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Building Australia's research strengths

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Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Australia’s smaller less research-intensive and regional universities are partnering with other institutions to combat pressing issues like the future of the Murray Darling Basin, mental health, environmental management and regional development.

Announcing $61.5 million for 12 projects under the Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) program, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said world-class research is one of the keys to Australia’s future and these university partnerships will strengthen Australia’s research capability and excellence.

“Quality research can help us address issues of critical national importance and create opportunities for new industries and high-wage, high-skill jobs,” Senator Carr said.

“The CRN helps smaller less research-intensive and regional universities strengthen their research capacity by teaming them up with other institutions. I am excited by the valuable projects that the $61.5 million CRN first round will support from 2010-11 to 2013-14.

“The University of New England, for example, will work with four other universities and a local health provider to look at the important issue of mental health and well-being in rural areas.

“Charles Darwin University will conduct marine and environmental research in tropical Australia in partnership with the Australian National University, James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

“The University of Canberra will lead a project with seven partners, including the CSIRO and Murray Darling Basin Authority, to look at the future of the Murray Darling Basin and how to develop sustainable rural communities.”

Senator Carr highlighted the importance of collaboration and the benefits that would be achieved by linking experts from across Australia.

“Collaboration is crucial to successful research. It draws together experts from a variety of institutions and it gives Australia more bang for its research buck,” Senator Carr said

A full list of CRN projects is attached. For more information on the CRN program and the Government’s support for Australian research, visit

Media contacts: Aban Contractor, Minister's Office, 0457 989 842 Dr Nick Yazidjoglou, Department, 02 6276 1739/0449 903 308

Lead institution / Funding


Project title



University of Canberra $6,300,000

Australian National University Charles Sturt University University of Southern Queensland CSIRO National Water Commission Murray Darling Basin Authority Dep’t of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences

Murray Darling Basin Futures: A collaborative netw ork integrating natural and social science research to support evidence-based policy, resource management and sustainable rural communities.

This CRN has as its core objectives the development of research capacity including research training and resear ch leadership capacity at the University of Canberra, developing su stainable collaborations with other universities and research organisations and a knowledge exchange network in order to ensure policy relevance and research impact.

The team, composed from areas of research strength and focus at UC (environmental science, social a nd economic modelling, public policy, health and regional planning) and including specific research strengths in our collaborating partners, will focus on an area of major national significance; building resilience in th e Murray Darling Basin environment and communities.


Charles Sturt University $5,396,181

Monash University Queensland University of Technology

Excellence in research in early years education

Early childhood is a critical period in human development. Early Years Education (EYE) has life-long im pacts on wellbeing, learning and socioeconomic outcomes. A Collabor ative Research Network between Charles Sturt University (CSU), Qu eensland University of Technology (QUT) and Monash University (MU) would create one of the largest networks of research-productive EYE academics in the world. Structured collaboration would deliver world-cla ss research capacity and enable the development of the next generation of international level researchers. The CRN will make possible landmark research on critical areas of childhood learning, establishing a cumulative base of knowledge to drive Australian and international policy and programs.

University of New England $4,800,000

La Trobe University University of Newcastle University of New South Wales University of Sydney Hunter New England Area Health Service

University of New England - CRN for Mental Health and Well-being in Rural Regions

This CRN will be led by University of New England working with five partners, Newcastle, Sydney, La Tr obe and NSW universities and Hunter New England Area Heath Service. It will expand the emerging Rural Health research strength at UNE, feeding into education of 1,400 health professionals annually. Partner institu tions will extend their reach into and knowledge of rural regions. CRN activities will build links with rural communities and health providers in Northern Inland NSW and Victoria, with focus on investigating mental heath and well-being including health workforce sustainability, se lf-care, suicide, disabilities, sexuality, inclusion, and biomedical science supporting rural mental health.

Southern Cross University $4,639,448

University of New South Wales University of Sydney University of Queensland

Policy and Planning research for sustainable regions

This multidisciplinary project will support and progress several clearly defined areas of emerging research st rength at Southern Cross University (SCU) that collectively comprise policy and planning research for sustainable regions. This includes polic y and planning research in relation to children and young people, community health and wellbeing, social inclusion, tourism, marine ecology, regional infrastructure and regional development.

The project involves three related elem ents linked to social, economic and environmental sustainability. The project will facilitate access to specialist expertise, training, and dedicated infr astructure and resources that will result in significantly improved research outcomes at SCU. The project will be undertaken in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney.

Lead institution / Funding


Project title



Charles Darwin University $5,038,353

Australian National University James Cook University Australian Institute of Marine Science

Northern Research Futures (NRF)

The Northern Research Futures (NRF ) alliance will create a program of national collaborative social coastal/ma rine and environmental research and innovation in the northern Australian region. The NRF will be a multi-disciplinary collaboration located at Ch arles Darwin University with the Australian National University a nd James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Scienc e. Charles Darwin University is nationally recognised as a critical node in social and environmental research for the remote tropical north to enable ongoing and sustainable programs of multi-disciplinary collaborative world-class research that is sought out by both end users and next users for in tegration into policy and practice.

Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education $1,533,451

Monash University Australian National University Charles Darwin University Australian Institute of A boriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Australian Indigenous Research and Researcher Development Project

This CRN project establishes a world�leading research development partnership between Batchelor Institute, Monash University, Australian National University, Charles Darwin Un iversity and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Isla nder Studies. Underpinned by the Institute’s unique historical expertis e in providing effective educational pathways and the privileging of Indi genous knowledge, epistemology and research methodologies, the project advances mutual research strengths in Indigenous Education, Language/Linguistics and the Creative Arts. Together, partners will significantly increase Indigenous researcher participation and output and secure critical mass and capacity within Batchelor Institute to maintain a nationally/internationally recognised research Centre for Indigenous Languages, Education and the Arts.


Central Queensland University $5,530,300

Curtin University University of Queensland Queensland University of Technology

CQUniversity Australia - Health Collaborative Research Network

CQUniversity is entering into CRN partnerships with University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and Curtin University, to develop its research capacity and achieve stronger performance outcomes in Health-related research disciplines , particularly: Soci al and Population Health; Medical and Allied Health Sciences; Mental Health; Quality outcomes in Health Care; and, I ndustrial and Environmental Health.

University of Southern Queensland $5,100,000

Australian National University University of South Australia

Digital Futures

Digital Futures brings together the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), the Australian National Univer sity (ANU) and the University of South Australia (UniSA), in a partne rship of complementary strengths to explore the future in a digital age, wi th a particular focus on: social and policy challenges in a digital future; pa rticipation in higher education; and technology rich learning environments.

University of the Sunshine Coast $5,450,000

Griffith University University of Tasmania Queensland University of Technology

USC Research Futures Project

The USC Research Futures Project is an integrated pack age of initiatives with research partners were strategica lly selected for th eir leadership in research areas aligned with USC’s stre ngths (water, sustainability, forests, aquaculture), research development st rategies and their track record for successful collaboration.


The University of Tasmania is a partner in a project led by the University of the Sunshine Coast.

South Australia

All three South Australian Universities are involved in the CRN program, as partners in projects led by the University of Southern Queensland and Edith Cowan University.


University of Ballarat $5,954,970

Deakin University University of Melbourne Monash University

Self-sustaining Regions Research and Innovation Initiative

Regional areas face significant challe nges: changes in environmental and economic structures have transforme d the social fabric of regional communities. Such changes have direct socio-economic consequences: poor health outcomes; demographic change a ssociated with outward migration of the young, skilled and educated; and increasing social disconnectedness. The net effect is a reduced state of "well-being"; undermining resilience and sustainability. Through an alliance of research excellence in regional landscape change; regional social c onnectedness and health; and regional information use and systems optimisation, the University of Ballarat’s Self-sustaining Regions Research and Inn ovation Initiative will explore ways of strengthening regional “well-being” a nd driving regional rejuvenation.

Victoria University $6,142,245

Melbourne University Deakin University Edith Cowan University CSIRO

Education, active living and water: Leveraging Victoria University’s research investment

Victoria University (VU) is committ ed to building its research capacity, investing heavily in facilities and pers onnel to support Clinical Exercise Science and Active Living; Water Ma nagement; and Education in Low SES, Diverse and Underrepresented Communities. CRN funds will propel these investments by supporting VU colla boration with the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Edith Cowan University and the CSIRO providing access to their considerable expertise, facilities and experience.

CRN facilitated partnering with these es teemed institutions will enable VU to build capacity, ensuring it can confidently move into the next phase of its development as a research active and engaged university.


Edith Cowan University $5,615,052

University of Adelaide Deakin University Flinders University University of Melbourne University of Queensland Queensland University of Technology University of South Australia University of Sydney University of Western Australia

Growing research excellence at Edith Cowan University through partnership and engagement

The Edith Cowan Univers ity (ECU) Collaborative Research Network will create world-class research capacity and outcomes through collaborative partnership with the University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia, University of Sydney, Univer sity of Queensland, University of Adelaide, Deakin University, Flinders University, University of South Australia and Queensland University of Technology in areas of national strategic importance such as

• Promotion of Mental Health and Wellbeing in Young People • Exercise Medicine for the Preven tion and Management of Chronic Disease • Integrated Health Services to E nhance Community-Based Health Care • Nano-photonics and Nano-electronics to Support National Frontier Technologies

• Protection of Coastal Ecosystems and Marine Resource Management • Advanced Technologies for Leadi ng Teaching and Education Practice The project will lead to sustainabl e increases in collaborative research, research active staff and students, research support staff, knowledge sharing, exchange programs, top tier publications, higher degree research completions, and competitive grant funding secured.