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Quality of Research Determination 2021

On 12 July 2021, the Minister for Education and Youth approved the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (Quality of Research) Determination 2021.

This legislative instrument complements new research quality criteria included in the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 for the Australian University category.

It provides clarity around the research quality indicators that TEQSA will have regard to in relation to an entity or provider that is registered in, or is seeking registration for, the ‘Australian University’ category.

The determination is not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive, and TEQSA may consider other relevant evidence of research quality not listed in the determination.

Consultation

In April 2021, TEQSA published a consultation paper on the TEQSA website, including a list of matters proposed to be included in the determination, asking for submissions by 28 April 2021. A total of 42 submissions were received and considered when drafting the final determination.

Frequently asked questions

Why has TEQSA made this determination?

This determination provides clarity around the research quality indicators, as outlined in Part B of the Higher Educations Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021, that TEQSA will have regard to in relation to an entity or provider that is registered in, or is seeking registration for, the Australian University category.

Will TEQSA be proposing a legislative instrument for the University College category?

No. TEQSA’s power to make the legislative instrument is specifically tied to assessing the quality of research undertaken by a provider which is registered, or applies to be registered, in the Australian University category. As such, TEQSA can not and will not be proposing a legislative instrument for the University College category.

Why has TEQSA not defined several terms in the determination? 

While TEQSA also considered the inclusion of definitions for other terms in the determination, TEQSA concluded that the relevant terms have a generally accepted plain language meaning and do not require specific definitions.

Why does this determination not include TEQSA’s broader approach to assessing research?

During the consultation, several submissions raised broader issues about TEQSA’s approach to assessing research. These included questions about how TEQSA will map fields of research and fields of education, whether the determination would lead to the duplication of existing data collections, whether TEQSA would provide a pathway for prospective entrants to the Australian University category to undertake an ERA-like assessment, and TEQSA’s approach to collecting information about the matters in the determination.

These broader issues go beyond the purpose of the determination, which is to describe matters which TEQSA must consider when assessing the quality of research at a regulated entity. However, TEQSA will continue to work closely with the higher education sector to ensure that its approach to assessments covered by the determination is clear and avoids duplication. TEQSA will place particular emphasis on existing assessments (including ERA) and data collections, and will calibrate its approach to each regulated entity by reference to the entity’s maturity and risk profile.

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