The feds want advice on enhancing research in regional universities
The Australian Council of Learned Academies is charged with advising on “research outcomes from Australia’s regional, rural and remote universities” (remote?) and has asked for input. The Innovative Research Universities, which has members with regional, if not remote, campuses, responds.
IRU suggests that quality in RRR-located research looks no different to studies in cities. “Regional campuses may look more towards their local community and industry to support their research, but this as such does not make the research worthy by virtue of having a stronger local relevance.”
And location should not drive what RRR researchers work on; “overall, the region should inspire the university and its staff, but their research should not be limited to the needs of regions in which they thrive.”
But there are areas where research in RRR universities have a case for specific help. For example, in research funding, where they are disadvantaged by block grant funding formula and by having staff more likely to be in teaching-research roles.
* more research block grant funding for “regionally relevant” research
* a regional loading for research outcomes outside big cities
* support for teaching-research staff to develop as researchers
* support for international student recruitment (fees can fund research)
* reducing the inner city-centric location of National Collaborative Research Infrastructure kit. Infrastructure with “no intrinsic locational logic can be used to stimulate the whole Australian research system through a distributive intent, with resulting benefits for regions and potential reduction of pressure on major population centres.”