Students, universities, businesses, and communities in regional Australia will all benefit from a boost in research capability through the opening of the Morrison Government’s Regional Research Collaboration (RRC) Program.
Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the $48.8 million scheme would grow and strengthen research activity in regional Australia by linking regional researchers with businesses and universities outside the region.
“Regional universities are perfectly placed to be at the forefront of critical research on issues like drought resilience, food security, new farming technologies, and regional health, but we know this can be challenging,” Minister Tudge said.
“Linking regional universities with other institutions and business will make this research more viable and increase opportunities to commercialise the results.
“Regional communities currently account for 28 per cent of the population, but only around 14 per cent of higher degree research students.
“Regional institutions and their students should have access to the same resources and opportunities as their metropolitan counterparts. The RRC will give regional universities the volume to attract the best students, researchers and equipment.
Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education Andrew Gee said the program creates more opportunities for Australians in regional areas to pursue post-graduate qualifications in their communities.
“The RRC program aims to develop industry and research strengths in regional institutions, particularly through skills development,” Minister Gee said.
“Eligible applicants will be assessed on research priorities of the Government, industry and university sectors, and the long-term benefits they bring to the institution and the region.”
“This initiative is another important step in bridging the divide between city and country.”
Projects will be assessed by a panel including two eminent academics, Emeritus Professor Annabelle Duncan, former Vice Chancellor of University of New England, and Professor Simon Maddocks, former Vice Chancellor of Charles Darwin University.
Professors Maddocks and Duncan will bring years of experience and expertise regarding regional issues and an understanding of the opportunities that will develop from research and industry partnerships in these areas.
Funded through the Job-ready Graduate Package, the program supports the Australian Government’s mission to strengthen the regional and remote tertiary education sector in response to the National Regional, Rural and Remote Tertiary Education Strategy (the Napthine Review).
Applications for the RRC program are now open and will close on 18 May 2021.
More information on the program is available www.dese.gov.au/regional-research-collaboration-program.