'Snapshot' of Australian research

Critics say first snapshot of Australian research too simplistic and call for national science strategy

Leigh Dayton(leighdayton@ozemail.com.au)
Sep 22, 2002

Australia last week (September 18) released its first 'snapshot' of national research capabilities, from astrophysics to zoology. The picture — a compilation of reports from Australia's 40 universities — shows how each institution is directing its research efforts and where it believes its strengths lie.

In a summary prepared by the Commonwealth Department of Education Science and Training the universities identified a total of 513 areas of research strength. Of these, 35% were in science and technology, 13% in health and medical science, 40% in the arts, humanities and social sciences, and 12% in cross-disciplinary areas.

But because the universities used a variety of approaches in identifying their strengths, the results are being viewed simply as guidelines. Still, "it's always useful" to have information about the distribution of research expertise, said Jim Peacock, President of the Australian Academy of Science.

To push universities to file the so-called 'Research and...

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