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Research Engagement and Impact Assessment pilot supports university-industry collaboration

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) welcomes the first national assessment of research engagement and impact pilot, conducted by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

ATN Executive Director Renee Hindmarsh says the impact and engagement assessment framework will provide a more complete picture of the research landscape in Australia and enacts one of the key recommendations from the ATN’s Innovate and Prosper report.

“The assessment will be an important step to further incentivise greater collaboration between researchers, industries and other end-users of research, which was a key focus in the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA),” Ms Hindmarsh says.

“A core part of our mission has been supporting partnerships with industry and end-users via our real world, applied research focus. This has come from our history of working with industry, which is supported by the fact that nearly two thirds of ATN research income has come from industry and end users since 2010.

“Pure, basic research is still a vital part of the research ecosystem, however this pilot is a great step towards reflecting the tremendous value of applied research in our system as well,” Ms Hindmarsh says.

The impact and engagement assessment will also promote high quality research that drives innovation and economic prosperity.

“As a network of universities who have long been champions in building partnerships and engaging with business, we are pleased to see more world-class research deliver practical benefits, drive economic development, social change and environmental sustainability.

“The ATN is supportive of a mixed-methods approach to measure engagement and assess impact by combing quantitative indicators with impact studies. However, we encourage the pilot exercise to be used to determine the right balance between metrics and peer review elements which consider the direct and indirect benefits of research,” Ms Hindmarsh says.

The pilot assessment will run as a companion to Australia’s national evaluation of university research quality, Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), with the pilot to be undertaken in 2017, and the first full exercise in 2018.

A selection of 10 broad discipline groups across STEM and HASS fields will be tested including chemical sciences, medical and health sciences, history and archaeology, and philosophy and religious studies, environmental sciences, agricultural and veterinary sciences, engineering, education, studies in creative arts and writing, and language communication and culture.