ERA responses: national superlatives reserve empty

All Australian universities are research-excellent in their own unique ways

There was good news of varying amounts for all unis in yesterday’s Excellence in Research for Australia results. But by lunchtime yesterday the national superlative supply must have been exhausted because all announcements started reading the same to CMM.

However the various institution lobbies managed to address big, if member-flattering, pictures.

Universities Australia: ““Australian university researchers are some of the best in the world. Once again, this proves it,” UA’s Catriona Jackson said. However, “the stellar results follow cuts of $328.5 million to research funding announced last year. The quality of Australian research is only possible when research is adequately funded,”

Innovative Research Universities: The IRU stated, “investment in higher education research is being used wisely and efficiently, and that achievements demonstrates the government’s folly in cutting research base funding.  It added, the coming engagement and impact assessment will indicate how good research is translated into action by government, industry and community. And IRU added ERA and engagement/impact assessments should alternate over six years, to balance workloads and “maintain the focus on public measurement.”

Regional Universities Network: “RUN research contributes to the international links that makes regional universities the most internationally-connected organisations in their communities.

Group of Eight: Chief Executive Vicki Thomson had a bunch of good news to work with, for example, 55 per cent of ratings of units at evaluation at her members had top ratings – up 10 per cent from ERA 2015. But she questioned the point of ERA, given no funding is attached. “We need a review which includes addressing the current distorted funding model for research and as part of this broader context, consideration should also be given to not only accountability for research excellence but also rewarding it.

“We also believe accountability for research excellence could be delivered more efficiently by a modified ERA using publicly available data. Extending the period between iterations of ERA would also increase efficiency while potentially not impacting on accountability,” she said.


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