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Three people looking at crops
USQ Centre for Crop Health’s Professor Mark Sutherland, Professor Stephen Neate and Dr Cassy Percy inspecting head types of wheat plants in the University’s Controlled Environment Room.
The University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) future as a research hot spot was confirmed today with the release of information from the Australian government’s Excellence in Research (ERA) data collection.

The results that tracked the University’s research performances across a wide range of activities profiled USQ as one of Australia’s leading regional research universities.

The results released by the Australian Research Council (ARC), which administers the ERA program, showed that USQ was achieving world-class ratings in a range of specific research disciplines.

USQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Jan Thomas said that a university’s performance was measured not just by the quality of its teaching and the type of programmes it offered but also by its research performance.

“One way of describing how well we are doing in research is through ERA which is a national assessment system that evaluates the quality of research outcomes conducted at Australian universities,” Professor Thomas said.

“To get a score of three or better on a five point scale is considered world-class and demonstrates the quality of our research.

“Three of our disciplines rated well above world standard with a perfect score of five in the areas of Environmental Science and Management, Materials Engineering and Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“USQ also ranked above world standard, or world standard, in another seven fields including Mathematics, Astrophysics, Environmental Sciences, Agriculture, Mechanical Engineering, Health Sciences and History and Archaeology.

“More importantly as a regional university and competing against some of the more traditional metropolitan universities with big budget research centres the ERA rankings for USQ are remarkable.

“It shows the work USQ is doing at the regional level by engaging with communities to find solutions to some of the toughest challenges facing Australia is setting new benchmarks and standards of practice.

“It proves that from small things big things grow and the decision USQ made a few years ago to concentrate on its specific research strengths in agriculture, environmental sciences, engineering and health is paying dividends.

“Today, ERA has shown us just that.”

USQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Mark Harvey said the University’s focus on developing collaborative partnerships with industry was a key driver of USQ’s research agenda.

“We are delighted to have achieved a balance between working with leading global organisations and achieving world-class ratings in our publications,” Professor Harvey said.

Peter Wanckel, Managing Director at John Deere Limited – Australia, said the partnership with USQ was founded on a mutual commitment to cultivating innovation and research excellence.

“We are pleased to see that USQ’s commitment to quality research in agricultural research and engineering has been recognised as above world-class in the 2015 ERA rankings,” he said.

“Agricultural research is a major priority for USQ, helping farmers around the world to increase their productivity and profitability, save precious resources, eradicate disease and develop new products and markets from their produce.”

Professor Harvey said that one such example was the national and international interest USQ is gaining through the work of Professor Lindsay Brown who is using agricultural foods and products to help lower cholesterol levels and increase the health benefits for patients across the globe.

For more information about research at USQ, visit www.usq.edu.au/research.