The strategic theme for the College of Business in 2014 is ‘Globally Engaged’. Enlarging upon this idea, the College’s annual Research Showcase adopted the theme of ‘Research Goes Global’.
Our aim was not only to demonstrate the excellent research already undertaken in other countries, but also to encourage academic staff to learn more about how to ‘go offshore’ for research purposes.
A further aim of the showcase was to create awareness of the services and support available for undertaking international research. The three-day program featured keynote addresses, panel sessions, staff presentations and competitions, all oriented towards the theme of global engagement in research. It was fascinating to hear staff talk about their collaborations and the knowledge they gained in pursuing research outside Australia.
It might be asked why College researchers ought to ‘go global’. One response is that all good research in the social sciences involves an international or global perspective of one kind or another. Research that is at the cutting edge of a field is rarely recognised outside an international context, whether theoretical or practical.
Reflection on such problems gives greater substance to the work, and the work is of greater intellectual value if it is based within a larger comparative or theoretical perspective. Such research problems also attract a greater number of international readers. Even applied research on apparently specific local issues will benefit from drawing upon perspectives gained from a global review of similar problems. From a personal point of view, engaging in research offshore allows researchers to gain greater confidence in their ability both to find their way about challenging environments, and to draw significant conclusions from these experiences.
Collaborative international research has other advantages. Collaboration enables the individual researcher to draw upon more diverse views about the problems they are addressing. At the heart of most published research is the secret, but often suppressed, desire for others to read, cite, and comment upon one’s research. If we want other academics to read one’s published papers, we need to keep in mind, that co-authored papers generally attract a wider readership and higher citation rates. This outcome has the flow on effect of building the reputation of the College, with one further consequence being that greater numbers of academics and prospective PhD candidates may be drawn to us. Such research literally puts us ‘on the map’ of places that have to be visited by other scholars. Furthermore, there is often larger grant funding available for collaborative international research, which means that the researchers can embark upon more sophisticated programs of work.
As a university that is ‘global’ in its mission and practice, RMIT offers numerous opportunities for engaging in research outside Australia. The various campuses in Asia and the RMIT Office in Barcelona, for example, provide locations that can assist in fostering international research collaborations. The teaching programs of the College of Business, as well as the many Higher Degree by Research candidates from overseas encourage us to develop a global outlook. To foster this approach the College offers various schemes for funding staff to engage in collaborative global research. I urge you to take advantage of them and, if you have not done so already, plan to ‘go global’ with your next research project.
Geoffrey Stokes, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research.
The 2014 Business Research Showcase program can be viewed here (PDF, 370 KB)