Following the release of the Federal Government’s 2012-13 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas has announced that USQ is still well positioned to continue to provide world-class research into the future.
Professor Thomas said while details and the impact of the MYEFO to USQ are still to be formally advised the MYEFO savings will not have a major negative effect on regional universities.
“The major impacts on higher education were the slowing of the rate of growth on Sustainable Research Excellence, and the removal of the facilitation funding from 2014 for signing up to compacts,” Professor Thomas said.
“Student scholarships weren’t affected apart from a freeze on the student start-up scholarship to 2012 levels until 2017.
“On a positive note funding indexation to universities will remain untouched and current research rounds including ARC funding and Medical Research Council applications will be preserved.”
However, the Government has said that indirect research infrastructure costs normally available through the Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) funds will be reduced by upwards of $500million with contribution costs from the government remaining at or below 30 cents per research grant dollar for the indefinite future.
“While this will impact more on the larger metropolitan based universities and Group of Eight universities for USQ this means that we will need to compete more for a slice of an ever diminishing research funding pie.
“This year USQ received more than $560,000 in research infrastructure support from the federal government.
“The message though is clear. Over the coming decade, universities such as USQ will need to continue to diversify significantly the sources of their research income to more substantially include industry and international sources. It is also clear that we must look at what research we can do best and develop niche areas of strength that will allow us to capture what available research dollars there are.”
Among the MYEFO also announced, is that income supported places for coursework masters will be retained but only where such qualifications are required for professional accreditation with any extension to all masters by coursework deferred from 2014 until 2017. There has also been some tweaking to the repayment charges students will pay via HECS and student start-up scholarship frozen at $2050 rather than indexed to 2017.
In summary, savings announced to be made from higher education are:
• Changes to the payment formula for Sustainable Research Excellence ($498.8 m)
• Facilitation performance funding from 2014 will be deferred ($270.1m)
• Changes to support for masters degrees ($167.0m)
• Student start-up scholarships to be frozen rather than indexed to 2017 ($82.3m)
• Not proceeding with funding for university research infrastructure (NCRIS) past 2013.
Jim Campbell, USQ Media, +617 4631 2977, firstname.lastname@example.org
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