University submissions 2010


Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Program - Dec 2010

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Program released a consultation paper in November which oulined a number of changes that aim to increase support for early-career researchers, reduce the overlap of fellowships within the Discovery Program and streamline the Discovery Projects scheme. Further information can be found at the ARC website. The paper, which can be found here, was released to seek feedback to the changes. Professor Jill Trewhella, DVC (Research) responded on behalf of the University. Sydney University's submission can be found here.


Productivity Commission Inquiry into Australia’s Rural Research & Development Corporations Round 2 - November 2010

On September 23 the Productivity Commission released its Draft Rural Research and Development Corporations Report in response to the submissions received after the release of the original discussion paper in March. Refer here for information about the March discussion paper and Sydney's earlier submission. The Draft Report can be found here. It is a large and detailed document which incoporates some comments and suggestions from Sydney University's submission in June. There are still areas which need addressing, such as the lack of a clear statement of what the Government's overall rural investment should be. There is also some concern about the Government's relying on international comparisons for Australian's public and private rural R & D investment. Due to the free market framework and deregulatory context in Australia, it is not helpful to make these international investment comparisons.
The Commission proposes to establish a new entity called 'Rural Research Australia'. The Commission's model however is not aligned with Sydney's preferred model which is outlined in more detail in its most recent submission. Sydney university's submission can be found here. The Commission's model however is not aligned with Sydney's preferred model which is outlined in more detail in its most recent submission. Sydney university's submission can be found here.


Compact and Performance Funding Review - November 2010

DEEWR wrote to the University in October seeking feedback on the draft Compact Template and Perfomance Funding framework. In 2009, in response to the Bradley Review, the Federal Government announced its higher education reform agenda. This reform agenda requires that a relationship be established with universities through the introduction of mission based Compacts which will show how the University's mission helps facilitate the Government's goals for higher education and research. The University sector provided feedback in 2009 and 2010 and this feedback was incorporated, with advice from Ministers, into a draft Compact Template and Performance Funding framework. The draft Compact and various supporting documents can be found at the DEEWR website. Further feedback was sought on this draft Compact and the University's response submitted on 26 November can be found here.


Student Services Inquiries - November 2010

The Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010 was introduced in the House of Representatives on 29 September 2010. The Bill, which is largely the same as one presented in the previous Parliament, proposes that a capped, compulsory student amenities fee of $250 can be charged by a higher education provider, who must in turn comply with the provisions of the Higher Education Support Act. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment was asked to inquire into the Bill and report back to the House on 14 November. Written submissions were invited on 28 October and the University’s submission can be found here.
The Senate’s new Select Committee on the Scrutiny of New Taxes, which has been established to look at any new taxes proposed for Australia (eg Mining Resources Rent Tax, Carbon price etc), has also been asked to inquire and report on the legislation. While it is considered unlikely that the proposed student services fee can be characterised as tax, the Committee apparently considers it appropriate for it to examine the legislation also, given that its terms of reference give it scope to inquire into “any other related matter”. The University provided the Senate Committee with a submission essentially in the same terms as that provided to the House of Representatives Inquiry. The letter to the Senate Committee can be found here.
As the University’s submission makes clear, since the introduction of VSU in 2006, the degree of direct and inkind support provided to its six student representative bodies has been substantial. The Government is trying to obtain passage of the legislation in time for the fee to be charged from 2011. However, realistically, until the make-up of the Senate changes from 1 July 2011, the Bill will again face difficulties passing through the Senate.


Base Funding Review - November 2010

In response to the Bradley Review of Higher Education, the Goverment announced in its 2009-10 Budget the intention to conduct a review of Higher Education Base Funding. On October 26 the Minister for Tertiary Education, Chris Evans, announced the panel and terms of reference for the review. The review is intended to establish principles for public investment in higher education. More information about this review can be found here. Sydney University submitted an initial response to the outlined process and terms of reference. That response can be found here.


NeCTAR Consultation - November 2010

As part of the DIISR’s Super Science Initiative, $50m will be allocated to the Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) initiative and $47m for the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Research (NeCTAR) project. The University of Melbourne is the lead agent for this latter project and an interim plan has been agreed with DIIRS and is available from the NeCTAR website.

The primary objective of NeCTAR is to enhance research collaboration and research outcomes. It aims to achieve this by providing ICT infrastructure that creates new information-centric research capabilities as well as developing existing expertise; significantly simplifying data flow from instruments to storage and computing facilities for access and analysis in a range of applications; and enabling the development of research workflows based on access to multiple resources. The Final Project Plan is to be submitted to DIISR for agreement by 31 March 2011. To that end, submissions were requested on the draft project plan by November 5. A response was coordinated through the Research Office, Research Portfolio and ICT. Sydney University’s submission can be found here.


