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First international university table for corporate engagement: University of Melbourne ranked 48

By Peter Binks and Christopher Goldsworthy


Photo by Scott Webb

One of the world’s leading scientific institutions, Nature, has published the first ranking of universities on the basis of their corporate partnerships ( University of Melbourne has ranked 48th on the new league table in the Nature Index 2017 Science Inc. supplement.

The table ranks academic institutions by the number of bilateral partnerships with corporate institutions to co-author papers published in the Nature Index between 2012 and 2016.In this period, the University produced 177 papers co-authored by industry partners and published by the 68 journals included in the Nature Index.The ranking was noted by John Ross of The Australian on Dec 7 2017:

The University of Melbourne is the only Australian university ranked in the top 50.Harvard University tops the list with 669 publications. US and European universities feature prominently; the rankings parallel those for the Times Higher Education and Shanghai

Nature Index also constructed a table of the leading corporations and institutions in terms of their university collaborations: are no Australian firms in the top 50.The list is headed by Beijing Genomics Institute of China, with 642 bilateral collaborations 2012–2016, and includes pharmaceutical (Amgen, Pfizer, GSK, Hoffman-La Roche), IT (IBM, Samsung, Microsoft), and general industrial (Bayer) firms from Europe and the US.

Nature has further analysed several of the leading international collaborations between universities and companies:, noting that “Scientific collaborations between companies and universities are often most productive when the partners function as equals”.It also commented ( that “The number of partnerships between a corporate and an academic or government institution has more than doubled in the five years since 2012, when the index began tracking high-quality research. From an initial 12,672 pairings, the connections have grown to 25,962 in 2016, half of which were in the life sciences”

The Australian Research Council will implement its Engagement and Impact Assessment framework in 2018, promoting greater emphasis on collaborations between universities and corporate partners.

The University of Melbourne

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