University of Canberra/Submission to research strategy

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This is a draft submission to the University of Canberra, review of its research strategy. It is originally based on a draft submission by the Faculty of Health, now copied to Wikiversity for engagement with Wikiversity users. Text here does not make up an official research strategy for the University of Canberra Faculty of Health.

Response to Terms of Reference[edit]

Reframe goals[edit]

Reframe the goal for research at UC in light of recent government policy developments and internal UC changes

The Faculty of Health research strategy promotes research and scholarship, which are defined in the following way:

  • Research is broadly defined “as the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings”2.
  • Scholarship is wider than research and denotes the maintenance of currency in discipline-based knowledge in order to underpin teaching and provide a challenging, relevant and up-to-date curriculum, and also includes activities undertaken with employers, professional bodies and external stakeholders that may strengthen student learning, generate additional sources of income or forge collaborative partnerships. Scholarship may be undertaken at many different levels and may include a wide range of activities.

Goals[edit]

  • Focus on translational research in our forward planning an example of which is the creation and operation of the Centre for Research and Action in Public Health (CeRAPH) in the faculty of Health.
  • Look to the National Health Policy Reform Agenda and evaluate potential opportunities for growth in the targeted areas of psychology, nursing and allied health policy specifically potential opportunities in primary care, chronic disease, health promotion and the push towards interdisciplinary models of care.
  • Be responsive to the Health Policy Reform Agenda.
  • Mental Health Research is an area of increased policy attention, relevant to bringing together our existing strengths in psychology, nursing and dementia research.
  • Strengthen collaborations with other highly regarded external research centers.
  • Grow and diversify our income from research, consultancy and Third Stream activities.
  • Grow HDR enrolments and completions.
  • Grow publications in ranked journals.
  • Grow open access publishing by Commons copyright licensing, using open standard formats, and disseminating through appropriate popular media channels (Ref: Leigh Blackall, Using the Popular Internet in Teaching and Research, and James Neill, Open Academia)

Research culture[edit]

Consider the alternatives and clearly articulate the research culture that the university strives for (eg open, networked, entrepreneurial, collaborative, professional, interdisciplinary, high quality, applied to real world problems, industry focused…etc)

  • To undertake high quality, Internationally relevant, regionally focussed, professionally aligned, collaborative interdisciplinary research.
  • To make research accessible, useful and reusable by publishing on appropriate popular channels, in open standard formats, and with Commons copyright licensing.
  • To practice open and networked scholarship and academia

Signature research themes[edit]

Identify the signature research themes that the university will focus on over the next 5 years. These should align with the national research agenda and be determined through an analysis of our current strengths, our location in Canberra, new opportunities in areas of local and national need.

The size of the University of Canberra confers a degree of agility in responding to the multiple external drivers to research directions within the current university research environment. Specifically the Faculty of Health focuses research within the National Research Priorities (with an emphasis on multi-disciplinarity and cross-faculty collaboration (ie CeRAPH and NISS link across Business and Government, Education, Science, NATSEM):

Priority 2, Promoting and Maintaining Good Health:

  • Ageing well, ageing productively
  • Preventive healthcare
  • Strengthening Australia’s social and economic fabric
The sub-themes, aligned to FoR codes, within the Faculty of Health are in the areas of:
  • Human Movement and Sports Science
  • Psychology
  • Public Health and Health Services

To maximise our current research strengths in selected areas, we need to:

  • seek opportunities and progression routes for post-doctoral work in the themed areas of research identified.
  • identify which groups and individuals are succeeding in terms of sustainable research excellence in order to focus our support on areas of existing and emerging research strength with the aim to create critical mass.
  • engage with CeRAPH in developing inter-faculty and inter-school research collaborations and external stakeholders in the health economy.
  • strategically develop regional, national and international research collaborations.
  • increase significantly the number of PG research students (full-time and part-time).
  • develop research programs within the University that are inter-disciplinary and inter-professional.
  • Reward open academic practices that build the research profile of the individual and the University, and open possibilities for new research connections
  • Popularise research outputs and scholarly activity through the use of popular internet channels.

Infrastructure[edit]

Determine the common infrastructure that the university should invest in to underpin development of research (eg online access to the research literature, IT systems, building infrastructure).

To develop effective research infrastructures and systems to support research activity, and to grow income from such activities: we will:

  • Support from the Research Office needs to be strengthened above a contracts support role to substantively support research education.
  • Creation of dedicated Research Planning Liaison Staff (similar to the dedicated Academic Planning Librarian model) to provide a dedicated contact person for Faculties in the RSO
  • Generate research, consultancy and Third Stream income in line with other Universities and benchmarked Centres at UC.
  • Promote a culture of engagement within the Faculties through appropriate training and provision of exemplars from a range of research and scholarship activities.
  • Provide a centrally-funded and carefully targeted Research Development Fund to help support staff.
  • A coordinated Professoriate Group taking a leadership role in research development and mentoring.

Postgraduate research education[edit]

Suggest a framework for the support of postgraduate research education in the context of the research goal, mission and culture of the university.

