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Trent University Over-Performs in New Research Ranking by HESA

Trent has “by far the best publication record” across disciplines in both science and arts in academic research among smaller universities in Canada

A new research ranking released this week by the Higher Education Strategy Association (HESA) put Trent University’s research contributions in a new light, the report referring to Trent’s position in the findings as “a revelation.”

Trent’s strong showing was part of HESA’s Measuring Academic Research in Canada: Field-Normalized University Rankings 2012. The study took a new tack to “strip away the effects of institutional size,” resulting in a true picture of research productivity. “Field-normalizing bibliometrics and grant awards results in a slightly different picture of university performance than what we are used to,” the report said.

“York and Trent over-perform in both science and arts. York might not be such a surprise - it's a big school with lots of resources,” the analysis stated. “But Trent was a revelation - by far the best publication record of any small-ish school in the country across all disciplines.”

Dr. Neil Emery, vice president, research and international at Trent was not surprised by the results. “What this study shows is how great the return on investment is on research dollars at Trent,” he said. “Because this study puts a greater emphasis on the impact of research, it shines a light on what Trent has been doing all along. We come out looking like a big shiny apple, rubbing shoulders with traditional, high-prestige universities and even out-performing several of them.” 

Results of the study challenge the assumption that research productivity is higher at bigger universities. Trent University ranked 12th among 55 institutions nationally on the Social Sciences and Humanities Bibliometric Score and 12th on the Science and Engineering Bibliometric, despite the fact that Trent does not have an engineering program. 

The full HESA report is available at Jarvey, P. and Usher, A.  (2011). Measuring Academic Research in Canada: Field-Normalized University Rankings 2012. Toronto: Higher Education Strategy Associates.

One of Canada’s top universities, Trent University is renowned for encouraging the dynamic interplay of research, teaching and learning, which enhance and energize each other in the classroom and beyond. The University is consistently recognized nationally for faculty who maintain a high level of innovative research activity and a commitment to the individual student. Trent distinguishes itself through excellence in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences as well as professional and graduate programs. Trent is dedicated to preparing students to make significant contributions to an increasingly complex world by providing them with a distinctive liberal arts, science or professionally- focussed education, which is enhanced by global perspectives, experiential learning and interdisciplinary approaches to personal and professional development. Trent’s Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto. Together with Trent University Oshawa Thornton Road Campus, Trent draws excellent students from throughout the country and around the world.

Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA) is a Toronto-based firm specializing in research, data and strategy.

Posted on Friday, August 31, 2012.

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