The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research is considering whether to introduce minimum requirements for resources when allocating research training funds to universities.
This is one of the issues raised in a consultation paper published on 14 November.
The consultation paper is the initial phase in the government’s review of the Research Training Scheme, which allocates funding to universities for postgraduate research training.
It calls for views on what quality in research training means and how it can be measured.
“Whilst most universities strive to provide adequate facilities for their research students, evidence suggests that this can be inconsistent both between universities and between different faculties within a university,” the consultation states. DISSR therefore wants to know if minimum requirements should be set to ensure students get the best deal.
A second consultation paper, to be published in 2012, will focus on the technical aspects of RTS, including how an institution’s performance in the Excellence in Research for Australia assessment could inform its funding allocations.
The consultation seeks responses to 11 questions, covering issues such as how to assess the quality of research environments outside ERA, whether more support is needed for multidisciplinary research training and if courses should include wider skills training.
Once the consultation process is complete, the government expects to implement modifications to RTS starting in 2013.
The consultation process is being overseen by the government’s Research Workforce Strategic Advisory Group, set up on the recommendation of a report published in 2009 called “Powering Ideas”.