progress from Australia this year, the national picture is a cause for concern, with many universities declining or remaining stagnant," she said in a statement.

"The country boasts some world-class institutions - and immense potential for greater success on the global stage. But you can't sustain world-class universities and research facilities with funding cuts."

The Australian National University has dropped one place in the latest rankings to No.49, while University of Sydney improved two places to No.59.

The University of Queensland (69), Monash University (84), University of New South Wales (96), University of Western Australia (134), University of Adelaide (135) and University of Technology Sydney (196) followed in the rankings.

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson says the new rankings confirm the nation's world-class standing, but also highlight the risks if cuts are not reversed.

"Australia's world-class universities need the backing of sustained investment or we risk falling behind international competitors," she said on Thursday.

Oxford and Cambridge universities retained their overall positions of one and two respectively in the 2019 rankings.

Australian Associated Press