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The current research training system (RTS) seems to be working reasonably well, producing high quality and innovative researchers in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (ASSH). One challenge that the sector faces is ensuring the appropriateness of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) scholarship, for those graduates not wishing to pursue an academic career, given the diversity of employment roles that ASSH researchers may pursue: e.g. in government, industry, NGOs, the arts and the public sector.
Working with industry and employers to produce graduates with transferable skills and “real-world” experience would ensure that Australia continues to produce programs and graduates that are internationally competitive. Assisting HDR candidates to better understand and articulate the transferable skills they have developed through their research – from project management through stakeholder negotiation and communication – will reduce barriers to rewarding employment that draws on the skill and expertise of graduates.
One means of aligning research training resources with the value of research skills in employment beyond the academy is to offer a small proportion of HDR scholarships that are aligned to collaborative industry projects/priorities, thus ensuring that a proportion of HDR scholarship is focussed and aligned to contemporary industry-specific challenges. For example, a small proportion of funding could be allocated to professional doctorates, which are typically more closely and directly aligned to industry challenges.