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Research excellence in the spotlight


11 February 2015
Southern Cross University’s research strengths were highlighted as part of a Regional Universities Network (RUN) showcase, hosted by the Nationals at Parliament House this week.

The Chair of RUN and Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Lee, said research undertaken at regional universities provided a unique research perspective embedded in the regional Australian community.

“This event gives us an opportunity, at a time when research funding is being reviewed, to highlight some of the excellent research being undertaken at our universities,” Professor Lee said.

RUN universities excel in areas as diverse as geochemistry, forestry sciences, crop and pasture production, agriculture and land management, zoology, biological sciences, mathematics, law, policy and administration, health and clinical sciences and human movement.

“We are using the RUN Regional Futures Australia banner to further our collaboration in research relevant to regional development in areas such as agriculture, environmental security, rural health and wellbeing.

“RUN universities are strategically growing their research effort to maximise their contribution to research and innovation in regional Australia, including contributing to regional industries and commercial activities,” Professor Lee said.

“Funding investment in research at RUN universities will be highly productive, focused and yield a high return. Our universities are relatively young and the research effort is increasing significantly. For example, the total research income at RUN universities increase 47 per cent per full-time equivalent researcher from 2006 to 2013, compared to the sector average of 35 per cent.”

Southern Cross University Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said the University strived to improve fundamental knowledge and much of our research was conducted through actively engaging with local communities, industry and government.

“We are concentrating our research in areas where we have high levels of expertise and where we can make a real contribution to both the regions we serve and the global community,” Professor Mackenzie said.

Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said regional universities were important to communities right across the nation.

“Regional universities make a substantial contribution to regional economies but they also undertake very important research.

“In many cases this research is very relevant to the communities where the campuses are located and can deliver meaningful benefits at the regional level."

Senator Bridget McKenzie, chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment, welcomed the efforts of the Regional Universities Network.

“The Nationals recognise the great research work undertaken by our regional universities right across Australia and the opportunities they provide to regional students to study closer to home,” Ms McKenzie said.

“When students study in regional communities they are more likely to stay and to work in regional communities, creating a stronger regional Australia.”

Photo: Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker, SCU Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee, federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Geraldine Mackenzie and director of the Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry Research Professor Brad Eyre.