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Curtin University
Vice-Chancellor
Note to staff

June 30, 2008

 
 

Research Performance Indicators 2007

The 2008 Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) has recently been released. I am pleased to advise of the following outcomes.

Research Income for 2007 Curtin’s Research Income Return under the 2008 HERDC is $58,062,265. This is a significant achievement and represents an increase of 21.7% for 2007 compared to 2006 research income. Below is a breakdown of research income by HERDC category for 2006 and 2007.

 
 
Australian Competitive Grants
Other Public Sector Funding
Industry and Other Funding
Cooperative Research Centres
Total
2006
11,877,030
13,795,056
14,929,426
7,108,839
47,710,351
2007
12,968,390
24,074,342
13,328,109
7,691,265
58,062,265
 

Research Publications for 2007

Curtin’s Publication Return under the 2008 HERDC increased 15.2% in 2007, compared to 2006 publications. Below is a list of publications by category. Again, this is a significant increase.

 
 
Books
Book
Chapters
Journal Articles
Conference papers
Total
(unweighted)
Total
(weighted
1)
2006
13.62
73.93
498.10
440.83
1,026.5
1,081.0
2007
19.20
124.42
567.53
457.78
1,168.9
1,245.7

1. Weighted publications are calculated by multiplying points for Books by five. 

Update on major Government research initiatives

Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

On 4 June, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr released a Consultation Paper for the ERA. The intention of the ERA is to assess the quality of research undertaken in Australian universities. 

Research will be assessed within eight discipline clusters:

  • Physical, chemical and earth sciences (PCE);
  • Humanities and creative arts (HCA);
  • Engineering and environmental sciences (EE);
  • Social, behavioural and economic sciences (SBE);
  • Mathematics, information and communication sciences (MIC);
  • Biological sciences and biotechnology (BSB);
  • Biomedical and clinical research (BCR);
  • Public and allied health and health services (PAHHS). 

Evaluations will commence with the PCE cluster, followed by the HCA Cluster.  

At this stage, the ERA will not determine the distribution of Research Block Grants – which will continue to be distributed according to the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC).

The Consultation Paper outlines a framework for the use of indicators and expert review by committees. The three broad categories of indicators are:

  • Measures of research activity and intensity – including research income (all categories), HDR load and completions (by type), staff FTE; other discipline-specific measures as identified.
  • Indicators of research quality – publication analysis (ranked outlets, citation analysis and percentile analysis where relevant), and research income (Australian Competitive Grant category only). Where indicators are contraindicative then peer review of a sample of outputs may be used;
  • Indicators of excellent applied research and translation of research outcomes – advice to be sought from each cluster on which indicators are best. However, currently suggesting research income awarded in collaboration with end users, commercialisation revenue, exhibitions/performances, publications in practitioner outlets, patents and other intellectual property rights.

The Office of R&D prepared a submission for Curtin which was due on 30 June. In addition, the DVC R&D is working with the ATN to ensure that key messages are reinforced.

The Australian Research Council (ARC), which is managing the ERA initiative has also called for feedback on the draft journal rankings. In late 2007 the four Learned Academies and several discipline peak bodies undertook a journal ranking exercise. The ARC has released the list of 19,500 peer-reviewed journals with their quality ranking and Field of Research assignment, and called for feedback from the sector. 

Deans of Research are identifying Champions in each of the discipline areas to coordinate feedback. The Office of Research & Development will consolidate the discipline feedback into a submission by Curtin by 24 July 2008. 

Future Fellowships

On 23 May, the ARC released a Consultation Paper on the Future Fellowship scheme. Provisions were made in the Federal Budget for the scheme which is targeting 1,000 mid-career (defined as 5 – 15 years post PhD) researchers. 

The Future Fellowships scheme will be administered by the ARC under the Discovery Program, although it will be open to applications in areas that traditionally sit under the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) aegis. Deans of Research are coordinating feedback from their Faculties and the Office of Research & Development will consolidate the feedback into a submission by Curtin by 27 June 2008.