Collaborative Research Network (CRN)

About CRN

Why the CRN?

As part of the UB Blueprint it was agreed that a realignment of the University's research strategy was needed to ensure that maximum outcomes are achieved from the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) and the University is able to meet the requirements of the National Protocols and of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

Research funding is now much more targeted and contestable and this requires the University to collaborate and to develop partnerships, especially with research intensive universities and with key regional stakeholders.

Indeed, now that there is a new political dimension associated with being a regional tertiary education institution, it is important for the University to position itself appropriately and strategically to take advantage of opportunities. Being regional sets a framework for the University's priorities, but does not constrain us from pursuing wider agendas, nationally and internationally.

What is the CRN?

The Research Minister, The Hon Senator Carr, in his official announcement of the CRN funding, highlighted the importance of collaboration and the benefits that would be achieved by linking experts from across Australia. "Collaboration is crucial to successful research. It draws together experts from a variety of institutions and it gives Australia more bang for its research buck," he said.

 The CRN initiative, a partnership lead by Federation University Australia with Deakin University, Monash University and The University of Melbourne, is a three-year $16M project with $6M from the Australian Government.

FedUni's CRN Self sustaining Regions Research and Innovation Initiative will focus on the significant challenges that face regional areas and explore ways of strengthening regional well-being, health and social connectedness, and driving regional rejuvenation.

The CRN contains three elements of research: Regional Science and Technological Innovation (through information analysis and optimisation of systems and technology); Regional Social and Educational Connectedness and Health Innovation; and Regional Landscape Change.

The funding supports Postdoctoral Research Fellows primarily be located at FedUni and others primarily located in partner institutions. Over a three-year period, the CRN will also support up to 30 Higher Degree by Research students. It is expected that both Postdoctoral Research Fellows and students will use facilities across the CRN network as part of their research.

All will be jointly supervised. This project will significantly contribute to a step-change in quality research at FedUni.

Why our CRN?

The Self-sustaining Regions Research and Innovation Initiative

Regional areas in Australia face significant challenges. Changes in the environmental and economic structures of regions have transformed agriculture, undermined manufacturing and altered the social fabric of regional communities. Such changes have direct socio-economic consequences resulting in poor health outcomes; demographic change associated with selective outward migration of the young, skilled and educated; and increasing social disconnectedness. The net effect is a reduced state of social, economic and environmental "well-being" that undermines the resilience and sustainability of regional communities.

The impact of such forces on regional landscapes, regional industries and economies, and regional community well-being requires holistic, collaborative research that investigates:

  • the optimisation of systems and processes to revitalise regional industry, manufacturing, health systems and related service delivery;
  • the influence of environmental change on regional landscape use and enterprise; and
  • the causes and consequences of social and educational disconnectedness and poor health in regional communities.

FedUni in partnership with Monash University (MU), The University of Melbourne (UoM), Deakin University (DU), will build an alliance of research excellence in the disciplines of regional landscape change; regional social and educational connectedness and health; and regional information use and systems optimisation. The Self-sustaining Regions Research and Innovation Initiative will explore new ways of strengthening regional "well-being" and driving regional rejuvenation.

The project comprises three major elements:

  • Regional science and technology innovation
  • Regional landscape change
  • Regional social and educational connectedness and health innovation.

These components will be integrated to focus on regional change drivers, impacts and solutions. Strategic collaborations for each element of the project will promote specialisation and develop capability in areas of current and emerging research strengths. This is in accord with FedUni's mission to produce world-class research in support of renewal and innovation in regional Australia.