Health Workforce Australia: Clinical Supervisor Support Program - September 2010

The 2008 National Partnership Agreement on Hospital and Health Workforce Reform included a specific element to expand capacity and competence of clinical training supervision. In July 2010, Health Workforce Australian (HWA) released a discussion paper "Clinical Supervisor Support Program"(CSSP) about the future of clinical supervision in Australia across professions and the education continuum. The paper sought feedback on ten specific policy reform proposals and related questions. Further information about this process can be found here.

Feedback from stakeholders was requested and Sydney University submitted a co-ordinated response including individual responses from all seven of its faculties and schools which provide courses leading to registration in health professions covered by the CSSP.

Together, the University of Sydney’s schools of Medicine and Nursing and our faculties of Science, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Health Sciences and Education & Social Work contribute approximately 30% of NSW’s health workforce graduates annually across most health professions.

The University as a whole strongly supports HWA’s plans to raise the quality, quantity and prominence of clinical supervision in Australia.

The University’s submission and individual faculty and school submissions raised many issues relevant to the development and implementation of the reforms proposed by HWA.

Key among these was the need to achieve recognition of supervision in the workloads of health professionals as a matter of priority.

The University’s submission included:


NSW Health Reform: Local Health Networks - September 2010

The NSW Government released its Health Reform discussion paper 'A National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia's Future' on 5 August 2010. More information about this can be found here.

The paper sought feedback from stakeholders on proposed reforms to the governance and administration of the NSW public hospital system.

These are required as a result of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health and Hospitals Network Agreement of April 2010. This agreement can be found here

The Discussion Paper proposed replacing the existing Area Health Services with 14 ‘Local Health Networks’ (LHN), each with its own Independent Governing Council and responsible for delivery of all hospital services, including teaching and research.

Maps showing the geographic coverage of the proposed LHNs are available here.

The University’s submission, prepared in consultation with all faculties and schools that have an interest in health education and research, can be found here.

The submission emphasised the importance of teaching and research to the quality and long term sustainability of health care in NSW.

It also stressed the importance of ensuring that any new governance structures for the State’s public hospitals give prominence to matters of teaching, research and knowledge transfer.

Specifically, it recommended that the Governing Council of each LHN include at least one member who has a sound understanding of clinical/academic issues.


Research Workforce Australia - August 2010

In May 2009, the Australian Government outlined its intention to develop a research workforce strategy in its "Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century" innovation policy agenda. Background information about this agenda can be found here.

In that statement the Government highlighted the need for a strategic and visionary approach to the skilling of human capital for future research needs.

Its consultation paper Meeting Australia's research workforce needs was released to inform the development of the Australian Government's research workforce strategy.

Feedback submissions were called for and the University's response can be found here.


On 12 July the AQF Council released a consultation paper, Strengthening the AQF: A Framework for Australia's Qualifications, which set out in full its proposals for reform of the current framework.

The proposed new framework comprises the following:

  • A draft structure of 10 learning outcomes-based qualification levels
  • Draft qualification type descriptors for existing qualification types
  • Draft specifications for all AQF qualification types
  • Draft revised specifications for developing and accrediting qualifications
  • A new draft policy on generic skills
  • A revised policy for the issuance of qualifications
  • A revised policy on qualifications pathways, linkages and credit transfer
  • A revised policy for the register of AQF qualifications
  • A new draft policy for the addition or removal of qualification types, and
  • A new glossary of terminology

The consultation paper and further information about the Strengthening the AQF project is available through the AQF website.

The University of Sydney’s submission is available here. Its previous submission on an earlier draft of the Issuance Policy is available here.

While the University is broadly supportive of the direction of the reforms proposed by the AQF Council, concerns are held about aspects of the Council’s proposals including: the mandatory awarding of credit between different levels of study; the requirements and descriptors proposed for honours degrees and Graduate Diplomas; the failure of the proposed framework to include certain qualifications that are currently offered by many Australian universities, including Sydney, such as the Juris Doctor; and the proposed restrictions on qualification titles, abbreviations and postnominals.


National Research Infrastructure Council (NRIC) Landmark Discussion Paper - July 2010

The National Research Infrastructure Council (NRIC) was established by the Federal Government in 2009 to provide strategic advice on future research infrastructure investments, including landmark projects and to help the Government and the sector to identify gaps, avoid duplication, and ensure cohesion between national and institutional investments.

In June 2010, the NRIC released a discussion paper to seek comments on a proposed process for identifying and prioritising landmark research infrastructure projects. NRIC Discussion Paper.

Comments on the paper were welcomed and Sydney University's submission can be found here:Sydney University Submission


Australian Competitive Grants Register (ACGR) Review - July 2010

In January 2010, the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) announced that it would undertake a review of the 2010 Australian Competitive Grants Register (ACGR).

