World-class research supports regions

Courses at La Trobe University's regional campuses are underpinned by innovative research that ranks at world standard or above.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Regional, Professor Richard Speed, said La Trobe has been rated among the top three universities in Victoria, and the top ten in Australia, in the latest Government Excellence in Research (ERA) for Australia survey.

'We are the largest provider of university education in regional Victoria.  These results  – which place us after Melbourne and Monash in terms of research quality – highlight the extraordinary quality of our research which backs our teaching efforts throughout the State.'

Professor Speed said the ERA survey demonstrates that 84 per cent of the La Trobe research disciplines that inform subjects taught on the Bendigo and Albury Wodonga campuses were ranked at world standard and above.

'For our Shepparton and Mildura campuses that figure was an extremely pleasing 75 per cent,' he added.

Engine room for prosperity

In the survey, La Trobe received top-ranking 'well above world standard' research excellence rank in twenty two diverse disciplines including Nursing, Medical and Health Science, Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences, Human Movement and Sports Science, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Statistics, Neurosciences, Ecology, Plant Biology, Zoology and Physiology.

A further forty disciplines were ranked at world standard or above, including History, Language, Communication and Culture, Social Work, Accounting, Finance, Education and Psychology.

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the Turnbull Government's Innovation Statement released this week was a timely reminder of the importance of the higher education sector as 'the engine room for Australia's future growth and prosperity'.

'The importance of universities is even more pronounced in regional Victoria. Examples of our world-class research range from allied health and agribusiness to physical, biological and environmental sciences,' he said.

'We recognise that innovation in regional Australia will build the workforce of the future and deliver the opportunities and new ideas that will shape our regional economies.'

Local research

Bendigo Campus: More than 40 research projects are currently being carried out on the Bendigo campus. These range from improving the effectiveness of 'diabetes alert dogs' using scent delivery technology and dietary trials for secondary prevention of heart disease to community mental health access and the development of portable bush fire shelters.

Albury-Wodonga: More than 30 research projects are currently being carried out on the Albury-Wodonga campus. These range from rural aged care, dementia and Type2 diabetes studies to a wide range of environmental, fresh water and other aquatic habitat and fish research.

Mildura Campus:  About a dozen research projects are being carried out. These involve the proposed Murray regional connection flow, conditions at the Hattah Lakes and Lindsay-Wallpolla island icon sites, preservation of the rare Hardyhead fish species and ways of integrating Western scientific methods with Aboriginal knowledge and practice.
Shepparton Campus:  Research projects here include the integration of local immigrant communities and the successful transition of students from education to employment.

Image: Aquatic research at Mildura

The Murray Darling is the longest river system on our continent, an area that serves as the food bowl of Australia.

'It's the life-blood of our society as well as the environment in which we live,' says Mildura Campus researcher and fish ecologist Iain Ellis. 'A lot of our work is on how we use the environmental water that has been purchased for these ecosystems to make sure it's not wasted and that when we do use this precious water – and it is precious – that it goes to the appropriate locations at the right time.'

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Media Contact: Ernest Raetz, 041 226 1919