How Macquarie University is doubling commercial deals on research projects through a focus on engagement and collaboration

It’s no secret that Australian universities are at the forefront of delivering excellence in research and innovation globally. For decades, the Australian Higher Education sector has advanced a research culture and system that has been responsible for world-leading breakthroughs.

And with the spending and investment in research set to rise in the next 12 months, now is the time for Australia to make big advances in research innovation.

According to a recent report by PwC, worldwide research and development spending increased by 3.2 per cent in 2017, totaling to a spend of $702 billion globally. Locally, the Australian Government is investing $10.3 billion in research and experimental development over the next 12 months.

So what does this mean for the research development sector?

While increased investment is sure to bring about benefits, it is also driving increased competition between universities for their share of funding. In turn, increasing business communication and engagement strategies to create meaningful outcomes and real value propositions has never been more important.

But according to Anna Grocholsky, Director, Commercialisation and Innovation at Macquarie University, it’s not all about the money.

“Money talks, but our objective at Macquarie University is to provide research with purpose. ROI is not just financial. It’s about value, engagement and collaboration as well,” she says.

Over the last two years, Macquarie University has doubled their commercialisation deals and has secured partnerships with companies such as the Voice Project and Bayer.

AnnaAhead of the 3rd Annual Research Innovation Summit 2018, Anna shares how her team has rolled-out programs focused on research, engagement, impact and how they are fostering a start-up mind-set to ensure research innovation and success.

A brief overview of Macquarie University’s research framework

“Macquarie University has an organisation-wide framework called Framing Futures which is based on  ensuring that our University is the place that people want to come to. Whether it’s a new student, undergrad or post-doc, a research academic, a professional staff member or industry partner; we want to be renowned as the place that people want to be and connect with.

Under this vision we have developed a research framework and strategy with priorities and themes outlining what our core capabilities are. This framework has been developed to encourage cross-faculty engagement and ensure research is undertaken with a planned purpose.

We also have a research engagement, impact and commercialisation framework. While our strategy is important, at the end of the day, I want to turn ideas into reality. These ideas have to be products/services that people want or need at a price that is affordable. We want to make a difference, inspire creative solutions and achieve maximum impact.”

Research with a purpose:  building engagement and connections with industry

“Our objective is to undertake more research through partnerships and developing an understanding of what is needed in society for industry and end-users.

We’ve just started to recruit a few partnership managers. Their remit is to understand the capabilities of researchers and work closely with Faculty staff and other Macquarie University departments to enhance the  impact of research projects.

At present, the onus tends to be on the researcher to get a funding deal. If they could be introduced to industry partners they might not have spoken to before, they may undertake research with more of a planned purpose.

In saying that, I don’t want researchers to just follow the latest pot of gold. Pure research is also essential.  Solving fundamental problems allowing one to collectively leapfrog to get to that next level. There is fundamental research that needs to be proven. It doesn’t have to have an implication and an impact straightaway, but it needs to be done.”

Moving beyond monetary ROI

“Return on Investment is not just financial, it’s about value, engagement and collaboration as well. IP protection is a big part of our strategy at Macquarie. We need patent protection to get industry to step up and invest money on a long term journey with us. A patent can give industry guidance and security to invest in research and development.

In our contracts, we ask Licensees to come back and do research with us, and that they acknowledge Macquarie University in the work we have done. This is a return on investment that’s not directly monetary.”

Challenges in ensuring commercialisation of research projects

“Academics are experts in their field. The unfortunate fact is, when it comes to collaboration, especially with other universities, we can’t regulate our academics. We are service providers and our role is to be there when they need us.

A lot of my job is educating researchers that I’m here to help. Rather than asking researchers if they are working on something that’s patentable, I ask:  are you working on something that could benefit society or could be of commercial interest? By taking this approach at Macquarie we’re turning things around. We have quadrupled the workload and doubled the number of commercialisation deals over the past two years.

It comes down to effective collaboration and communication. Asking the questions: Is the research commercially viable? If it is, how can we get bridge that gap from bench to reality? Who do we need to partner with? What is the best vehicle to get there?

In parallel, it’s also important to consider: is the research patentable? Should we protect it? Often, a lot of tech transfer offices think that commercialisation is just the end of the journey. It’s not. Research should have a planned purpose or goal to achieve.”

Ensuring communication throughout the entire research lifecycle

“Communication is crucial to research innovation an­d success. We have a lot of information on our website to help people and we always share good news and success stories.

I also do roadshows quite often. I find that if you schedule a meeting and secure a lecture room, it’s often on semester break, so no one turns up. Instead, I invite myself to team meetings. It reminds people that I exist. We supply researchers laboratory notebooks which have a little blurb on the back to say remember to talk to the Office of Commercialisation and Innovation before you publish your ideas. When someone reports an invention to us, we present them with a coffee cup with the Macquarie University logo and ‘I’m an innovator” on it.

It’s also important to be upfront with expectations. Once expectations are set, it’s also helpful to follow up, thank them and provide regular progress reports.”

Interested in learning more?

Join Anna at the 3rd Annual Research Innovation Summit 2018 where she will further explore initiatives of the Office of Commercialisation and Innovation at Macquarie University.



For more information please visit or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email



Designing classrooms for the modern learner: How Silverton Primary School is co-creating flexible learning spaces with students

Over the last couple of decades, Silverton Primary School has constructed new learning spaces to incorporate and accommodate new technologies and pedagogies to reflect student needs.

According to Diane Rickard, Head Teacher at the primary school located in Victoria, the design for these new learning spaces all stemmed from the simple question asked to children: what ways can we better your learning?

