Research at the University of the Sunshine Coast has officially come of age, with all of USC’s research focus areas now listed at or above world standard by the Australian Research Council.
USC’s efforts to expand its research capacity has seen it progress from having no areas of research ranked at or above world standard in 2010, to having 26 areas in the top categories of the 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) evaluations released today.
Among USC’s new strengths – described as well above world standard – are technology (particularly engineering and biotechnology) and neuroscience, which has been boosted by USC’s establishment of the Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute.
USC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Roland De Marco said the ERA research evaluation results indicated a coming of age for USC.
“Over the past decade, we have engaged in a deliberate investment strategy to develop regionally relevant, yet internationally competitive research, in distinctive areas related to the University’s broad geographic footprint,” he said.
“This has seen an explosive growth in research capacity over the past eight years, with the ERA 2018 outcomes serving as a testimony of the effectiveness of this University strategy.
“In 2010, USC had no areas that were rated at world standard or higher, while in 2012 it had two, 14 in 2015, and now 26 in 2018.”
Professor De Marco said all of USC’s research flagships – agricultural and veterinary sciences, nursing, ecology, zoology and environmental sciences – had achieved the highest possible ratings of well above world standard.
“It also was most pleasing to achieve well above world standard ratings in technology and neurosciences that have been underpinned by recent strategic initiatives to build internationally competitive research at the University.
“And for the first time, we have achieved at world standard ratings in the humanities (language, communication and culture) and the social sciences (studies in human society including criminology, human geography, policy and administration).
The 2018 ERA results for USC were 13 areas of research rated at 5 or well above world standard, four areas at 4 or above world standard, nine at 3 or at world standard, nine at 2 or below world standard, and two at 1 or well below world standard.
Professor De Marco said there was still room for improvement, particularly in USC’s emerging areas of research and in new academic areas under development as part of the University’s recent expansion into Fraser Coast, Caboolture and Moreton Bay.