Wellington: New Zealand universities have improved their standing in a major international ranking for the first time in six years, the media reported on Tuesday.
The organisation that represents universities, Universities New Zealand, said the improvement was partly because this year's ranking puts less weight on research citations in medicine and the life sciences, Radio New Zealand reported.
But its chief executive, Chris Whelan, said the universities had improved on other counts, including a score based on their reputation among foreign academics.
"The academic reputation gain is important at a time when we are competing for staff and students in a hugely competitive international marketplace," Whelan said.
He said, over the previous five years, the country's eight universities dropped by an average of 25 places in the rankings.
"This is mainly due to the funding per student being far below that received by other international universities," Whelan said.
He warned that New Zealand institutions would not be able to maintain their placings in the rankings without more funding.