A key objective of our network is to provide policy advice to government, particularly in relation to tertiary education and regional development. We regularly make submissions to government, parliamentary reviews and inquiries. We develop policy papers and commission research on topics of special interest.

Policy Examples

Economic impact of RUN universities

In September 2020, we released an economic impact study by Nous Group and the Centre of Policy Studies that found our universities continue to be a driving force in regional economies. In light of the Job-ready Graduates legislation, the report did scenario modelling as RUN universities receive a less-than-proportional share of funding than metropolitan universities.

The study found that:

  • If research funding to RUN doubled, an additional 600 jobs and $94 million in real GDP would be generated.
  • If 6,000 more students from regional, rural and remote NSW, Victoria and Queensland attended our universities, an additional 690 jobs would be generated and $122 million more contributed to real GDP.

Our previous economic impact study with Nous was in April 2018. The study findings demonstrated the capacity of our members to educate and place graduates in jobs in regional Australia. At the time of the analysis, there was a Senate Inquiry into the indicators of regional inequality, with reference to building human capital in regional Australia. So, the findings were of national relevance.

A performance framework for regional universities

In June 2018, we launched a performance framework for regional universities in collaboration with Nous Group. 

The framework captured the contribution of universities against the broad objectives of the Higher Education Support Act: teaching quality, equity and contribution to social, cultural and economic needs.

Framework for a National Regional Higher Education Strategy

In 2017, we developed a framework for a National Regional Higher Education Strategy that aims to enhance the economic, social and cultural development of regional Australia. 

The strategy put regional university campuses at the centre of integrated policy and programs across education, research, innovation, employment and regional development.

Clever Regions, Clever Australia

In 2016, we submitted Clever Regions, Clever Australia to government. This was our policy statement to an incoming government, detailing ways in which they could unlock the full potential of regional Australia. 

In our advice, we called for adequate funding and recognition of the role of regional universities in regional development, better support for regional universities to produce more highly skilled graduates in the regions, and enhancement of research in regional universities, including in partnership with industry.