The Australian Government introduced the Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) program as part of a suite of new and updated initiatives to reform higher education teaching, learning, research and research training.  These reforms, announced in the 2009-2010 Budget, will lead to a more productive and effective university system focused on quality and excellence, collaboration, sustainability, and end-user engagement. The Collaborative Research Networks program will provide $114 million in government grants over six years from 2011.

Collaborative Research Networks is designed as a structural adjustment fund. It will encourage less research-intensive smaller and regional universities to develop their research capacity and adapt to a performance-driven research system by teaming up with other institutions in areas of common interest. The intention is that all participants in a collaborative network will benefit from the partnership, with flow-on effects for the research and innovation system as a whole.

Collaborative Research Networks Guidelines

On 16 July 2010, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr announced the release of the Collaborative Research Networks Guidelines and invited Expressions of Interest in CRN projects from the sixteen eligible institutions.

  1. Australian Catholic University
  2. University of Ballarat
  3. Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education
  4. Bond University
  5. University of Canberra
  6. Central Queensland University
  7. Charles Darwin University
  8. Charles Sturt University
  9. Edith Cowan University
  10. Melbourne College of Divinity
  11. University of New England
  12. University of Notre Dame Australia
  13. Southern Cross University
  14. University of Southern Queensland
  15. University of the Sunshine Coast
  16. Victoria University

Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) guidelines (131KB)

CRN funding is available for any purpose which supports research capacity building. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • staff engaged specifically for or in CRN projects – salaries for the proportion of their time spent on CRN activities;
  • teaching relief for academic staff engaged specifically for or in CRN projects – salaries for the proportion of their time spent on CRN activities;
  • fellowships for CRN project activities;
  • staff and student exchanges;
  • joint supervision or staff development arrangements;
  • shared research infrastructure;
  • access to major Australian research facilities; or
  • costs associated with establishing and strengthening collaborations.

Institutions that are eligible for Collaborative Research Networks government grants are invited to submit an Expression of Interest using the following template:

Expression of Interest for CRN funding template ( 274KB)

The closing date for expressions of interest is 16 August 2010.

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