This lack of a national research agenda was rectified however in 2015 when the Australian Government produced the National Research and Science Agenda. This policy echoes Universities Australia statements that universities need to encourage innovation and new ventures for economic and social benefit, produce digitally literate researchers, forge research partnerships with industry and internationally and maintain accountability to the public.
I have not yet worked at an institution with a research agenda, although I did my fieldwork placement at Queensland University of Technology’s library. I selected Charles Darwin University to review as it has a dedicated office for research and development and specialises in environmental and biological sciences and health sciences, areas which I’m interested in. The university is in the Northern Territory and states on its website it is dedicated to establishing and maintaining partnerships with industry and its international neighbours to lead research which will benefit the environment and social well-being (Mamtora, 2013). This is important as the government has stated it will prioritise research funding to universities that collaborate with industry to reverse Australia’s current bottom ranking in research and industry collaboration for OECD countries. The university therefore needs to form and maintain these partnerships to secure government funding for research. The librarians have also developed expertise to support researchers in increasing their digital and information literacy and to guide them through the research lifecycle (Mamtora, 2013). This is in line with the government’s requirements that digital and information literacy are fostered.
The university also needs to be able to prove its research is of value and this can be achieved by an independent ranking system. The Australian Research Council ranks universities against international standards on their research impact within different disciplines using a five-point scale where 5 is the highest. In 2015, Charles Darwin University achieved 4 in all the Ecological and Environmental Sciences, 3 in all the Biological Sciences and 5 in Nursing and Medical Sciences. These results indicate that it is consistently achieving a high standard in its stated areas of expertise. Partnerships in research with industry and internationally is another of its stated strengths. Its commitment to these partnerships is confirmed by it being a member of Innovative Research Universities which is a policy group fostering these partnerships.
Charles Darwin University promotes itself as a centre for research excellence in its fields and its most recent rankings from the Australian Research Council confirm this, indicating it produces world class research in all its areas of expertise. It is meeting the national research agenda is a leading player in both environmental and medical research which will prove beneficial both locally and internationally, now and in the future. It is important that it continues to collaborate with industry and internationally and produce digitally literate researchers to maintain its funding for research both form the government and the private sector.
Mamtora, J. (2013). Transforming library research services: Towards a collaborative partnership. Library Management, 34(4), 352-371. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/10.1108/01435121311328690