The objective of the review was to consider methods for improving and streamlining the current administrative processes of the ACGR for the sector, the Department and scheme managers. The 2010 Review Paper was released with calls for feedback by 12 July. Review Paper

The response from Sydney University can be found here: Sydney Submission.


NSW Government Tertiary Education Plan - July 2010

In June, the NSW Government released its Tertiary Education Plan Discussion Paper. The paper sets out the NSW Government's broad strategic priorities as the basis for setting out a NSW Tertiary Education Plan. This paper was released in conjunction with the Knowledge Statement to call for feedback from targeted stakeholders in the education sector.

The University of Sydney submission can be found here: Sydney Submission.

In August the State Government released its final Tertiary Education Plan and Knowledge Statement after a period of consultation. The Plan and Statement can be found here.


Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) – Consultation Paper on Options for Threshold 2 Funding - June 2010

In May 2009 the Australian Government committed $510 million over 2009-10 to 2012-13 through the Sustainable Research Excellence in Universities (SRE) initiative to address the gap in funding for the indirect costs of university research. This initiative was a response to key findings of the Cutler Review of the National Innovation System.

Background information about the SRE is available through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) website.

The University provided input on the development of the SRE framework in August 2009. Sustainable Research Excellence Initiative Aug 2009

In May 2010 DIISR released a Consultation Paper seeking feedback on options for the SRE funding framework in 2011 and 2012.

The University’s submission on the Consultation Paper is available here: Response to the SRE Threshold 2 Consultation Paper. Sydney University Submission


Productivity Commission Inquiry into Australia’s Rural Research & Development Corporations - June 2010

In March 2010 the Productivity Commission released a discussion paper as part of an Inquiry into the Australian Government’s Rural Research and Development Corporation Model.

The Inquiry was established in February 2010 at the request of the Assistant Treasurer, Nick Sherry, for report within 12 months.

Rural Research and Development Corporations are important funders of a wide variety of research at the University of Sydney. Between 2004 and 2009 researchers across eight of the University’s faculties received some 350 grants from ten RDCs. During this period Chief Investigators holding RDC grants published in excess of 2000 papers and filed patent applications for 20 inventions.

The Inquiry is wide-ranging, but is principally concerned with examining the public policy rationale for Commonwealth investment in rural R&D, and how to improve effectiveness of the current RDC model. Full details about the Inquiry are available at: Productivity Commission Inquiry into Australia’s Rural Research & Development Corporations

The University’s of Sydney’s submission is available at: Sydney University RDC Submission


Research Data Storage Infrastructure - Super Science Initiative - May 2010

In May 2009, the Australian Government announced funding of $97 million as part of its Super Science Initiative, to expand the electronic collaboration services and data fabric initiatives already underway in the Australian Research Collaboration Service (ARCS). A discussion paper was released with a call for feedback from relevant parties. The discussion paper can be found here: Super Science – Research Data Storage Infrastructure Implementation Discussion Paper.

The University’s submission regarding the Research Data Storage infrastructure can be found here: Research Data Storage Infrastructure.


Structural Adjustment Fund - May 2010

In its May 2009 budget response to the Bradley Review of Higher Education, the Australian Government announced that it would provide $400 million over four years to assist universities to adjust to a student demand driven funding system.

A draft legislative instrument, Other Grants Guidelines (Education) 2008, and draft program guidelines were released in April for comment by key stakeholders.

The University of Sydney provided comments in April. Its response can be found here: Structural Adjustment Fund USyd comment.

It is expected that a competitive funding round will open sometime after July 2010.


Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Issuance Policy - April 2010

On 22 March 2010 the Australian Qualifications Framework Council wrote to higher education providers seeking comments on a second draft of a proposed new AQF Qualification Issuance Policy.

The proposed new policy seeks to achieve clarity and consistency nationally across the various education and training sectors regarding the content and form of award documentation, the processes for issuing qualification documents to students and the use of qualification titles. The reforms aim to protect Australian qualifications and ensure that they are recognised in Australia and internationally.

The University of Sydney’s response to the second draft can be found here: AQF Qualification Issuance Policy University of Sydney submission.

The response refers to submissions made by the Group of Eight universities on both the first and second drafts of the Issuance Policy. The Go8’s September 2009 comments on the first draft can be obtained here. At the time of posting the Go8’s comments on the second draft had not been made available, but may become available through the publications section of its website in due course.


National Resources Sector Taskforce - April 2010

On 1 March 2010 the DEEWR National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce released a discussion paper called Resourcing the Future.

The Taskforce’s major responsibilities are to:

  • examine the scope and timing of major resources projects;
  • analyse the expected demand for labour and consider supply issues; and
  • develop a plan to address labour and skills shortage issues in the sector.


While the University of Sydney did not make a submission, given the direct relevance of this review to the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, its Dean, Professor Archie Johnson provided a submission on behalf of the Faculty.

The Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology’s submission can be found here: Sydney University National Resources Sector Taskforce submission.


Collaborative Research Networks Discussion Paper - March 2010

On 22 February 2010 the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research released a discussion paper as part of its process for developing a new program to be known as the Collaborative Research Networks Program. The aim of the program is to build research capacity in less research-intensive, smaller and regional universities through enhancing linkages between these institutions and universities such as the University of Sydney. The discussion paper and more information about the program can be found at: http://www.innovation.gov.au/Research/CollaborativeResearchNetworks/Pages/default.aspx

The University of Sydney's submission in response to the discussion paper can be found here: Sydney Collaborative Research Networks submission

On 3 June the Government released further information on the Collaborative Research Networks Draft Guidelines.

The University of Sydney's feedback to the draft guidelines can be found here: Sydney University comments on draft guidelines.


On 15 February 2010 the Department of Immigration and Citizenship released a discussion paper as part of the Australian Government's review of the points test used as part of the General Skilled Migration Program. The discussion paper and more information about the review can be found at: http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/general-skilled-migration/whats-new.htm

The University of Sydney's submission in response to the discussion paper can be found here: Sydney General Skilled Migration Points Test submission


Review of Regional Loading - Issues for Regional Provision - Feb 2010

On 24 December 2009 the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) released an issues paper as part of the Australian Government's Review of Regional Loading. The issues paper was designed to encourage discussion among stakeholders about the best way to target funding for flexible and sustainable regional higher education provision.

The issues paper and more information about the review can be found at: http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Pages/ReviewOfRegionalLoading.aspx

The University of Sydney's submission in response to the issues paper can be found here: Sydney Regional Loading Submission


Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Consultations - Feb 2010

On 11 January the CEO of the Australian Research Council (ARC) released a discussion paper outlining proposed changes to the administration of the ARC Linkage Projects scheme and the Australian Postgraduate Awards (Industry) scholarship program.

The discussion paper and more information about the consultation can be found at: http://www.arc.gov.au/ncgp/lp/lp_consultation.htm

The University of Sydney's comments on the discussion paper can be found here: Sydney ARC Linkage submission


Consultation on Measuring the Socio-economic Status of Higher Education Students - Feb 2010

As part of its higher education reform package, the Australian Government has announced its intention of improving the participation of students from low socio-economic status backgrounds in higher education.

In December 2009 the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) released a discussion paper on the measurement of socio-economic status to provide a starting point for a discussion of how to measure and define low socio-economic status.

Comments were invited by 5 February 2010.

The discussion paper and more information about the consultation can be found at: http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Pages/MeasuringSESStatusofStudents.aspx

The University of Sydney's comments on the discussion paper can be found here: Measuring the SES status of students - Sydney response


Consultation on an Indicator Framework for Higher Education Performance Funding - Feb 2010

As part of the 2009-2010 Budget and its higher education reform package, the Australian Government announced that it will make performance funding available to universities to assist them in achieving targets in teaching and learning, the student experience, participation and attainment.

In late 2009 the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) released a discussion paper on the framework of indicators that could be used to negotiate targets with universities for the purposes of performance funding.

Comments were invited by 5 February 2010.

The discussion paper can be found on the DEEWR website: http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Pages/IndicatorFramework.aspx

The University of Sydney's response to the discussion paper can be found here: Sydney on Performance Funding Framework


House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Innovation Inquiry into Australia's International Research Collaboration - Jan 2010

On 25 November 2009 the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator the Hon Kim Carr, asked the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Innovation to undertake an inquiry into Australia's international research collaboration.

The Committee invited interested persons and organisations to make submissions by Friday, 29 January 2010.

Terms of reference and other details of the Inquiry can be found here: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/isi/intresearch/

The University of Sydney's submission to the Inquiry can be found here:
International Research Collaboration Inquiry Sydney Submission

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor John Hearn gave evidence before the committee on 8 April 2010 alongside colleagues from other NSW universities.

The transcript of that hearing is available here: parliamentary transcript.

Following the hearing, Professor Hearn collaborated with his colleagues to provide a supplementary submission addressing some of the key issues discussed with the committee.

The follow-up submission is available here: Joint supplementary submission.

On 22 June the Chair of the Review, Maria Vamvakinou tabled the Committee’s Final Report in Federal Parliament. The Report, which is available here, made 18 recommendations, some of which seek to address issues raised by the University of Sydney


Consultation on guidelines for the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) - Jan 2010

In December 2009 the Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, released draft guidelines on the new Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), designed to boost participation in higher education for students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Submissions were invited by 22 January 2010.

More information on the HEPPP program, along with the draft guidelines, can be found at: http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Programs/Equity/Pages/HEPPPGuidelines.aspx

The University's submission in response to the consultation is available here: HEPPP Guidelines - Consultation 2009 Sydney comments