2006 – Response to the RQF Development Advisory Group Guiding Principles

Attachment: CAPA Submission:

CAPA has provided two previous submissions to the RQF development process. As the development of the RQF moves forward and becomes focused, we feel that the process is increasingly secretive and nonconsultative. Our comments to the Guiding Principles are hampered by the lack of availability of supporting information and the refusal of the Chair of the RQFDAG to include CAPA in anything but a cursory consultation process.

This has also affected others in the sector and resulted in much discussion being held through the media rather than through forums and working parties. The RQFDAG has provided only selective opportunities for input and has failed to provide an ongoing opportunity for the sharing of ideas.

Much RQF modelling and testing has been undertaken at institutions across Australia. The results of these trials should be available to those providing responses. Similarly, a summary of issues still to be considered by the RQFDAG working parties would be helpful.

It is unclear how the Guiding Principles will correspond with the more specific issues not covered. Such issues include Indigenous research, multidisciplinary research and the research conducted by Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students. Because this consultation over the Guiding Principles is limited, it will be imperative that the RQFDAG refers back to issues raised in earlier consultations and submissions to ensure that all concerns have been addressed.

The Guiding Principles contradict recent statements by the Minister regarding the direction of the RQF. In particular her contention that “the work of research students is both regarded and considered towards RQF outcomes.” The Guiding Principles continue to exclude HDR research. This confusion can only serve to increase apprehension about the RQF.

We remain concerned that the RQF is not forward-looking. It does nothing to set up for future research excellence. This is particularly evident in the failure to consider the research environment in any evaluation.