To ensure that we develop a research-led curriculum and that our teaching methods are informed and enriched by scholarship and research. We need to:

  • Development of a strategic management plan for the progression of research education through the UG, Honours, Masters and PHD pathway
  • Promote the ethos that teaching should be informed by scholarship and research.
  • Ensure that all academic staff take appropriate responsibility for the currency of their scholarship and research knowledge to provide excellence in teaching their discipline and in enterprise activity (via the appraisal system).
  • Engage in Professional activities and Third Stream activity (where applicable).
  • Guarantee staff may ”protect” time to undertake research and scholarly activity.
  • Actively recruit new staff who already have PhDs.
  • Establish mentoring systems utilizing senior faculty staff.

Investment framework[edit]

Define an investment framework to underpin the significant growth in research quantity and quality required to achieve the vision, including the internal university structures required.

To develop effective research infrastructures and systems to support research activity, and to grow income from such activities we need to:

  • Ensure that a funding pool is set aside to support Faculties that are rapidly growing their higher degree by research student numbers. The current model of funding on completions severely restricts new Faculties that have substantially increased their HDR student enrolments potentially having a negative feedback effect on the student experience.
  • Upgrade HDR student access to IT and library infrastructure to be equivalent to Academic Research Staff
  • Generate research, consultancy and Third Stream income in line with other Faculties and benchmarked Centres at UC.
  • Promote a culture of engagement within the Faculty through appropriate training and provision of exemplars from a range of research and scholarship activities.
  • Provide a centrally-funded and carefully targeted Research Development Fund to help support staff.

National and international partnerships[edit]

Identify key national and international partnerships that the university should develop to achieve its research vision.

  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  • Australian Institute of Sport
  • Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute
  • Diabetes Australia
  • headspace
  • Heart Foundation
  • National Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health
  • Shanghai University of Sport
  • Otago Polytechnic Institute of Sport and Adventure

Section B: Supporting information[edit]

Outline of current and planned research focus areas[edit]

Research in the Faculty of Health at the University of Canberra has strong interdisciplinary themes resulting in representation in a number of FoR code areas across the Medical and Health Sciences, Education, Studies in Human Society and the Psychology and Cognitive Science Fields. In the five-year period 2003-2008, Faculty of Health research activity has been concentrated in the following Fields of Research: 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science; 1701 Psychology and 1117 Public Health and Health Services. These areas have high staff profiles, strong Higher Degree Research student enrolments and completions, and the highest levels of journal and conference publications and research funding achieved by the Faculty.

There were significant structural changes in the Faculty of Health during 2003-2008. The Faculty came into being in early 2007, having been formerly part of a larger entity comprising Health, Design and Science. The Physiotherapy, Pharmacy and Clinical Psychology programs commenced part way through this period in 2005.

The Faculty of Health has embarked upon a strategic plan to increase research capacity by enhancing activity in its established disciplines of Psychology, Sports Studies, Nutrition and Dietetics, Nursing and Midwifery and developing research activity in association with its new graduate programs in Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Clinical Psychology and Nutrition and Dietetics.

The commencement of the new clinical disciplines does bring with it a degree of ‘lag time’ in research activity. Historically, clinical academics in these disciplines bring a tradition of clinical expertise and professional practice to the establishment of the new discipline; these programs demand a substantial allocation of time and resources to curriculum development early in their development with an expectation of progressively increased research output capacity as the programs mature.

It is clear from the record of publication and funding success that the Faculty has its strongest streams of research in the Psychology, Sports Studies, Nursing and Public Health areas. This is represented in the publication fields of 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science, 1701 Psychology and 1117Public Health and Health Services. The Faculty also has a vigorous inter-disciplinarity element in its research, with staff publications represented broadly across four FoR areas; 11: MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES, 13: EDUCATION, 16: STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY and 17: PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES. The quality of this research is reflected in staff achieving a substantial representation of publications in A and B level journals across this range. Consistent with the Universities theme, research undertaken in the Health disciplines has an applied focus. Translational research across the health disciplines features commonly across a broad range of Faculty of Health output fields. As well as a strong traditional depth in psychological research (FoR 1701) the Faculty enjoys strong research collaborative links with the Australian Institute of Sport and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare which is reflected in the peaks in the publication profile in the FoR areas of 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science and 1117 Public Health and Health Services.

Recent initiatives[edit]

Recent initiatives that support development of research including recent key appointments

The new Centre for Research and Action in Public Health (CeRAPH) has been established to provide a leadership role in improving the quality of health promotion and wellbeing research at a local, national and international level. One of the key strategic aims of the centre is to help develop research capacity and capability within the Faculty of Health and thus aims to:

  • Create and sustain a lively and growing research and scholarship culture across the Faculty that all academic staff engage with.
  • Increased engagement in clinical practice and clinical education research with key regional partners such as the ANU and ACT Health.
  • Increase research capacity and capability and scholarly activity across the Faculty.
  • Increase the attractiveness of the Faculty and University of Canberra to potential students, staff, employers, funding bodies, and other potential stakeholders as an institution known for its pursuit of excellence in applied, pedagogic and practice-based research.

