Strengthening Australia’s research training system

On Wednesday 20 May, The Hon Christopher Pyne MP Minister for Education and Training announced that the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) has been commissioned to undertake a review of Australia’s research training system, to ensure that it meets the country’s research needs in the 21st-century. The review will form the final project in a four-year research program titled Securing Australia’s Future, launched by the Chief Scientist in 2012.

The review is intended to explore issues such as new research training models, the structure of PhD programs, industry engagement and alternative entry pathways into a PhD.

The Minister intends that the review will help ensure that the Australian system is “truly world class and capable of underpinning our capacity for learned inquiry, innovation and productivity.” The review will also examine ways to help boost the commercial returns from research, by ensuring that researchers are better equipped to work with industry and bring their ideas to market. The final report on the review will be provided to the Minister in March 2016.

ACOLA is now studying the terms of reference and the organisation intends to engage with higher education and research institutions, peak bodies, industry, and government agencies to identify opportunities to improve research training in Australia. Formal processes for engagement will be developed in the near future. Organisations that wish to record their interest in participating are free to e-mail with a brief expression of interest.

We look forward to working with you in this exciting undertaking.

Dr Alan Finkel AO
President, ACOLA