Adelaidean - News from the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide Australia
September 2009 Issue
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Our $250 million research investment


The University of Adelaide's investment in research activities exceeded a quarter of a billion dollars last year, according to a new review.

"This is a massive commitment and it reaffirms the University of Adelaide's position as a major contributor to the national research effort," said Professor Mike Brooks, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

"Our research operations represent a major investment in work that is of great benefit to society, government and industry in areas of key strategic need.

"The strong research performance for 2008 comes on top of the University's $50 million commitment to new research institutes over the next five years," he said.

"We have already established iconic research institutes in areas of excellence spanning environment, reproductive health, mineral and energy resources, agriculture, and photonics, with others soon to be announced.

"Additionally, new research centres are being funded in fields as diverse as defence, nutrition, visual technologies and economics."

The University has conducted a review of its research expenditure for 2008, partly because of reporting requirements for the Federal Government but more broadly to gain a better understanding of the University's total research commitment.

The review found that the component of the University's research income that is reportable to the Federal Government grew by 25% to more than $145 million last year.

As part of this, the University's top tier competitive research income grew by 15% to just short of $70 million, while support from industry exceeded $17 million.

The review also found that when the $145 million is added to other federal government grants, infrastructure funding, research student scholarships and a conservative estimate of staff time allocated to research, total research spend exceeded $250 million.

In 2008 the University ranked second in Australia in terms of competitive research income per capita, which is a key measure of research productivity. Adding to this, the number of journal papers to which University researchers contributed increased by 13% last year.

Professor Brooks attributed much of the University's research success to intensive preparations for the former national Research Quality Framework (RQF) scheme, and now the current Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) scheme.

"The RQF forced us to audit our research quality in more detail than we'd ever done before. It enabled us to refine our internal investment strategies and priorities and help in our decision-making.

"That scheme has been dead now for a couple of years. Our positive results in 2008 are due in part to our response to RQF and partly also because of the new ERA.

"If we've done well thanks to the influence of RQF, we will be on an even better footing with ERA. ERA is a metric-based system that has generally been well received by universities. It's a more objective system, and we believe it will be more cost-effective for universities overall. If it continues to drive researchers towards quality research, that will be an excellent result."

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Professor Mike Brooks, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), whose own research interests are in computer vision and surveillance
Photo by James Knowler, courtesy of <i>The Australian</i>

Professor Mike Brooks, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), whose own research interests are in computer vision and surveillance
Photo by James Knowler, courtesy of The Australian

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For more news on the research and educational achievements of the University & our alumni read the University's bi-annual magazine, Lumen.