REGIONAL universities around the country are upping the ante when it comes to world-leading research, a national report on Excellence in Research in Australia revealed on Thursday.
The report covers almost every possible discipline of research that is available at Australian universities, and the Regional Universities Network says it marks a huge success for researchers outside the capital cities.
RUN chief executive Dr Caroline Perkins said the report - the first update on research excellence in Australia since 2010 - revealed a six-fold increase in regional university research that was "well above world standards".
Dr Perkins said the report also revealed a 50% increase in level four-rated research in the network, for research "above world standard", and a 90% rise in regional research that was "at world standard".
She said the report showed research at Australia's regional universities had come a long way in just two years.
"And Research Minister Chris Evans has also committed to adding the "impact" of research to the assessment criteria," Dr Perkins said.
"Because regional universities are truly a part of their local community, a lot of research in regional universities results in real impact on the community.
"So we think with the added criteria, the RUN universities will be likely to perform even better in future years."
Among the top regional performers for research since 2010 were Southern Cross University and Central Queensland University.
The SCU led the regional university results, with research in Geochemistry, Forestry Sciences, Crop and Pasture Production, Zoology, Earth Sciences and Agriculture and Veterinary Science all well above world standards.
The CQU was also a top performer, with research in nursing, mathematics, agriculture and land management, and "other medical and health science" well above the world standard.
Nationally, the report found a 24% rise in the amount of research being undertaken, a 16% rise in the number of patents secured and a 9% rise in the number of researchers employed.
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