Indigenous research network will close the higher education gap

15 July 2013

A groundbreaking Indigenous research network promises to change the way we approach higher education in Australia.

The National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN), funded by the Australian Research Council and headed by QUT's Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson, will be launched today (July 15).

The network is comprised of Indigenous researchers from 22 universities and research institutes across the country.

QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake said the network was an important step in growing the collective knowledge of Indigenous academics from varying stages of their careers.

"We are looking to connect Indigenous researchers across disciplines nationally and internationally to develop a culturally supportive, inclusive research environment," Professor Coaldrake said.

"There's a discrepancy between the number of established Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers in the higher education sector and it continues to grow. This network is an important step toward reversing this trend."

Professor Moreton-Robinson said funding a network that would support Indigenous postgraduates to fill research positions and create new Indigenous knowledge was critical to meeting promises to 'close the gap'.

"In 2012, closing the gap would require Indigenous postgraduate numbers and completions to increase by 600 per cent to attain parity with population proportions," she said.

"It has been well documented that the universities that are hitting population parity figures are the universities that have strong Indigenous research role models, methodologies and mentors available to students within their field of study".

"These factors combined with the dire Indigenous position on every socio-economic indicator require fresh approaches to research that ask new questions to produce new data and knowledge to inform policy and improve program delivery."

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Media contact: Alita Pashley, QUT media officer, 07 3138 1841 or

Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson