Projects and Partnerships

CREATE research and the partnerships which make it possible are digitally connected throughout Australia and Internationally. In the 2018 Excellence for Research in Australia (ERA) ratings in Field of Research 13 Education, CQU achieved an Engagement and Impact Assessment (EIA) ranking of 5 with excellence above world standard; and was at world standard in its Specialist Studies in Education. Our multidisciplinary research projects inform other Fields of Research including, but not limited to, Agricultural Sciences; Information and Computing Sciences; Medical and Health Sciences; Creative Arts & Writing; Language, Communication and Culture.

Since its inception in mid-2016, and previously known as Learning, Equity, Access and Participation, the Centre’s research external income has exceeded $3.9m. From 2016 to 2019 inclusive, grants have been awarded by: Australian Research Council (Linkage) and the former Office for Learning and Teaching; Australian Government Departments of Education and Training, Social Services, Health and Aging, Environment & Science; Australian Red Cross Society; Australian Collaborative Education Network Limited; ConocoPhillips Australia/Australian Pacific LNG; Departments of Education in Northern Territory, NSW, Queensland, Victoria; Community Services Industry Alliance; Regional Councils and Community Agencies in Australian States & Territories.

Going forward, CREATE’s current research projects include, as at September 2020:

APLNG STEM Central Research Project – Embedding STEM in Learning and Teaching

Staff member Linda standing infront of the STEM Central wall logo holding a robot dog


Dr Linda Pfeiffer, Professor Bruce Knight, Ms Kathryn Tabone, Ms Ondine Bradbury


In response to the identified shortage of future STEM professionals, particularly in regional locations, the overall aim of this research is to improve the STEM capacity of regional teachers, thereby potentially influencing the STEM skills of future generations. Specifically, this project aims to investigate the impact of an intensive PD intervention undertaken with primary teachers on their self-efficacy and attitudes to 21st-century skills; build on the research findings to design and develop strategies for effectively embedding STEM education into the classroom; and identify how the intervention has impacted on students’ experiences.

Primary school students learning in a STEM Virtual Reality Classroom

This project includes embedding STEM into the Australian Curriculum Science through project-based learning; developing a program for Indigenous primary students; and investigating impacts of STEM Challenges.

Funded by:

Australia Pacific LNG


  • Fitzgerald, A., Haeusler, C., & Pfeiffer, L. (Eds.). (2020). STEM Education in Primary Classrooms: Unravelling Contemporary Approaches in Australia and New Zealand. Routledge.
  • Forbes, A., Chandra, V., Pfeiffer, L., & Sheffield, R. (2020) STEM Education in the Primary School: A Teachers Tookit. Cambridge

STEM Central Program and Event Book

WinTech (Women in Technology) STEM Club

Meena Jha


Dr Meena Jha


WinTech (Women in Technology) STEM club is committed to improve gender disparity in Science Technology, Engineering and Maths + Computing (STEM+C) education, and in doing so STEM+C workshops are hosted every year for young and mature women across the community. These workshops are conducted in response to bring change in STEM education, making female students more interested and more confident in taking up STEM+C subjects as their career.

Women in Technology STEM Club Group members posing for a funny photo

As educators, we are responsible for shaping the society in which we live. There are a number of sociological issues prevalent in the society for women's education and particularly in STEM+C. Women are under-represented in STEM+C education, and consequently in STEM+C careers. According to a UNESCO report, only 3% of female students in higher education choose information and communication technologies (ICT) studies. However, these are not the result of differences in intellectual ability. This gender disparity is alarming, especially as STEM+C careers are often referred to as the jobs of the future, driving innovation, social well-being, inclusive growth and sustainable development. We as educators can help turn things around and close the gender gap in STEM+C.

Women in Technology STEM Club Presenters showing their audience a poster about Women in Technology

Specifically, this project aims to investigate the impact of these intensive STEM+C workshops, intervention undertaken with high school students and teachers on their self-efficacy and attitudes to bridge the gender gap prevalent in our society; build on the research findings to design and develop strategies for effectively embedding STEM+C education into the classroom; and identify how the intervention has impacted on female students’ interest and confidence in taking up STEM+C subjects.


The researcher has established partnerships with Real Skill Education, high schools science teachers and students across NSW, University of New South Wales, and Macquarie University, and has delivered STEM+C activities engaging hundreds of audiences and participants, and developed a strong network of cross-regional STEM+C education advocacy.

Re-imagining Exams: How do Assessment Adjustments Impact on Inclusion?


