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01/04/2019
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Report shows how UOW research impacts Australia and the world

Engagement and Impact assessment reveals economic, health, environmental and social benefits of research

The Australian Research Council’s (ARC) inaugural Engagement and Impact assessment (EI 2018), released today (Friday 29 March) by Federal Minister for Education the Hon. Dan Tehan MP, provides insight into the many ways that University of Wollongong research benefits the region, the nation and the world.

The Engagement and Impact assessment measures how universities engage with people outside of academia, and how their research translates into economic, social, health, environmental and other benefits.

Included in the University’s submission to EI 2018 were research case studies from the sciences, engineering, health and medicine, social sciences, humanities and creative arts, along with case studies on how UOW research is positively impacting Indigenous Australians, and the power of interdisciplinary research.

Overall, 95% of UOW’s case studies were rated as high (27%) or medium (68%) for impact, compared to 88% of case studies rated as high (43%) or medium (45%) for impact nationally. UOW was one of only five universities to receive a rating of high for its case studies in environmental sciences, and history and archaeology; and one of only six to receive a rating of high for its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander case study.

The case studies ranged from the development of a technology to make radiation treatment of cancers safer and more effective, to identifying, preventing and treating malnutrition in older adults and the infirmed, to using more effective marketing techniques to increase the number of volunteer foster carers.

One of the standout results was in the field of law and legal studies, with UOW research rated highly for both engagement and impact. The case study, “Sustaining Pacific fisheries and fishing communities”, saw researchers from the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, work with Pacific island nations where declining stocks in coastal fisheries threatened the food security and health of island communities.

Led by ANCORS marine ecologist and fisheries scientist Professor Neil Andrew, researchers from law, social and environmental sciences, collaborated with national governments and community stakeholders to bring about legislative, regulatory and management changes, and develop community-based management plans that safeguard local fish stocks.

Other case studies to rate high for impact were:

Illawarra Aboriginal Health Research partnership;
Improving disaster management and increasing citizen safety through open, crowdsourced, automated flood reporting;
Protecting people, property and the environment with research for effective management of bushfire risk;
The power and social impact of audio storytelling: from radio documentary to podcast;
Regional and global impacts of the discovery of Homo floresiensis.

In Biological Sciences, Antarctic ecosystems research: Monitoring and limiting the impacts of climate change and pollution on Antarctic biodiversity, UOW was rated highly for its approach to impact.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) Professor Jennifer Martin AC said the EI 2018 assessment showed that UOW researchers were motivated not just to produce work of world-class standard, but also work that had the potential to transform the world for the better.

“Following on from the recent ARC Excellence in Research for Australia report, the EI 2018 assessment shows that not only is the University’s research of the highest quality, it is also focused on delivering innovative solutions to the complex economic, environmental, social and medical challenges that the world faces,” Professor Martin said.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings CBE said the results reflected UOW’s strong reputation for engaging with industry, governments and community, and for research that delivered real-world impact.

“From its very beginning, UOW has encouraged and nurtured engagement with industry, community and government to tackle the most pressing global challenges, introduce disruptive technologies and change our world for the better,” Professor Wellings said.

“The University of Wollongong is dedicated to research that makes a contribution to the economy, to society, the environment and to culture. Its researchers are committed to engaging with organisations and individuals outside of the University that will directly benefit from the results of the collaboration.”

To explore more of UOW’s impact case studies and stories of engagement see our research impact homepage.

Caption: Researchers from ANCORS have been working with Pacific nation communities to make coastal fishing stocks more sustainable.

Posted in Politics and Society
Tagged: Research, Law

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