University research provides economic, health and social benefits according to EI 2018 report

Entrance to the University of Melbourne.
The University of Melbourne featured prominently in the ARCs inaugural Engagement and Impact report.

The real-world impact of University of Melbourne research is recognised in the inaugural national Engagement and Impact assessment (EI 2018) released today by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

EI 2018 reviewed researchers’ engagement with the people who use their research, and how universities translate their research into economic, social, environmental, cultural and other benefits.

High impact University of Melbourne research profiled through the assessment includes:

  • national and international collaborations that have led to a method for reducing the transmission of dangerous mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever;
  • collaboration with industry to develop irrigation technologies that drive more efficient water use, improving food security and bringing environmental gains;
  • development of a product for repairing tooth enamel that is commercially available. It is used by millions of people, improving their health and quality of life, and lowering the economic burden of oral disease;
  • collaboration with the construction industry, architects and other professionals to improve building prefabrication quality, productivity and affordability. This work informed a major policy change in school space allocation and the use of permanent prefabrication school buildings in Victoria;
  • the body of research supported through the HILDA survey that captures how Australian lives are changing, the factors that are driving change, and the impacts. This work provides key evidence underpinning policy across fields such as childcare, public health and employment;
  • protection of workers and businesses by research that informs policies and practices to deter exploitation and curb unfair competition. The impact of this work has touched millions of workers in Australia and overseas, leading to enhanced health, wellbeing and productivity; and
  • music therapy interventions that have helped Parkinson’s patients retain more of their ability to speak, and also led to the development of high impact clinical music therapy programs in the fields of neurorehabilitation and youth mental health.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Jim McCluskey said that EI 2018 provides another perspective on how the University’s research programs continue to address critical societal needs. “Our submission provides a snapshot of the impact of research conducted at the University of Melbourne, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg,” Professor McCluskey said. “Thousands of research projects are under way at the University, and the vast majority will directly or indirectly lead to positive benefits for society.”

Professor McCluskey paid tribute to the University’s partners, including the not-for-profit sectors, governments, publicly-funded research agencies, medical research institutes, hospitals and industry, who contribute to the University’s research programs. “These partnerships are vital to the research that the University undertakes. I have no doubt we will continue to work closely together in mutually beneficial partnerships.”