AUSTRALIA: Funding system to drive research

Australia's federal government will tie teaching and research performance funding to negotiated compacts to encourage distinctive university missions and focus research funding among the best performers, according to two new discussion papers, writes Andrew Trounson for The Australian. The move to drive differentiation has largely been welcomed by the sector, but there are concerns over application of performance measures and the degree of government intervention.

Australian National University Vice-Chancellor Ian Chubb said last week that compacts would boost Australia's international competitiveness. Compact agreements between the government and universities should transparently "cement differences" between universities and allow "real differences in costings" to be funded rather than just funding at sector averages, Chubb added.

The government proposes three key elements to compacts: a preamble defining the mission and strategy, as well as components on teaching and research performance. Significant research money would start being dealt out according to performance targets set in compacts as early as next year, while performance-based teaching and learning funding would begin to be dealt out in 2012.
Full report on The Australian site