You’ve definitely heard of the Ivy League; that hallowed group of US universities that supposedly stand head and shoulders above all of the others. Well, Australia has its own clique of super universities: The Group of Eight (Go8).
The Go8 consists of:
- The University of Adelaide
- The Australian National University
- The University of Melbourne
- Monash University
- The University of New South Wales
- The University of Queensland
- The University of Sydney
- The University of Western Australia
The Ivy League came into being, more or less, in 1935. Actually, that’s when the group of universities was first named the Ivy League, although they had been an informal sporting coalition since long before then. The Group of Eight was informally formed in 1994 and formalised in 1999.
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Why the Go8?
There are some who would think the Group of Eight the poor man’s Ivy League, an unashamed imitation of the real thing. But they are really very different. For starters, the G08 wasn’t born out of athletic competitions. The universities’ intentions are for more noble, for example, they aim to contribute significantly towards Australia’s continued development in the social, economic, cultural and environmental spheres. Their focus on research and education ensures that they produce graduates who are well equipped to move into the employment market and become productive members of society.
Aside from their contributions to education, the Group of Eight universities also work together to influence Australian policies that affect education and combine their efforts to market each and every university in Australia, even those that don’t belong to the Go8.
According to the official Go8 website, the Group of Eight has achieved many great things, for example, all of Australia’s Nobel Prize winners have come from Go8 universities. They are also the bulk providers of research in Australia, producing 66% of the country’s university research compared to the 33% from all other Australian universities.
Other Illustrious Groups in Australia
The Group of Eight is not the only coalition of universities in Australia. There is also the Australian Technology Network (ATN), which consists of five universities:
- Curtin University of Technology
- University of South Australia
- RMIT University
- University of Technology Sydney
- Queensland University of Technology
The ATN is older than the Go8, at least in some form. It was founded in 1975 as the Directors of Central Institutes of Technology, but in 1999 it was revamped and renamed. These universities are less concerned with research and more concerned with giving students the practical skills they need to enter the workplace. To do this, they work industry experts to ensure that their qualifications are up to date and meet industry requirements. That doesn’t mean that research is left by the wayside; it means that the research is less abstract and more practical in focus.
Innovative Research Universities (IRU) consists of seven universities:
- Flinders University
- Griffith University
- La Trobe University
- Murdoch University
- University of Newcastle
- James Cook University
- Charles Darwin University
As the name suggests, the IRU focuses on research. The idea is to collaborate on research projects nationally and internationally and setting new standards in Australian research. Like the Go8, the IRU plays a role in formulating education policies in Australia and aims to create additional opportunities for students and researchers looking to make their mark in the world.
Universities of Australia Unite
The different university groups in Australia may have different ideals and different areas of focus, but they have one thing in common: their desire to promote education in Australia and increase the standards of education so that Australian universities give the illustrious Ivy League and UK universities a run for their money.
Whether you study at one of the universities in the Group of Eight, ATN or IRU, you can be assured of a great education that gives you a head start in life.