Federation firm on research

FEDERATION University has confirmed its resolve to research despite calls by the Federal Government that some universities should only focus on teaching.

The backing follows Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s suggestion universities should be allowed to be “teaching only”, or opt out of research to concentrate on teaching.

Vice Chancellor Professor David Battersby said FedUni Australia was committed to having research at the heart of its operations.

“With research activities stretching from western Victoria, Gippsland and southern New South Wales, FedUni research is greatly valued by many industries and communities,” Professor Battersby said.

“This is a time for universities to increase their research, not the opposite.”

Monash University Gippsland Student Union executive officer Daniel Jordan said there was one school of thought that teaching-only universities would have a greater capacity for teaching excellence with academics not spending any time doing research and focusing on teaching.

However, Mr Jordan said one could argue some students who go to universities because of their research component could bypass teaching-only institutions.

He said research also added value to Gippsland with the potential for research in agriculture, aviation, forestry, aquaculture, mine engineering and the power station industry.

“Research development is not just universities, but also the communities of Gippsland.”

FedUni Gippsland Human Resource Management Professor Philip Taylor said the Gippsland campus was a research active campus and he had built his entire career on a research platform.

“Research and teaching go hand in hand, and good researchers make better teachers,” Professor Taylor said.

“FedUni is generally of the opinion that we are will be a research university going forward, we’re not Monash, and things will change, but there is a strong commitment to research and the vice chancellor has come out in support of that.”

Deputy Vice Chancellor and Research and Innovation Professor Frank Stagnitti said FedUni had recently established the Coal and Carbon Translation Research Centre, which would directly contribute to better utilisation of the vast brown coal reserves in the Latrobe Valley.

“We also are conducting world leading research in the genetic markers for cardiovascular disease and cancer research, as well as hosting one of only four International Olympic Committee’s Centres of excellence in sport injury prevention,” Professor Stagnitti said.