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RUN News

In this latest edition of RUN’s Newsletter:

Season’s Greetings

The Regional Universities Network would like to wish all our stakeholders a very happy and safe holiday season. We look forward to working with you in 2022 to continue our important mission of advocating for Australia’s regions.

Image credit: University of New England.

RUN Bid Wins Regional Research Collaboration Fund

RUN researchers have received a boost to support their regional mental health efforts, with a collaborative RUN mental health program securing funding under the Regional Research Collaboration fund.

Led by Professor Myfanwy Maple from the University of New England and in collaboration with RUN universities, the successful project aims to create the next generation of mental health researchers to address regional, rural and remote mental health challenges across the nation.

RUN Executive Director, Alec Webb, said “with our combined geographic footprint across the nation, RUN is best placed to drive solutions to the health challenges of our regions and improve our overall regional wellbeing.”

The project will develop a comprehensive virtual training platform for mental health researchers; build the mental health and wellbeing of individuals, priority populations and regional communities; and develop a data toolkit to assist in decreasing mental health related morbidity and mortality among regional Australians.

Additionally, our member universities, Federation University, CQUniversity and Charles Sturt University also received funding support under the Scheme for projects in hydrogen, agriculture and drought resilience and water engineering. 


Image credit: Charles Sturt University

New Champion for the Regions

The Regional Universities Network has long advocated for an independent champion for regional, rural and remote education, and is thrilled with the announcement of Fiona Nash as the inaugural Regional Education Commissioner. 

Fiona most recently served as the Strategic Adviser for Regional Engagement and Government Relations at RUN member institution, Charles Sturt University. 

“Achieving equity in educational outcomes for regional Australians will take a generation, and I am glad we have someone of Fiona’s calibre supporting efforts to establish parity for regional Australia. It is important for the nation’s cohesion and success that regional education remains a focus in future policies and programs,” RUN Chair, Professor Nick Klomp, said. 

Congratulations, Fiona! RUN looks forward to working closely alongside you to achieve strong educational outcomes for our regions.


Image Credit: CQUniversity

Additional Student Places welcomed by RUN

RUN welcomes the recent commitment from the Australian Labor Party of an additional 20,000 commencing Commonwealth Supported Places.

With both regional populations and demand for higher education qualifications increasing, the additional fully funded places would enable more Australians to pursue their dreams of university level study. 

With First Nations Australians, people in remote and regional Australia and first in family students prioritised, these cohorts are particularly well served by Australia’s regional universities. 

RUN Executive Director, Alec Webb said, “the announcement would enable regional universities to meet both the increasing levels of regional student demand and the educational aspirations of our regional, rural, and remote communities.”


Image Credit: Federation University

RUN Calls for Infrastructure Funding

“Australia’s regional universities are fields of dreams for regional, remote and rural Australians. They change the lives of Australians and open doors that otherwise would have been closed.” They are the words of RUN Executive Director, Alec Webb, in a recent op-ed piece he penned calling for regional universities to have access to infrastructure funding, namely the Building Better Regions Fund. 

As regional populations grow, there has never been a more important time to support Australia’s regions and their universities. Enhanced regional economic development through key infrastructure, in partnership with regional universities will ensure future generations of regional Australians can access both higher education and highly skilled jobs of the future. 


RUN showcased at the AustCham Korea Regional Universities Summit

The Regional Universities Network recently had the opportunity to join the Australia Chamber of Commerce in Korea for a virtual regional university summit to discuss strategies to establish regional prosperity and resilience and create stronger connections between Australia and Korea. 

RUN Executive Director, Alec Webb delivered a presentation on the critical importance of regional universities and the impactful economic, social and cultural work they do in regional communities. While University of the Sunshine Coast’s Head of International, Alex Elibank Murray spoke to the resilience of universities and internationalisation strategies in the post-COVID era, and CQUniversity’s Dean of the School of Graduate Research, Professor Susan Kinnear spoke to how critical a strong regional research agenda is to regional health and prosperity.

The event provided an opportunity to strengthen our international relationships, with both organisations committing to exploring future collaborative opportunities, including the sharing of best practice and student and staff exchanges.

Spotlight: USC, CQU and UNE win big at Engagement Australia Awards

The 2021 Engagement Australia Awards were held recently, with three RUN universities awarded as winners in their respective categories. The University of the Sunshine Coast won the Excellence in Community Engagement category for its Alliance for Suicide Prevention program, which strives to create a connected community to improve mental health and resiliency to suicidality and its precursors. CQUniversity won the Excellence in Alumni Engagement category for its 30 Minutes a Month micro-volunteering program, and the University of New England secured the Excellence Award for Student Engagement, for its Social Worker in Schools (SWiS) placement program.

Congratulations to our RUN universities for this well-deserved recognition of the lifechanging and impactful engagement they do with our regional communities. 


Welcoming RUN’s new Policy and Communications Officer, Karlee Waru!

Karlee comes from a background in business and research support across community health care groups, and the higher education sector, including at RUN member institution the University of the Sunshine Coast. 

“With a degree in communication and a master's in public policy underway, I was drawn to how the role combined not only two of my passions but my previous work experience in the higher education sector. Living in one of our member regions, I understand firsthand how regional universities are anchors institutions for our communities and I look forward to contributing to the Network,” Karlee said. 

Reach out to Karlee for RUN media and communications enquiries at 

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