The University of Canberra National Institute of Sport Studies (UCNISS) aims to develop and expand teaching and research activities in sport studies and to strengthen relationships with business, government, art and design – in order to promote career pathways for coaching practitioners; strengthen existing relationships with the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Institute of Sport; expand existing relationships with sporting bodies, including Capital Football, Basketball Australia/ACT, South East Regional Academy of Sport, ACT Academy of Sport, ACT Brumbies Rugby Union, Canberra Raiders Rugby League and Swimming Australia; build new partnerships with organisations such as the Australian Paralympic Committee.

UCNISS aims to develop this work in cooperation with the University College and the faculties of Applied Science, Arts and Design, Business and Government, Education, and Information Sciences and Engineering.

The Faculty of Health has spear headed several initiatives to raise awareness and professional discourse around open academic practices using popular social internet. Staff in the Faculty have been leading consultation around the review of the University's Intellectual Property Policy, conducting workshops on open academic practices, and sitting on various committees in the effort to boost support for notions of open academic practices.

Researchers in the Faculty of Health strive to achieve excellence in their chosen field of research as the Faculty undertakes a period of substantial growth and consolidation. Notably members of staff have distinguished themselves as leaders in the fields of Social Science and Psychology (Prof Gibson is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia and Dr Diana Crace received an ARC Post Doctoral Fellowship in Psychology).

Finally, the University and Faculty’s commitment to developing research capacity and the broad publication profile and number of outputs produced by the Faculty’s academic staff point to a vibrant research milieu characterised by a rapidly developing research ethos. A commitment to providing an appropriate research training environment, and support for ensuring that the Faculty contributes to innovative health research that enhances quality of life for all Australians.

Current collaboration[edit]

Description of current cross-university and external research collaborations

The relative youth of the Faculty of Health has allowed the development of research teams and collaborative groupings across Faculty disciplines, across the University’s Faculties and with other Universities and public and the private sector entities. The Faculty has developed strong research profiles including co-sponsored research doctoral programs with entities such as the Australian Institute of Sport and local government entities such as the ACT Academy of Sport. Because of its applied nature, research in the disciplines covered by the Faculty of Health is also undertaken in a number of programs outside of the Faculty of Health, including the Faculties of Business and Government, Arts and Design, and Education leading to outputs in a range of FoR areas including FoR 13 EDUCATION and FoR 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY.

Researchers at the Faculty also engage in active collaborations with researchers from other institutions, both within Australia and abroad. For example research projects during the assessment period have involved collaboration with academics from the World Health Organisation, United Kingdom, China, New Zealand and Italy.

The Snowsports injury group within UCNISS is an example of a dynamic research group linking staff in the disciplines of Sports Studies and Physiotherapy in Health with researchers in the discipline of Tourism Studies within the Faculty of Business and Government and researchers in the discipline of Industrial Design within the Faculty of Arts and Design. This group has been successful in gaining external grant funding for research programs over the last two years.

External Stakeholders[edit]

Identify key external stakeholders for your research area and why

  • Residents of the Capital Region as consumers of health care in the region
  • ACT HEALTH consumer of health promotion, chronic disease intervention and clinical education research
  • NSW Greater Southern Area Health Service consumer of health promotion, chronic disease intervention and clinical education research
  • ANU as a health services and interdisciplinary research partner
  • AIS consumer of sport and exercise science research

Proposed initiatives[edit]

What are the major hurdles to development of research and a research culture at UC? Describe initiatives that the university should embark on to overcome these hurdles and facilitate the development of research at UC (1 page)

To develop effective research infrastructures and systems to support research activity, and to grow income from such activities we need to:

  • Ensure that a funding pool is set aside to support Faculties that are rapidly growing their higher degree by research student numbers. The current model of funding on completions severely restricts new Faculties that have substantially increased their HDR student enrolments potentially having a negative feedback effect on the student experience.
  • Upgrade HDR student access to IT and library infrastructure to be equivalent to Academic Research Staff
  • Enhance integration of HDR students into the research community including physical infrastructure such as HDR lounge facilities.
  • Generate research, consultancy and Third Stream income in line with other Faculties and benchmarked Centers at UC.
  • Promote a culture of engagement within the Faculty through appropriate training and provision of exemplars from a range of research and scholarship activities.
  • Provide a centrally-funded and carefully targeted Research Development Fund to help support staff.
  • Provide incentive and reward for open and networked research, publishing and scholarship.
  • Identify which groups and individuals are succeeding in terms of sustainable research excellence in order to focus our support on areas of existing and emerging research strength with the aim to create critical mass.
  • Engage with CeRAPH and NISS in developing inter-faculty and inter-school research collaborations and external stakeholders in the health economy.
  • Strategically develop regional, national and international research collaborations.
  • Increase significantly the number of PG research students (full-time and part-time).
  • Encourage research program within the University that are inter-disciplinary and inter-professional.