Friday, October 30, 2009

Research at CQU

It’s been a big week for CQUniversity Research with more than $2.2 million dollars in new research funding awarded and the University acknowledged as among the best worldwide research institutions. A global report on research performance, collaboration and impact (by Spanish-based SCIMAGO) puts CQUniversity at 24th in Australia and 672nd in the world (or within the top 10% of universities world-wide).

CQUniversity will receive more than $1.8m in new funding for health and medical research. $896 000 from the National Health and Medical Research Council, announced today by Minister for Health & Aging Nicola Roxson, will enable researchers at the university to contribute to the Government’s health reform agenda to improve the health of all Australians. Lead researcher Professor Kerry Mummery will look at internet based programs that have the potential to reach large numbers of people to promote physical activity, and will assess program effectiveness. I’m told more than half of Australians do not get enough exercise. (I suspect I’m one of them.)

In addition, $949 000 was awarded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) for three other projects led by CQUniversity:

$479,000 for research on children’s health and mobility

$250,000 for industrial network-based control systems

$220,000 for research on internet crime and terrorism and tracing the real source of Internet attacks to enable Australian governments to identify, locate, and punish criminals

The University is also a collaborator with other universities on two projects funded by ARC Linkage grants:

$159,106 (with Deakin University) to research defences again botnets, devastating malicious software widely utilised by Internet criminals and terrorists to bring down information infrastructure. Control of such attacks is critical to the nation’s security, long-term survival and prosperity.

$235 000 (with Griffith University) for research on children’s independent mobility, physical activity levels and social interaction especially when they travel to and from school

The ranking and the funding demonstrate that CQUniversity’s applied research has a concentration of excellence in the health sciences and information technology (CQUniversity’ s other key areas are natural resources and international education).

When Senator Kim Carr -- Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research -- and I met and talked last week we discussed CQUniversity’s partnerships with other universities, including research-intensive universities, and CQUniversity’s reputation for engaging with business and industry to conduct research that has an immediate impact on our communities and others around the world.

From rail safety and load bearing, to inner-ear infections and the health of the Great Barrier Reef, to cardiac monitoring and the sweetness of locally-grown fruit, CQUniversity’s applied research is delivering benefits to people on a local (and global) scale from activities undertaken in Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Gladstone and Mackay and throughout Central Queensland.

The impact of Central Queensland-based research is significant, as well, for all of Australia. It is why, for example, we conduct research on sleep deprivation and road safety; the Fitzroy catchment (the second largest in the country); biofuel which can be extracted from plants that thrive in tropical Australia; and projects, like Professor Mummery’s, on children’s health.

Compared to universities such as Melbourne or the ANU, the size and funding of our research is relatively small. Nonetheless, CQUniversity research is recognised among the best. Leading in areas where in which we are excellent and lending our expertise to partnerships with other universities, CQUniversity will continue its contribution to Australia’s target of doubling collaboration between Australian businesses, universities and publicly funded research agencies over the next decade.

The flow of knowledge among industry, researchers, government and the community is crucial to CQUniversity’s development. Increased connectivity and collaboration with partners will boost our research intensity and give us wider access to facilities and experts across the country – and that means better service and results, for Australia and Central Queensland.


Anonymous said...

It is good to see some positive perceptions filtering through. The University has suffered from an inferiority complex for far too long. Of course there are many areas that need improvement, not least of which is the 'non-university' culture in some areas. To be a great university we need to act like a university, and that entails throwing away old command and control management practices, and focussing on a more academic, collegial approach to leading, managing, researching and teaching.

Roslyn McCarthy said...

Vice Chancellor,I heard the strong affirmation you gave to the university's enabling programs at the Rockhampton STEPS Graduation. I also listened attentively at your recent staff presentation when you mentioned the significant contribution being made by the SUN program in high schools.
That is why I am expressing my concerns that the coordinator of the LIFT/SUN programs is being recalled by ITD in January, 2010. Originally this position was difficult to fill moving from a two year academic position to a general staff position. Seconded from ITD for 12 months (one would query why the original timeframe was reduced by half) the coordinator is going to be difficult to replace. As the original funding was for two years can we expect for the next year to attract a person of equal competence as the existing coordinator.
My concern is that such a valuable enterprise as LIFT/SUN will be setback almost in its inception. In this case the analogy of the baby and the bathwater seems to fit.

Vice Chancellor - CQUniversity said...

Dear Roslyn - I will see what I can find out about this. Regards


Peter Edwards said...

ITD agreed to the original secondment request to the end of 2009, because it seemed in the best interests of the University and the staff member concerned and it did not significantly interfere with ITD work commitments and projects during that period. ITD has not rescinded that agreement. In October, were asked if we would consider an extension to the end of 2010, and we declined, because in 2010, substantial upgrades are scheduled to our PeopleSoft Student and Finance systems, and we need “all hands on deck” to successfully resource these projects. These systems underpin and support the University’s core business; there would be considerable risks if we did not upgrade them during 2010. In the current financial climate, ITD would be irresponsible if it did not avail itself of all its human resources to meet its commitments. I also understand the position has been downgraded to a HEW6, and the current “secondee” is a substantive HEW8.
Peter Edwards, IT Director