Skip to Content

Undergraduate Research in Australia

Activities and Events

Stage 1: Identification of needs, existing practice and available resources

There are four key activities in Stage 1:

  1. Activity was initially focused on building the National Team. This was done by drawing them together for a meeting. The team collaborated to share ideas and identify existing projects and resources needed to make a real difference in student engagement in research and inquiry across the Australian higher education system and facilitate acceptance by academics. The ultimate aim was to develop facilitative models, strategies, protocols and resources for a range of activities including for example:
    • developing of subjects and curricula including establishing inquiry-based units and courses;
    • developing unit of study outlines;
    • dealing with ethical issues that may arise;
    • implementing inquiry-based assessment; finding/providing funding opportunities for undergraduate research;
    • setting up community-based undergraduate research projects;
    • establishing undergraduate research vacation schemes;
    • establishing administrative arrangements for engaging students in various forms of research and inquiry;
    • providing strategies, structures and resources to facilitate the engagement of academics in providing research-based opportunities for students.
    Resources are in the form of models of implementation, successful strategies that have been tried and evaluated, templates, lists of do's and don'ts, advice about critical incidents in implementation, key questions to ask when implementing a particular strategy, identification of necessary administrative arrangements, likely barriers to implementation and how they have been surmounted etc. View available resources
  2. Consistent with the aims of the Fellowship, an undergraduate research project was carried out. This built on the ideas brought forward by the national team to a) carry out a survey of existing practice in Undergraduate Research Scholarship Schemes in Australia and b) identify sources of funding used for student stipends in such schemes. View a summary poster (PDF, 89k)
  3. An Extended Network of contacts has been identified through these processes and through networks of the National Team. If you would like to be a member of our extended network please contact us.

^back to top

Stage 2: Study tour

Having identified the needs and requirements for models, strategies, protocols and resources, the Fellow undertook study tours overseas to identify further resources that could be drawn upon to meet the national needs. This involved visiting International Experts. Indeed, through her association with a number of Higher Education Academy (HEA) and Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) projects and centres and other organisations working to develop aspects of undergraduate research and the integration of research and teaching the expertise of a wide network of scholars and practitioners in different disciplines working in this field is being drawn upon. During one study tour Angela Brew visited key institutions in the US. The study tour included visiting universities and projects in North America where undergraduate research and community engaged inquiry are practiced. Involvement of the US Council for Undergraduate Research through its Executive Director, Professor Nancy Hensel and the National Science Foundation through its Director, Division of Undergraduate Education, Professor Linda Slakey, on the International team provided further important contacts.

Universities Visited

  1. Wollongong University
  2. Australian National University
  3. University of Sydney
  4. University College, Cork, Eire
  5. Cork Institute of Technology, Eire
  6. Lincoln University, UK
  7. Sheffield University, UK
  8. Sheffield Hallam University, UK
  9. York University, UK
  10. York St John University, UK
  11. Gloucestershire University, UK
  12. Oxford Brookes University, UK
  13. Harvey Mudd College, California,USA
  14. University of California Santa Barbara, USA
  15. California State University, Chancellery, USA
  16. California State University, Fullerton, USA
  17. California State University, Los Angeles, USA
  18. University of Arizona, Tucson, USA
  19. Weber State University, Utah, USA
  20. Leiden University, The Netherlands
  21. Liverpool University, UK
  22. Warwick University, UK
  23. University College, Cork, Eire
  24. Cork Institute of Technology, Eire

^back to top

Organisations Visited

  1. Research Councils, UK
  2. National Science Foundation, USA
  3. Research Corporation, USA
  4. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, USA
  5. Project Kaleidoscope, USA
  6. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Higher Education, USA
  7. Association of American Colleges and University, USA

^back to top

Meetings and Conferences Attended
6th April The fourth symposium on "Social Learning Spaces" at Reinvention Centre, Oxford Brookes University, UK.
20th April ESCALATE conference on "Students as researchers", Birmingham, UK.
3rd June Council for Undergraduate Research meeting Broadening participation in undergraduate research. National Press Club, Washington, DC., USA
10th-12th June Council for Undergraduate Research: Transformative Research Summit, Snowbird Resort, Utah, USA.
15th-16th June Meeting of the Council of the International Consortium for Educational Development. Trinity College, Dublin, Eire.
6th-9th July Annual Conference of the higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA). Darwin NT., Australia
27th-28th August Talent voor de Toekomst (Talent for the future) Undergraduate Research Conference. Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). Middleburg, The Netherlands.
8th-10th December Annual Conference of the Society for Research into higher Education (SRHE). Newport, UK.
11th December Meeting at University of Gloucestershire, Centre for Active Learning, UK
13th-15th December University of Oxford, Conference on Academic Practice, Oxford UK

^back to top


Stage 3: Consolidate and build resources

Having collected a range of models, resources, potential and actual protocols, ideas and suggestions during the study tour, a period of time spent in Sydney will enable consolidation and adaptation of resources for use in the Australian context. This stage also sees the establishment of this website (linked into the ALTC Exchange) and resources prepared for dissemination.

^back to top

Stage 4: Regional Roundtables

Five Regional Roundtables were held in 2009. These brought together on a State-wide basis, members of the National Team, the Extended network, and Associate Deans (Teaching and Learning). At each of the Regional Roundtables resources were available for viewing and discussion. Further details of each Roundtable, including the presentations by the Fellow and invited speakers are available here:

^back to top

Stage 5: Australian Summit on Linking Research and Teaching

The First Australian Summit on the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning was held on 5-6 November 2009 at the Swiss Grand Hotel, Bondi Beach, Sydney. This brought together senior academic managers to engage in sector-wide debates about the integration of research and teaching and the role of undergraduate research and inquiry in it. One of the outcomes of the Summit was the development of a Communiqué addressed to Australian political leaders.

Keynote addresses were given by International Experts including Professor Elaine Seymour, Director Emerita of Ethnography & Evaluation Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA; Professor Linda Slakey, Director, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation, USA; Professor Philippa Levy, Director of the Centre for Inquiry-Based Learning in Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS), a CETL at Sheffield University, UK; Professor Nancy Hensel, Executive Director for the Council on Undergraduate Research, USA and Professor Mick Healey, Director of the Centre for Active Learning (CeAL), a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) at Gloucestershire University, UK. Members of the Fellowship National Team provided examples of current practice. A full and frank panel discussion was also held with invited representatives of the ARC, AUQA, ALTC, the Australian Council of Deans of Science, and the National Union of Students.

^back to top