Many universities highlighted their investments in infrastructure as vital in supporting research collaborations that lead to successful outcomes beyond academia. This included the direct funding of infrastructure by universities and stakeholders, as well as in-kind support and internal research grants. Key investments included:
- state of the art equipment
- technological support
- building and workspace infrastructure
- administrative support.
State of the art equipment
Funding and availability of state of the art equipment was vital in enabling competitive, innovative research to produce high impact outcomes. Equipment funded to achieve these outcomes included:
- state of the art laboratories for a range of scientific work, including pathology, microscopy and molecular laboratories
- specialist laboratories, such as motion capture laboratories for dance research
- other state of the art facilities, for example, facilities for studying indoor air quality, animal houses for agricultural and veterinary studies and aquariums for marine studies
- a wide range of other specialist equipment.
Technological support included tools for collaboration and communication, such as:
- Teleconferencing facilities and publicly accessible digital research databases, which enabled universities and stakeholders in geographically remote areas within Australia and internationally to collaborate.
- Webpages and other sophisticated online tools enabled research engagement with, and recruitment of, the public to participate in research projects.
- Virtual technologies were important for communicating and enhancing understanding of research, including visualising complex scientific processes and concepts or re-creating historical events or archaeological sites.
Building and workspace infrastructure
The provision of building and workspace infrastructure provided the spaces and facilities for research to take place. Work spaces provided a place where researchers could have access to the necessary facilities for research projects, and a place where research collaboration with external partners could take place. These spaces included:
- specialist designed spaces with medical equipment designed for researchers and industry partners working together
- meeting rooms for stakeholders
- interview rooms for study participants
- therapy rooms for a range of health and medical research projects, from clinical medicine and physiotherapy, to psychology
- recording studios, theatres and other performance spaces
- specialist libraries, museums and herbariums.
Significant administrative support was provided for successful research projects including:
- Administrative support for travel and accommodation, and support for research dissemination activities such as publishing, and the organisation of conferences and workshops.
- Technical support including research assistants, laboratory assistants and managers.
- Legal assistance was provided in the form of ethics advice for sensitive issues, as well as drafting and oversight for contracts and agreements, which allowed particular research projects to take place.
- Expert commercialisation or business advice was provided by universities most often through university business or commercialisation offices, or alternatively via third party providers.