Dr Joanne Dargusch, Dr Lois Harris, along with Deakin University colleagues Dr Joanna Tai, Associate Professor Rola Ajjawi, Professor Margaret Bearman, and Dr Mary Dracup.


This project, funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, seeks to discover ways to improve equity in higher education assessment practices. Research suggests that high-stakes, timed assessments can be problematic for students with disabilities (SWD). Though assessment adjustments are enshrined in legislation, equitable outcomes are not assured, and evidence for their efficacy is unclear. SWDs membership of additional equity groups may contribute to disadvantage that cannot be addressed through assessment adjustments. This project shifts the focus to understanding the broader context of, and barriers and enablers to, inclusive assessment design. It will use student voice data and workshops with staff and students to research inclusive assessment development. This will inform an inclusive assessment framework and underpin recommendations for policy and practice.

Funded by:

NCSEHE 2020/21 Research Grants Program

Lead Institution:

Deakin University

CQ Regional Arts Services Network

The Regional Arts Services Network is an initiative of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.  CQUniversity has been appointed as the Central Queensland provider.

Central Queensland Regional Arts Services Network


Associate Professor Sue Davis, Dr Liz Ellison & Patty Preece


The initial funding has been provided for three years and activity will focus on networking, capacity building and a number of cross-regional projects. The research arm of this project aims to research and evaluate the establishment of a regional arts network across the wider Central Queensland region and use an iterative process to help build sector capacity and arts programs in the region. This work aims to promote a vibrant and sustainable regional arts and cultural sector in regional Queensland with a focus on the wider Central Queensland region. The Central Queensland Regional Arts Services Network (CQ RASN) includes 14 local government areas from Wide Bay Burnett to Central Queensland and the Whitsundays in the north.

Funded by:

Arts Queensland

Key Partners:

Include local Councils across the following Local Government Areas: Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, South Burnett, North Burnett, Cherbourg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Livingstone, Banana, Central Highlands, Woorabinda, Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac.


The CQ RASN, and the research team, has established partnerships with major arts organisations across Central Queensland, delivered arts activities employing artists and engaging thousands of audiences and participants, and developed a strong network of cross-regional arts advocacy.

CQ Regional Arts Services Network First Nations Digital Workshop Artwork being projected onto a hung sheet

Work created during a CQ RASN Digital Workshop facilitated by artist Donna Maree Robinson - June 2019

Evaluating the Efficacy of Digital Instruction for Mathematics Education: A Case Study with CK-12’s Digital Tools


Dr Robert Vanderburg & Associate Professor Michael Cowling


This project is to develop and evaluate a digital instruction framework which increases instruction in mathematics following the current curriculum maths instructors are already using.  In other words, this program is designed to help teachers improve the instruction of their current curriculum without changing their current curriculum.  A partnership with an industry leader in online mathematics instruction, CK-12, provides a firm foundation of a digital platform to work with. We will be training teachers to implement CK-12’s platform into their current teaching methods.  The current curriculum and teaching will not be changed but enhanced using the CK-12 platform. CK-12 is a website already used by over 5,000 schools around the world.  This project will emphasise the evaluation of a case study of an Australian school using a digital instruction framework comprised of CK-12’s platform and our pedagogy.

Partner Funding Bodies:

  • CK-12 Foundation, United States of America
  • CQUniversity (Linkage Pilot Grant)


Digital Education is becoming increasingly relevant in the education sector and work on how best it can be applied has potential for wide reaching impact. This work will provide insight into this area and is anticipated to lead to further funding and work.

Global Competence Pilot Program


Dr Karena Menzie-Ballantyne & Dr Miriam Ham


The release of the Sustainable Development Goals and the introduction of a global competence assessment to the OECD’s PISA suite have provided international impetus for nations to focus on global competence in their domestic educational policies and curricula.

The Global Competence Pilot Program is the Queensland Department of Education International’s (DEi) first step in responding to this international impetus.  The Program involves Karena and Miriam using their experience and expertise in the field to provide advice to DEi staff and the Department’s curriculum team as they work together with educators from 13 lead schools to develop a framework, exemplar curriculum units, and other resources which will guide Queensland State Schools in fostering global competence through their curriculum, pedagogy and whole of school approaches.

Data gathered from the research component of the Pilot is also contributing to Miriam and Karena’s larger cross-cultural exploration of classroom teachers’ interpretations of global competence.

