2003 – Review of Knowledge and Innovation: A guide for constituent’s intending to make a submission

Attachment: CAPA Paper

In August, the Department of Education, Science and Training announced its long-awaited review of the policy package Knowledge and Innovation, which incorporates the Research Training Scheme (RTS). This Briefing Paper is intended to assist CAPA constituents who wish to make a submission to the review, but may not be familiar with the background and details of the RTS. The inquiry’s terms of reference are included at the back of this document, followed by a brief list of web resources.


In June 1999 David Kemp, then Minister for Education, released a policy discussion paper, New Knowledge, New Opportunities (The ‘Research Green Paper’). The paper contained the radical proposal for making postgraduate research degrees ‘portable’ by tying funding to the student rather than the institution, as well as a proposal to levy real rates of interest on student loans. These suggestions were rejected by CAPA, the NTEU and other sector groups, and sustained lobbying saw the removal of voucher-style funding and loan interest from the final policy document Knowledge and Innovation: a Policy Statement on Research and Research Training (the ‘Research White Paper’), released in December 1999.

However, even stripped of the controversial voucher system, the new policy aroused widespread concern. The policy’s postgraduate research funding scheme, the Research Training Scheme (RTS)–which has now been in place since 2001–reduced government funding for research degrees from 5 to 4 years for a PhD and to 2 years for a Masters, as well as introducing ‘performance based’ funding. CAPA has been especially sceptical of this funding mechanism, arguing that it focuses on outcomes (RHD completions; numbers of publications; ability to attract outside funding) which are unrelated to quality (for example satisfaction of research students or quality of research facilities; standing of journals publishing work or number of citations gained by a publication; research innovation).

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