Water research a leader in world rankings

From the Murray-Darling Basin to Millingimbi and the Pilbara up north, understanding and protecting water resources is vital to the future growth and prosperity of Australia.

Expert insights and guidance on national policy and best practice generated by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) at Flinders University has been acknowledged in the top echelons of research around the world.

The most recent Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) field rankings assesses more than 50 subjects across natural sciences, engineering, life sciences, medical sciences and social sciences from more than 4,000 universities.

In the water resources research area, Flinders University was one of the top-ranked Australian universities at number 12 in the global rankings.

NCGRT director Professor Craig Simmons says it’s “great to see Flinders ranked so highly in these prestigious rankings”.

“The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training has been a hive of activity in the groundwater and water space at Flinders since it was established in 2009 as an ARC co-funded Centre of Excellence,” says Professor Simmons, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Hydrogeology.

“There are a lot of interesting and important water and water-related research projects still going on right across the University, with the ARWU ranking showcasing the hard work, commitment, talent and achievements of so many students, staff and researchers over many years.

“Flinders researchers are working on a range of areas including environmental and human health, water quality, groundwater and environmental investigations, ecosystems, and ecology and also surface water.”

The international ranking is based on research productivity, quality of journals, citation impact, international collaboration and publication co-authorship between 2012-16.

In keeping with the quality of research, the Flinders research has attracted ARC Linkage grants to work on remote groundwater conservation and remediation at Millingimbi in the Northern Territory and Rio Tinto iron ore sites in Western Australia’s Pilbara.

As well as ongoing strategic research work on groundwater management with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, the NCGRT has also worked extensively with the South Australian Goyder Institute for Water Research, including finding long-term outback water solutions.

“The rankings reflect the exceptional quality and scientific impact of water resources research, clearly highlighting Flinders University is home to one of the world’s most important groundwater research centres,” says hydrogeology expert, Strategic Professor Okke Batelaan, from the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders.

“The number of papers published in top-ranking journals was clearly a standout feature of the latest rankings.”

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