Global Competence

SkillsExamine local, global and intercultural issues
KnowledgeUnderstand and appreciate the perspectives and world views of others
ValuesEngage in open, appropriate and effective interactions across cultures
AttributesTake action for collective well-being and sustainable development

Partners and/or Funding Body:

Queensland Department of Education International


The inclusion of research and critical guidance by CQUniversity staff is providing rigor and depth in the development of the framework, exemplar units and other resources, ensuring they will provide best practice in terms of professional development in global competence as they guide educators across Queensland.

Three GPS Cows Researchers standing infront of a cattle yard holding the GPS's that will be used on the cows

GPS Cows


Dr Amy Cosby, Dr Jaime Manning, Associate Professor Mark Trotter


A key issue facing regional, rural and remote communities around the world is the low level of digital literacy among some cohorts of students. This is particularly the case for students involved in agricultural studies where it is commonly perceived that digital literacy is not relevant to their future occupation. However, this perception is far from the truth, as the reality of farming today means students who intend on entering the agricultural workforce must have excellent comprehension of technology. The agricultural industry is changing with the ever-increasing use of technology across the supply chain demanding a workforce with higher degree skills in STEM and digital literacy to facilitate the transformation of this sector.

The GPS Cows program (GPS Cows) is a collaborative project bringing together researchers, industry professionals and educators in both Australia and the USA who understand the importance of, and are passionate about engaging students in agri-tech.  The aim of GPS Cows is to increase the knowledge and skills of high school students in emerging agri-tech, specifically tools and systems which provide animal location and behaviour data, and to encourage them to consider tertiary study and a career in the agricultural sector.

GPS Cows Staff at a conference in Sydney with a picture of the Sydney Opera House in the background

It is also hoped that the international collaboration will demonstrate to students the importance of agriculture globally and increase their knowledge and appreciation of the industry in other countries.


NSW Dept of Education


Over 200 teachers across NSW have completed the GPS Cows teacher professional development workshop.

GPS Cows Website

Make the Maker


Dr Wendy Fasso and Dr Michelle Vanderburg


The development of a makerspace on Bundaberg campus will serve multiple student and community priority needs. It is anticipated that for many students and community members, the CQUniversity Makerspace (Make the Maker) provides an entry-level making and hacking experience that articulates into more complex and industry-level engagement with the state-of-the-art facility at Community Lifestyle Support (CLS), Kalki. Make the Maker will provide an entry point to engage students and participants to articulate a pathway to more complex design and technologies activities. Make the Maker will encourage the extension of thinking of participants that they can transition into professional life, such that the place of advanced manufacturing in every profession and business is valued and acknowledged. Embedded in this outcome are entrepreneurial and futures-thinking.

Funding Body:

Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning


Make the Maker will extend the relevance and reach of the makerspace to non-traditional makers, and attract a broader sub-set of the community to the makerspace to engage in gender, culture and skills-relevant activities that will upskill participants, and open up entrepreneurial thinking about the processes and new ideas that are likely to fuel start-up ideas.  Participatory design research methodology will be used and can lead to insight into ways in which makerspace can engage with the local community.

NDIS Workforce and Skills Needs


NDIS Project - 2019-2021, Wood, D., Knight, B.A., Mason, C., & Livingstone, A. ($836,696).


A multi-year quantitative and qualitative research project to assess and respond to skills demand and supply issues resulting from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout across Queensland.

The aims of the project are to:

  • Assess the impact of the NDIS on labour markets and skills supply across Queensland;
  • Identify labour market and skill supply gaps, occupations that may be difficult to fill, training needs, resilience, and employment growth opportunities in different regional locations where the NDIS has already been rolled out; and
  • Track NDIS related workforce and skills supply changes at the Queensland regional and state level over a three-year time period.

Funding Body:

Community Services Industry Alliance & Jobs Queensland.

Regional Employment Trial – Bundaberg


Dr Amanda Rebar, Kristie Lee Alfrey (MoHB student) and Kim Waters (MoHB student) with Professor Denise Wood


Long-term unemployment comes with burdens for individuals and for society at large. For individuals, long-term unemployment, and its impact on family income, leads to declines in physical and mental health and overall wellbeing. There is a 50-100% increase in death rates the year following displacement from employment, and each year in unemployment comes with a 10-15% increase in death rate. To provide an independent study of participants’ experiences with the Regional Employment Trials project, CQUniversity conducted a qualitative study consisting of focus groups, email-based interviews, and phone calls occurring pre-trial, mid-trial, and post-trial.

Based on what came out through the focus groups, experiences were described about expectations of the Regional Employment Trial, the causes of unemployment, how/whether the Regional Employment Trial mapped onto the proposed causes of employment and what strategies were implemented to help overcome the stated barriers.


