The University of Newcastle has set a target of achieving a ranking in the world’s top two per cent of universities in the major international ranking systems by 2015.

The target was released today as part of a suite of initiatives in the University’s NeW Directions Strategic Plan 2013-2015NeW Directions includes plans for the University’s lead priorities in education, and research and innovation for 2013 to 2015, as well as supporting plans for future workforce, campuses and facilities, and the investment required in the University’s systems and processes.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, said with the rise of the Asian Century and the heightened competition in the higher education sector for talented students and staff, building the University’s global performance and reputation were essential to forging a place on the world stage.

“In 2012, UoN was ranked in the top three per cent of universities in the world by the QS and Times Higher Education global ranking systems and in the top four per cent of universities in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities,” Professor McMillen said.

“As a young university, being ranked by independent agencies as a world-class performer is an excellent result and a great base to build our aspirations and ambitions.

“Through the priorities outlined in NeW Directions 2013-2015 our aim is to join the top two per cent of the world’s universities in the recognised world ranking systems. We will achieve our aim to reach the top two per cent of universities in the world by building scale through collaboration with outstanding partners, recruiting the best staff and students from across the world, and maintaining a clear focus on our core areas of strength.”

NeW Directions includes plans to attract international academic leaders as ‘Global Innovation Chairs’, establishing five major partnerships with leading international collaborators and launching three Research and Innovation Clusters.

The University also released plans today to establish a Centre of Excellence in Equity for Higher Education by 2015.

“For the past three decades, the University has been providing opportunities for students with talent and ability to enter and succeed in higher education regardless of their background. Today the University of Newcastle leads the sector. The proportion of students from low socio-economic backgrounds enrolled at the University is 27 per cent, significantly higher than the sector average of 16 per cent,” Professor McMillen said.

“Through the new Centre for Excellence in Equity for Higher Education we will establish a global reputation for evidence-based development of pathways to ensure access to university and academic attainment for students from a range of backgrounds.

“Equity and excellence are mutually inclusive as long as students are offered the right preparation and support to succeed.”

The University’s Strategic Plan includes introducing sector-leading initiatives to develop its future workforce.

“Always the disruptive innovator, the University of Newcastle has outlined innovative strategies to develop our future workforce and deliver the next generation of professional and academic staff.”

Click here to view the NeW Directions 2013-2015 website.