CAPA congratulates Australian universities on global rankings success and calls for postgraduate researchers’ contributions to be paid
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) congratulates Australian universities on their stellar results in the QS World University Rankings, noting that this success is only possible with the under-valued labour of postgraduate research students.
The QS World University Rankings are calculated based on six weighted criteria. Academic reputation accounts for 40% of the ranking, and citation rates for 20%. Quality and quantity of research output are therefore crucially important to universities’ rankings.
Postgraduate research students make substantial contributions to their universities’ research output, both through their own projects and through collaborating on the projects of others. In the sciences especially, many research students dedicate time to their supervisors’ activities. Currently, 57% of research hours conducted in Australian universities are performed by postgraduate research students.
Unfortunately, research students are not fairly paid for this work, and many are not paid at all. Almost two-thirds of commencing domestic research students miss out on a federally funded living stipend, and full-time research students without scholarships are not eligible for Centrelink. They rely on their savings and financial support from family to enable their research.
CAPA strongly believes that students and their families should not be subsidising universities’ ascension up global rankings lists.
“This fantastic result in the QS rankings would not be possible without the hard work of thousands of postgraduate research students. It is a disgrace that many of these research students are living in extreme poverty while contributing substantially to the research output of Australian universities,” says CAPA National President, Natasha Abrahams.
“Postgraduate researchers deserve to be paid for their work, just like any other researchers.”
CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
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