Comments sought on $52m research collaboration program

22 February, 2010

The Rudd Labor Government has released a discussion paper on the Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) program – the first of its kind in Australia – which will provide $52 million, from 2011, to promote mutually beneficial collaboration between universities.

"CRN is a key part of the Australian Government's broader suite of reforms to university research to encourage a greater focus on excellence, sustainability and collaboration," said Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr.

"It will help less research-intensive, smaller and regional universities develop their research capabilities by working in partnership with more research-intensive universities.

"Smaller and regional universities are an important part of regional economies, and their research activities are strongly connected to local needs and priorities.

"I am advocating hubs-and-spokes networks as the way to substantially increase the competitiveness of these institutions.

"Collaborative linkages between universities will ensure that regional universities, businesses and communities have access to world-class researchers and facilities around the country.

"The emphasis here is on consultation – my department has held preliminary talks with the universities and the discussion paper will take this process to the next level.

"A series of round-table discussions will also be scheduled to ensure that we receive detailed and comprehensive feedback to guide our final design of the CRN.

"I encourage all universities to offer their insights either at the round-tables or in response to the discussion paper."

The discussion paper is available at and responses should be sent to [email protected] by Monday, 22 March 2010. 

Following the consultation process, eligible universities will be invited to submit proposals for CRN projects from 1 July 2010, with funding will be made available to successful universities from 1 January 2011.

Source: Innovation Minister