Guest Blogger: Australia & The USA: So Far, Yet So Close? (Part Two)

[As part of our efforts to interact with Research Administration personnel across the world, BloggingORA will occasionally feature posts written by colleagues at other institutions.  Today’s Guest Bloggers are our first authors to hail from outside of the United States, specifically Australia: Julie Ward, from The University of New South Wales; Bryony Wakefield, from The University of Melbourne; and Sue O’Brien, from The University of Queensland.]

In case you missed it, check out Part One.

Part Two of Three

In the United States, there are over 1800 private and 600 public universities. Comparatively in Australia, there are only 5 private and 37 public universities. All Australian universities function as both teaching and research institutions. It took us a while at NCURA to work out what a PUI was!  (Ed. It stands for Predominantly Undergraduate Institution.)

Like the USA, Australia has two major government funding organisations – the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), which is similar to the NIH, and the Australian Research Council (ARC), which is similar to the NSF.  Also like the US, according to NIH, both our national funding systems have an overall success rate of a mere 18% when it comes to grant funding from our national funding bodies. Despite this relatively low success rate, an enormous effort goes into the preparation and submission of applications to funding bodies by both researchers and research administrators, regardless of their institutions. In different ways, all three of us were interested in, and curious to share and learn from, the large wealth of knowledge and information generously shared by the speakers and those attending the conference – particularly when it came to navigating the US system for applying for grants.

In different ways, all three of us were interested in, and curious to share and learn from, the large wealth of knowledge and information generously shared by the speakers and those attending the annual meeting – particularly when it came to navigating the US system for applying for grants.  A highlight for all three of us was the workshop by David Mayo and David Richardson, entitled “Introduction to Working with US Sponsors and Institutions.” The three of us had each came to the conference with different aims and perspectives and walked away with a wealth of information and opportunities for collaboration.

Overall, NCURA provided us an opportunity to better understand international issues surrounding research administration – from best practices in pre and post award to human capital.  The annual meeting also provided us with different environments to learn and network; from chatting over breakfast, to workshops, to specialised streams of presentations to the international dinner and the regional hospitality suites!

[Stay Tuned For Part Three!]