Smoothing Assessment Transitions for VET students (SATVS)


Dr Lois Harris, Dr Joanne Dargusch, Dr Robert Vanderburg and Dr Susan Richardson


The Smoothing Assessment Transitions for VET students (SATVS) Project is a multi-year Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program funded Project (HEPPP) funded initiative aiming to improve the transitions and outcomes of students entering university via Vocational Education and Training (VET) pathways. With a particular emphasis on investigating the experiences of students from low SES VET backgrounds, the first year of the project (2019) focused on scoping the issue, including analyses of archival admissions and achievement data from this group, examination of existing support mechanisms, and collection of student survey and interview data.

The second year of the project (2020) is focused on collaboratively creating change. The project team is in the process of creating a Moodle site for transitioning VET students, assisted by a team of student reviewers who are providing input into the design and evaluating created resources. Additional work is being done to support educators in the higher education sector to better understand the needs of their VET students and to create resources they can use to more successfully support transitions. Additional exploratory work will also occur with VET educators and students to identify possible ways to support VET students’ higher education aspirations and provide early opportunities to develop academic literacy skills required in higher education.

In addition to multiple presentations to the CQUniversity committees and the wider academic community, the project has also presented findings at the Australian Association for Research in Education annual meeting and has two journal manuscripts in preparation.

The VET sector, and its students, are of increasing importance to the growth of higher education and work on how these students can be recruited and helped in the transition to higher education has potential for wide reaching impact. The SATVS Project will provide insight into this area and is anticipated to lead to further funding and work.

Four female Agri-Tech researchers standing with their ideas written on a white board

Women in Agri-Tech


Dr Amy Cosby, Dr Jaime Manning, Dr Kym Patison, Associate Professor Mark Trotter, Professor Bobby Harreveld, Professor Sally Ferguson


The ‘Women in Agri-tech’ project will create and foster a strong network of female teachers who will become leaders in digital literacy, STEM and entrepreneurship in regional, rural and remote areas. They will be guided by female researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs to develop engaging learning resources which will in turn inspire girls in the classroom to realise the opportunities available to them.

A group of female Agri-Tech staff and researchers sitting tiered

Partners & Funding Bodies:

  • Australian Government, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
  • Cotton Australia
  • NSW Department of Education
  • Queensland Government, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

& supported by:

  • AgForce
  • CiboLabs
  • Northern Territory Government


  • Best Practice Guide for Teachers
    Cosby, A., Patison, K., Manning, J., Trotter, M., Ferguson, S. & Harreveld, B. (2020). Best Practice Guide for Effective Engagement Between Teachers and the Agricultural Industry

School students looking through refractometers to determine which fruit is sweeter

RACE Gippsland


Dr Amy Cosby, Amy McCosker, Dr Jaime Manning, Lara Carton, A/Prof Mark Trotter, Prof Bobby Harreveld


Gippsland agriculture is a world class industry with the agrifood sector being the largest contributor to the local  economy.  Despite this significance, many students remain unaware of the ways their different strengths and interests can be explored through the world of agricultural work.  RACE Gippsland connects the classrooms with the wider world of Gippsland agriculture and encourages students to explore their potential in a dynamic, STEM driven industry that exists in their own backyard.

Primary School children standing around a table with a teacher partaking in a science experiment

Raising Aspirations in Careers and Education - Gippsland (RACE - Gippsland) will deliver a range of hands-on, interactive and engaging activities to primary and secondary students focuses on building student capacity in STEM, digital technologies, agribusiness, manufacturing and food and fibre concepts, which:

  • Raise awareness and increase motivation to pursue one of the vast range of careers across the agricultural supply chain
  • Build their knowledge of, and increase their aspirations to undertake further education pathways
  • Enhance their life-skills (eg communication, resilience, problem solving) by exposing them to potential employers and industry role models

Find out more at  RACE Gippsland



Dr Karena Menzie-Ballantyne, Dr Miriam Ham


Global Citizen Education  - A Passport to Social Cohesion is a partnership between CQUniversity and the Global Learning Centre

In recognition of the important role education for global citizenship/global competence plays in developing intercultural understanding and socially cohesive communities, the project is funded by the Queensland Department of communities Disability Services and Seniors.  The project includes the Global Leaders Development program which upskills participants with the knowledge and skills to lead a culture of global citizenship in their school or early childhood centre through and online micro-credential Leading Education for Global Competence:

Case studies from the project are informing research in the field of education for global citizenship/global competence at local and international levels.