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The Australian Research Council (ARC) is a statutory authority within the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE).
ARC manages the National Competitive Grants Program and the Excellence in Research for Australia initiative (ERA) as well as providing research advice to the Government.
The ARC web site contains information and advice for applicants.
Following are some examples of ARC grants involving members of the Higher Education Research Group.
Blackmore, J., Arbour, R., Farrell, L. and Devlin, M.
Australian Research Council Linkage Grant:
Investigating the mismatch between Australian international graduate destinations and skill shortages.
International graduates have a low rate of employment in acknowledged skill shortage areas - health, engineering, computing and accounting - even though they have Australian-credentialed skills in these disciplines. A team of researchers from HERG and Sydney's University of Technology, in partnership with International Development Program (IDP), are beginning work on this three-year ARC Linkage project to investigate why this is the case.
We intend to consider the attributes required in workplaces both here in Australia and globally. In particular, we will examine the appropriate English usage and intercultural and communication capabilities required as well as the specialist skills necessary in professional fields in Australia, and look at how universities are producing graduates with these skills, gained through the formal and informal curriculum and through socialising. We will also look at the federal policies that encourage international graduates to leave or stay in Australia, and employer recruitment practices in these key skill shortage areas.
The project will collect information from sixteen groups of students from four Australian universities about their employment expectations and experiences as they graduate and move into the workforce.
While areas such as graduate aspirations and attributes, academic teaching methods, workplace needs, and migration and employment policies had been researched as discrete issues, this new project would investigate how these factors inter-relate, particularly when it comes to international students. We intend to work in and around policy, pedagogy, psychology and politics.
Multi-layered projects are particularly relevant and critical at the moment. There has been significant debate about international students: their care and safety, the rapid increase of a range of international education providers where self-regulation has not guaranteed quality of provision, and the role international students play in terms of the income they bring into universities. We in the Australian higher education sector need to identify all the factors that influence student decisions and experiences around their occupational futures, and not just conduct piecemeal research focus on isolated areas, as good as that research might be.
We hope to provide substantive quantitative and qualitative data that can inform the work of; policy makers, universities, and employers about international graduate occupational aspirations and destinations within the wider context of the needs of the Australian workforce. The outcomes will also suggest to employers the types of recruitment and employment practices that will attract high-quality international graduates in skill shortage areas.
Fisher, J., Lang, C., Forgasz, H., Craig, A.; Ellul, R., Harlos, B., Australian Research Council Linkage Grant:
Digital Divas: Designing approaches to enthuse girls' interest in ICT studies and ICT careers
The lack of participation of women in computing education and the computing workforce is an issue in numerous countries around the globe. While women are embracing ICT applications they are not taking up ICT careers, resulting in a pool of creativity and talent from more than half the population being lost to this discipline (Lang 2007). In Victoria less than 20% of students in tertiary computing courses are female and, as of 2007, women held only 16% of ICT jobs in the state (Multimedia Victoria 2008 p 25).
Digital Divas is an elective subject offered to Year 8 girls at Brentwood Secondary School. First trialled in 2008, the program continued this year, and has been over-subscribed by girls wanting to enrol.
There are three aspects to the Digital Divas program. The program revolves around an engaging curriculum that is aligned to VELS. The second aspect of the program is informal mentoring by female university IT students. Officially classroom assistants, they act as ongoing role models to the Year 8 girls, and also provide online mentoring as 'blog buddies'. The final aspect of the program is regular presentations from young women working in a variety of areas within ICT, an approach designed to demonstrate the diverse career pathways available.The researchers, from Monash, Swinburne and Deakin universities, are conducting a longitudinal evaluation of the program's effects, and are particularly interested in its long-term impact on participants' perception of ICT, and the extent to which this cohort of Year 8 students selects ICT courses or careers in later years.
The longer term effects of the program are not yet known, but two-thirds of Digital Divas participants have indicated that they would consider studying ICT in the future.
This Australian Research Council Grant will see the program expanded into other schools and provide for the development of new curriculum resources. To date three other schools are planning to implement Digital Divas as part of their 2010 curriculum, with plans for further expansion in 2011.
Lang, C. (2007). 'Twenty-first Century Australian Women and IT: Exercising the power of choice.' Computer Science Education 17(3): 215-216.
Multimedia Victoria (2008), 2008 ICT Skills Snapshot: The State of ICT Skills in Victoria. Melbourne, State Government of Victoria
Macauley, P., Evans, T. D. & Pearson, M.
Classifying Australian PhD Theses by ANZSRC Fields of Research
Deakin’s Professor Terry Evans, along with colleagues Peter Macauley (RMIT) and Margot Pearson ANU), has been contracted by the ARC Research Excellence Branch to undertake a piece of research entitled Classifying Australian PhD Theses by ANZSRC Fields of Research. This is an extension of an earlier project (Macauley, P, Evans, T D & Pearson, M 2009 Classifying Australian PhD Thesis Records by Research Fields, Courses and Disciplines. Report on a Study for the Research Excellence Branch, Australian Research Council (http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30020658.)