Research outcomes trump publication

Changes to university research funding would lead to higher quality research projects tailored to community needs, according to Federation University.

Under the Federal Government proposal, the use of research publications would be scrapped as criteria for project funding, in what Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Frank Stagnitti described as a “welcomed change”.

Currently research publications, including journals, determine how 10 per cent of the $678 million funding for PhD research is allocated.

Dr Stagnitti said removing such criteria would only help the university research sector.

“(The discussed changes) place less emphasis on publication and more focus on outcomes, which fits the goals of our university,” Dr Stagnitti said.

“The core suggestion of removing publications as (funding) criteria is most certainly welcomed.

“I don’t think there will be any inverse impact as only a small amount of funding is allocated from publications.”

Under the changes, when allocating funding the government would place emphasis on research results and community benefit in an attempt to encourage commercialisation of the projects.

This would remove low quality research from publication, according to Dr Stagnitti.

“This is a positive impact and may actually improve our funding position,” he said.

“We at FedUni strive to make research relevant to the community we serve and inspire to create world class research in everything we do.

“This discussion is long overdue and I welcome the government in addressing the problem.”

In a speech at the Higher Education Round Table Awards Dinner on Tuesday, Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham said the review into research funding would “help us to identify ways in which we can increase the impact of our research effort, while protecting its quality and scale”.