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Victoria aims to be in research top 20 by 2020

Victoria University has set ambitious targets for research performance in its strategic plan, released on 21 November.

The targets include becoming a top 20 university for research in Australia by the year 2020 and becoming world-renowned in sport and at least three other areas by 2020.

The strategy is underpinned by the principle of rebuilding student demand based on the university’s quality. Next year Australia introduces a demand-driven university funding system and VU does not want to leave itself vulnerable to the expansion of older, more prestigious institutions such as Melbourne and Monash.

“We want to make a plan that makes us less dependent on their decisions and more dependent on the quality of our own provision,” said vice-chancellor Peter Dawkins.

Although Dawkins reportedly believes ERA 2010 understated VU’s research performance, he has plans to increase the number of disciplines rated world standard or above from 5 to 15. The university has an interim target of 10 by 2016.

The strategic plan sets out several broad areas of research focus for VU, including health, education, lifelong learning and workforce development, environmental sustainability and cultural diversity.