OPINION

Why university research matters

Australian universities are mostly located in cities.

However, the level of of regional connection, involvement and impact we have are often overlooked.

In particular, Curtin University directly delivers teaching and learning in three main ways.

We have campus experiences in regional Western Australia and in other countries.

We offer distance education, dominantly via Open Universities Australia, all across regional Australia.

Our scientists are working with communities throughout the country in areas ranging from environmental and community health, to discovering the origins of the universe.

Regional people and businesses are our points of engagement, from collaborating in projects and funding our researchers, to supplying us with the wherewithal to be successful in operating regionally.

We produce innovations and commercialise those in agriculture (crop disease control), mining (mine site rehabilitation), and environmental restoration (seed supply).

Some of the projects Curtin researchers have been involved in include the development of an innovative orthopaedic screw that could help trauma surgery patients, and designing software for farmers to help simplify grain harvesting and distribution.

What we do at universities has real-life impact.

Australian universities are world leaders in research, which is a reason for our success in attracting international students.

We increasingly undertake research that meets an external need, be it a problem that needs solving, an opportunity that needs exploring, or an improvement to how things currently operate.

The threat that COVID-19 poses to our nation's research is significant and continued funding is essential to ensure universities can continue to develop and deliver innovations for the benefit of all Australians.

We are at the forefront of innovation - whether it's the search for a COVID-19 vaccine, projects to develop smarter energy sources and storage, or the joining together of industry and higher education to harness our remote technology capabilities in space.

Research creates the evidence base for policy makers, it drives debate and fosters progress.

Now more than ever we need to invest in curiosity, in collaboration, and in commercialisation, to nurture our research universities as places where the best minds in the world want to work, educate, think, create, develop solutions and deliver them.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Chris Moran, Curtin University

This story Why university research matters to regions first appeared on The Canberra Times.