Excellence in a new ERA

Posted on March 12, 2011

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La Trobe ranks among Australia’s top eight universities in the biological sciences according to the recently announced Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) report.

Leading La Trobe research ranges from helping combat auto-immune diseases and malaria to developing pest resistant plants and tackling bio-security issues.

Of the 34 universities surveyed, La Trobe scored an ERA rating of five, the highest rating possible, which places the University well above world standard in life sciences.

All up, says Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Tim Brown, the ERA results – the most comprehensive research exercise ever undertaken in Australia – confirm La Trobe as one of the nation’s leading research universities. 

In the field of biochemistry and cell biology research, La Trobe was the only university in Australia to receive a top score of five.

Condensed matter physics – a high-profile field in which researchers work very closely with our biological scientists –also attained a top score of five.

These ranking are a clear endorsement of the University’s research strengths as construction begins on the $94 million La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science (LIMS) on the Melbourne campus.

Building is also well underway for the $288 million nearby Agribio Centre, and work on the $60 million La Trobe Rural Health School in Bendigo begins shortly.

Professor Brown describes the ERA result as ‘excellent news’. ‘It confirms our investment strategy is travelling well and that our reputation for creating valuable research outcomes is being enhanced.’

Professor Brown says human movement and sports science also attained a top score of five.

‘There was also a strong performance in the humanities with above world standard – a four rating – in history, archaeology, language, communication and culture.

‘The overarching goal at La Trobe is to produce research that has positive and lasting impacts on society at all levels, and with that aim in mind we use the scarce resources at our disposal very carefully,’ says Professor Brown.

‘These results are very helpful as they will assist us in further refining our research strategy towards building critical mass in areas of excellence,’ he added.

The full report can be found at the Australian Research Council website.