School of Business and Law
Economics| Studies in Human Society
Professor John Rolfe, Professor Susan Kinnear
Doctor of Philosophy
Narelle Pearse

Research Details

Thesis Name

The Role of Universities in Regionalisation

Thesis Abstract

Despite the vast international research on the role and impact of universities on regional development, very little is known about Australian regional universities. In a period where universities are being asked to justify their existence, and regional Australia struggles to attract people from capital cities, understanding how regional universities can influence the migration of people and industry into the regions is becoming more important. This study builds on existing international research in the fields of regional development, and economics to focus on the impact that Australian regional universities have on regional development. Utilising the concepts of the 'triple helix' and the knowledge economy, the research will examine university functions and their relative importance in producing positive regional outcomes; as well as the interactions between the role of universities and other regional stakeholders, including government and industry. The results and analyses will be used to form recommendations about regional policy and the future role of higher education in regional Australia.

Why my research is important/Impacts

Public institutions have not traditionally been required to identify and comply with performance measures, but as government budgets become increasingly more constrained, universities are being asked to provide evidence of their effectiveness as a silo approach to funding education. While the importance of regions in the national agenda is always acknowledged, the importance of universities is now being questioned, and so the ability for Australian regional universities to demonstrate regional impacts far beyond the educational outcomes is becoming more important for their future. Federal Government enquires into regionalisation, and regional inequalities have commenced, however if the Government does not understand the role that universities play, and their impact on regional development, initiatives such as regionalisation are doomed to fail as they have in the past. This research will provide input in to both education, and regional policy.