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Funding provides boost for forestry education


Brigid Veale
22 December 2006
Southern Cross University, in collaboration with three major metropolitan universities, has received close to $1.6 million to develop a national forestry program.

It is one of 13 new projects worth $8 million announced by the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Ms Julie Bishop, and funded through the Collaboration and Structural Reform Fund (CASR).

The project will provide a national Masters program in forestry to be jointly offered by the Australian National University, Southern Cross University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Tasmania. The partners are also the principal research training partners in the Co-operative Research Centre for Forestry.

Ms Bishop said the projects funded through CASR would promote structural reform in higher education and encourage stronger links between universities and industry, business and the local community, and other education and training providers.

“Australia has a world-class higher education sector, and the Government, in partnership with the sector and business, is committed to looking at ways to improve the quality of such linkages,” Ms Bishop said.

“Australia’s strong economy has led to increasing demands for skilled workers in certain industries. A number of the projects I have approved from the 2006 funding round will assist further in addressing these skills issues.”

Professor Jerry Vanclay, Chair of Forestry at Southern Cross University, said forestry had been identified as an area where there were severe skill shortages.

“This is an opportunity to make it a really good quality program which will give students the chance to study at more than one institution,” Professor Vanclay said.

“The four institutions have a very good reputation in forestry and by collaborating we will collectively be able to offer a better program.

“The Masters program will be aimed at students who have done a generalist science degree. It will also provide mid-career foresters the opportunity to upgrade their skills.”

The project funding includes $500,000 for scholarships, which will be shared among the institutions.

Photo: Jerry Vanclay.