Research undertaken in the nation’s universities not only delivers in terms of quality but also delivers in terms of real-world impact on the everyday lives of Australians, the global community and business and industry – as verified by the Federal Government’s first assessment of research impact and engagement.
The Impact assessment exercise has confirmed the role of the Go8 – which spends $6.4 billion annually on its research effort – as Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, both in the quality and impact of its research.
“Today’s results confirm that our research delivers life-changing impact in and for the Australian community,” Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said.
“For the Go8, we are pleased that 93% of our research is rated with substantial impact and 54% rated at the highest level of impact. This includes examples of high impact in each of the 25 research disciplines assessed – from Science, Engineering and Medicine to Humanities Arts and Social Sciences and also in Indigenous and Interdisciplinary research.
“These results are a strong endorsement of the results released earlier this week for Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) which showed that 99.6% of Go8 research is rated by the Government as world class or above.
“Quality and impact from research go hand-in-hand and this is what this week’s assessment results confirm. Importantly these results underscore the economic impact of the Go8’s research effort which contributes some $24.5 billion to the national economy each year,” Ms Thomson said.
“These are important messages for the Australian community that they can have confidence in the research conducted on their behalf by Australian universities. They are also important messages for a Government that slashed $328.5 million from research funding in the last Mid-Year Economic Forecast (MYEFO) and in the context of next week’s Budget and a soon to be called Federal election.”
Contact: Vicki Thomson Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472
Examples of High Impact research from the Go8
The University of Adelaide
Cereal gain: driving Australian producers’ competitive advantage
University of Adelaide plant breeding has led to the release of 17 new cereal crop varieties – together these produced $4.6 billion worth of grain from 2011 to 2016. Impacts included supporting national grains-industry profitability, providing new options for domestic and international grain and malt buyers, reducing risks in the production of the high value Durum crop and enabling the industry to thrive in southern Australia.
Advanced Condition Assessment and Pipe Failure Prediction
A $1 billion reduction in the cost of maintenance of pipes and fewer pipe breakages has resulted from research into leak detection including to scientifically estimate remaining lifetime before final failure. This has transformed the maintenance and replacement of water pipes and led to consistent water supply for Australian companies and consumers. Funds are now diverted from maintenance to new and improved infrastructure investment for the benefit of communities.
The University of Western Australia
Enhancing policy-making and public dialogue on the future of cities
The University of Western Australia (UWA) has played a critical role in enhancing policy-making, public debate and progress on the future of Perth and Australian cities. This has been through an innovative, longstanding partnership with the Committee for Perth which has focused on major urban policy concerns including economic development, demographic change, urban liveability and social equality. This research stimulated debate across business, community, government and individuals about the future of cities.
Strategic optimisation of antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1
The HIV epidemic is a major health issue of our time. Over 35 million people are infected with profound health and economic consequences result for those people and their communities.
Thanks to UNSW research at the Kirby Institute, including the design and conduct of clinical trials, there are now antiretroviral therapies worldwide that suppress HIV, allow recovery of the immune system, and permit a healthy and productive life. These strategies have also been crucial in reducing the global costs of treatment, leading to a twenty-fold rise in the proportion of people treated, even as the number of people living with HIV has risen.
The University of Sydney
Monitoring and adjusting indoor environmental quality reduces costs and increases comfort
Heating and cooling are the most expensive costs of operating a building. Getting the temperature right significantly reduces energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and makes occupants more comfortable, productive and healthy. USYD’s Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) lab has developed IEQ standards and tools for evaluating the objective and subjective characteristics of indoor environments. The lab has worked with building owners and policy makers to shape how indoor environments are engineered, measured and managed. These standards have impacted leading green building rating systems internationally.
The University of Melbourne
Assessing students by ability, not disability: The Students with Additional Needs Program
Researchers at the University of Melbourne developed assessment and reporting tools that are helping students with disability and additional needs reach their full learning potential. The ‘Students with Additional Needs’ body of research from the mid-2000s has resulted in fundamental changes in teaching and learning for students with disability and additional needs. For example, teachers are able to gather evidence of student’s current abilities, capabilities and readiness to learn and use these to implement appropriate learning strategies as well as ensure students meet curriculum goals. This research in collaboration with the Victorian Department of Education and Training has resulted in an integrated program of curriculum, teaching, assessment and reporting resources that provide schools with access to high-quality, research-based materials to support their professional practice and profoundly impacted the ways in which Australian schools assess and report students with intellectual disability or developmental delay.
The Australian National University
Lithicon – advanced 3D analysis for oil/gas exploitation and CO2 Sequestration
The ANU pioneered new analysis to predict the material properties of oil-bearing rock as well as analyses not previously possible of old or fragmented rock. This new method known as Digital Core Analysis (DCA) has revolutionised the way companies evaluate oil reservoirs leading to improved recovery and more efficient use of these precious hydrocarbon resources. New data hugely improves reservoir modelling and therefore the accuracy of oil reserves. The company that ANU created, Lithicon, to provide the DCA services markets the imaging technology for other industries requiring high-resolution, nondestructive imaging. In 2014 the ANU sold the company it created, Lithicon, for $US68M to the leading scientific instrument company, FEI.
The University of Queensland
How the Joint Remote Sensing Research Program has improved land management in Australia
University of Queensland research has resulted in several ground-breaking mapping and monitoring processes that are revolutionising land management in Australia. Initially deployed by the Queensland Government these mapping and monitoring techniques allow better understanding of natural or environmental resources. Their use has now extended to the New South Wales and Victorian Governments. Some examples of application:
- Landholders gained unprecedented capability to use digital, imagery-based products and datasets – such as ground cover reports for farmers and graziers – for assessing risk and informing land management decisions.
- Data collected supported and informed policy and legislation developments across multiple states including an agricultural land audit and a rural leasehold land strategy.
- The processes underpinned reporting of water quality targets for the Great Barrier Reef and government and industry grazing extension and drought management programs in Queensland and other states and territories
- Peak bodies and authorities were supported to rapidly identify impacted farms and expedite aid provision during severe weather events such as fires and floods.