The HDR1 Experience and Employability Project (E&E Project) is underpinned by several state and national strategic drivers.
State strategic alignment
» International education and training
International education and training (IET) is one of Queensland’s most valuable industries, and in 2016 the Queensland Government launched the International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026 (IET Strategy).
The HDR E&E Project was selected for implementation by the Queensland International Education and Training Partnership Fund (IET Partnership Fund). This key enabling initiative within the IET Strategy offers $1.2 million annually to fund eligible consortia to deliver projects aligned with the IET Strategy goals and leverage greater investment across the sector.
The IET Strategy focuses on four strategic imperatives, all of which are addressed by the E&E Project:
- Promoting Queensland Internationally;
- Enhancing the Student Experience;
- Strengthening our Regions; and
- Connecting the Industry.
The E&E Project also complements and builds upon an existing IET funded project: the Cairns International Student Local Engagement Project which ensures that Cairns provides international students with the most positive and rewarding experience. One of this project’s key strategies is to establish a Student Hub in Cairns for international students, and there are similar IET funded Student Hubs under development in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Furthermore, this project aligns with regional international education strategies and goals for Queensland, Brisbane and the Gold Coast which aspire to grow international student enrolments, increase market share, and enhance the student experience. For example, the Study Gold Coast Strategic Plan 2016-2020 outlines a 10-point plan which includes a strategy focused on student employability and workforce development.
» Trade and Investment
The Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017– 2022 (TIS Strategy) was released in April 2017 to drive local jobs and the Queensland economy.
By improving the experience for domestic and international HDR candidates in Queensland and enhancing innovation and competitiveness among Queensland businesses through increased connections with researchers, the E&E Project addresses the vision of the TIS Strategy to:
“Position Queensland as Australia’s most innovative and dynamic trading economy – a magnet for global investment.”
» Advance Queensland
The E&E Project addresses the premise of Advance Queensland, the Queensland Government’s $500 million initiative that aims to:
“Position Queensland as a place where entrepreneurs, industry, universities and government collaborate to turn great ideas into commercial products and businesses that create jobs.”
National strategic alignment
Australia 2030: Prosperity through Innovation is the Australian Government’s strategic plan to accelerate innovation, science, and research. Building on the findings of the 2016 Performance Review of the Australian Innovation, Science and Research System, it makes 30 recommendations and identifies five urgent areas for action: (1) education, (2) industry, (3) government, (4) research and development, and (5) culture and ambition. The E&E Project addresses one of these five imperatives:
“Improve research and development effectiveness by increasing translation and commercialisation of research”.
Other strategic opportunities in the 2030 Plan that are addressed by the E&E Project include:
- Ensuring Australia’s ongoing prosperity by stimulating high-growth firms and improving productivity;
- Improving access to global talent pools by increasing the profile of Australia as an attractive destination for business builders; and
- Promoting greater diversity in the research and innovation workforce.
» Knowledge transfer
The 2016 Performance Review of the Australian Innovation, Science and Research System (ISRS) highlighted that although Australia excels in knowledge creation, there is substantial evidence that we are poor at translating and commercialising our strong research base. This finding was also highlighted in the 2015 National Innovation and Science Agenda, the Australian Government’s ﬂagship innovation policy, along with $1.1 billion worth of initiatives to drive innovation and knowledge transfer.
Through (1) increased levels of engagement between Queensland’s HDR candidates and employers and research end-users outside of academia, and (2) enhanced employability of our HDR graduates tailored towards the needs of Queensland businesses, the E&E Project addresses the need for improved knowledge transfer and employment of researchers in industry as identified by the ISRS Review and NISA.
» The ACOLA Review
The Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) was commissioned by the Australian Government in 2015 to undertake a national Review of Australia’s Research Training System to improve Australia’s research training system.
The E&E Project addresses a key need identified in the recommendations of this review: to strengthen the preparation of HDR graduates for a breadth of future roles and career pathways.
» International Education
In 2016, the Australian Government released Australia’s first National Strategy for International Education 2025 (IE Strategy) highlighting the importance of international education to Australia. This Strategy sets out a 10-year plan to ensure Australia remains a leader in the provision of education services to overseas students.
The E&E Project targets each of the five indicators that will be used to measure the success of the IE Strategy in meeting its objectives:
- Benchmarking against international standards;
- The employability of graduates;
- Quality of the student experience;
- Increased international collaboration and alumni engagement; and
- Growth in market share from the current level of 6 per cent.
» Alumni engagement
To further engage our alumni, the Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy 2016-2020 was released in 2016. This is a whole of government public diplomacy initiative that has been developed in collaboration with Australia’s tertiary education sector.
The E&E Project addresses one of the key tenets of this Strategy: to mobilise engagement with alumni through events, professional development, business and research opportunities. This project also recognises potential and current HDR alumni as valuable members of Queensland’s global alumni and key ambassadors for Queensland more broadly.
» Research training
In 2017, the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) published a range of good practice principles (GPPs) for higher education institutions to consider, with the important caveat that the GPPs are relevant to the research training of all HDR candidates (domestic and international). The specific GPPs addressed by the E&E Project are:
- Treat the academic success and personal wellbeing of international HDR candidates as core business;
- Provide opportunities for HDR candidates, supervisors and the wider university to generate, share and benefit from the presence of international HDR candidates;
- Continue to develop the relationship between the institution and international HDR candidates beyond graduation; and
- Provide international HDR candidates with opportunities to advance their English language through broader transferable skills throughout their candidature.
Finally, the E&E Project also aligns with a similar finding from HDR candidates themselves: the International Student Barometer (2016) data highlights that international HDR candidates are seeking more support in terms of their employability beyond their HDR program.
1 HDR stands for Higher Degree Research. In Australia, our HDR students (known as ‘candidates’) are completing a research degree, usually referring to a PhD. Click here for more information on what this means.