Parliamentary Inquiry on University Funding


Parliamentary Inquiry on University Funding

29 June 2018

Key Takeaways:

  1. Efficiency in Research: Efficiency, in the context of research in Australian universities, refers to achieving the same level of output with fewer resources or obtaining a higher level of output with the same resources.
  2. Understanding Expenditure Context: To measure the efficiency of research funding, it is crucial to acknowledge that universities have two main outputs: research and education. Estimating the efficiency of both research and education is essential to evaluate overall research expenditure efficiency accurately.
  3. Measuring Efficiency and Productivity Growth: Graphical representations demonstrate an efficiency “frontier” that considers both education and research outcomes. The cost of research and research production is plotted to analyze efficiency across Australian public universities.
  4. Exchange Rate between Education and Research Costs: On average, the cost of educating 14 students equals the cost of funding one research publication in the Australian university system in 2016.
  5. Ongoing Research Topics: Various research topics are currently being investigated, including economies and dis-economies of scale in research and education establishments, the impact of multiple sourced research funding on efficiency, the relationship between university efficiency and executive remuneration, and more.

Last week in The Australian, Australian National University economics professors Bruce Chapman and Rabee Tourky reignited a debate about a levy on international student tuition revenue (“Universities should pay levy on ‘foreign student industry’ ”, 15/11).

For several weeks, those interested in higher education have been contemplating the interim report of the Universities Accord review. The report makes many insightful and far-reaching observations. Undoubtedly it will be a turning point for important aspects of the educational offerings within our public universities.

It’s now virtually certain that the South Australian Legislative Council, the state’s upper house, will initiate a parliamentary inquiry into the planned merger of the state’s two largest universities.

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