Ahead of the 7th Annual New Generation Learning Space Design Summit 2018, Diane shares the strategies her school is using to design personalised and innovative student learning spaces and the steps they have taken to successfully integrate new technology into classroom design to improve student engagement.

Designing learning spaces that reflect modern student needs

 “The Student Voice is a big part of the way we are designing and transforming learning spaces at Silverton Primary School. We have involved the children to help us a lot with the set-up of our learning centres.  In our learning centres, there are four corners and a huge middle space down the middle. We use a lot of flexible spaces.

The furniture is also very moveable. It’s varied inside; it’s varied in colour. There are traditional tables in lecture-style, but we also use a lot of stable-tables because we find the kids like to work on the floor, whether it is lying on their stomachs, sitting down or standing-up. So they can either stand or do their work or they can sit up on a high stool.

We also have beanbags, couches and a café-style booth that children can sit in to do work. They find it easier to listen and communicate with each other in this type of space. Within our learning spaces, we also have different areas for different types of work and learning.

For example, we might have a conference area set-up where children can speak one-on-one or with a smaller group or bigger group. Our learning centre has been designed so that we can fit whole 120 children together if we need to speak to them.  The learning centre also has breakout rooms where children can work individually if they need to.

There are also projectors within the learning space. There are four projectors to walls and there are moveable projectors that are on trolleys. The three–six student area has one-to-one laptops, so they have their own laptop; but then there is a trolley within each learning space where there are more laptops for the children to use. We also have a media centre within our school out of the learning space for the children to use.

In addition, every learning centre has a cooking space with ovens, microwaves, all those sorts of things in there that the kids can use.”

Integrating new technology into design to boost engagement

“Silverton School has a one-to-one notebook program, so the three–six students can either bring their own device or they can buy outright buy a device from us. We use the notebooks in conjunction with programs such as Office 365 and other things like Minecraft to help the children with their learning.  We also have coding programs and animation programs and we show these programs on the interactive whiteboard and students go along with it on their laptops.

We also do a lot of robotics within our school as well. Students can use their laptops and tablets to program robots to do things or move parts. We do digital literacies at Silverton as well, so students can either do a documentary – from the filming to the writing to the editing.”

Experimenting with pedagogy in the digital space

“One of the additional things we have trialled this year at Silverton is online learning. We have a Chinese teacher at our school, but with the five–six students, we decided to change it up and we’re actually doing Chinese language learning online. This means students Skype another teacher from our sister school in China.

We had another program called Over the Back Fence where we Skyped students in New Zealand, so we would run a lesson for them and then they would run a lesson for us with a group of children. We also participate in kids teaching kids every year, where children attend the Water Conference and they do a lot of Skyping; and other activities online like blogs etc.

Staff use OneNote and so we can all our programs and shared resource online to collaborate and share ideas.”

Overcoming challenges along the way

“Introducing the one-to-one notebook program within our school was a big step that we had to take and we knew challenges would arise from the changes associated. The challenges involved the logistics like ensuring that students’ devices were charged or that they had their device at school.  There was always the issue of viruses being connected to the internet at home and school on the same device.

Another challenge is sometimes devices might be broken, so then we had to send them away and the student was left without a device. This was probably the biggest learning curve and the biggest challenge for us.

We also had to collaborate on an agreement around use of devices with students. We created a contract with the children and we went though it step by step explaining what they were allowed to use the device for at school.”

Bringing staff along the journey

“We’ve come up with something called the Silverton Pathway; which contains every program, topic and collaborative teaching skill our teachers might need.

The pathway covers everything needed to be an all-round teacher at Silverton and enables staff to be able to teach the Silverton Way. It’s our way of ensuring that the skills are there for the teachers and the understanding is there as well.

Timetabling is another big part of this. For example, if someone needs to go in the Media Centre effective timetabling allows us to ensure the space is there. We also have tech support and two media teachers’ full time. We have up-skilled a few of our staff to be experts and then that will filter down to the rest of the teaching staff.”

Interested in learning more?

Join Diane at the 7th Annual New Generation Learning Space Design Summit 2018 where she will further explore:

  • Designing spaces to reflect the modern student’s needs, choices, expectations and digital capabilities
  • Creating multimodal learning spaces to enhance collaborative and self-directed learning
  • Experimenting with pedagogy and the digital space to transition courses
  • Investigation into mobile-intensive pedagogies in school: a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) trend
  • Challenges teachers face in the digital education evolution

For more information visit or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email




Attracting Students Through Spaces that Accommodate Lifestyle and Education

Australia is one of the world’s most attractive destinations for international students. In the past few years our universities have experienced record growth in international enrolments, contributing some $15 billion to our nation’s economy per annum.

To remain competitive in the battle to attract the best and brightest talents, both locally and from abroad, universities are investing in student experience; with new student accommodation facilities and campus life playing a key role.

Ahead of the Student Accommodation Summit 2018 we chat to Lisa Howard, Studio Principal at Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL). In this article Lisa shares details of Monash University’s Clayton Campus upgrade and delves into the benefits of investing in new student accommodation facilities that optimise students’ university experience.

Meeting modern needs

“While we’re seeing a real shift in university life and culture all over the world, in Australia in particular, where many of our universities, like Monash, La Trobe and RMIT, were set up as institutes in the 1960s and 70s, we’re seeing a period of growth, expansion and infrastructure investment to help meet modern standards and student needs,” explains Lisa.

“In an age of online and off-campus learning, university landscapes are now playing a critical role in both attracting and retaining staff and students and fostering meaningful engagement, conversation and participation.

Most universities had offsite student accommodation when they were initially established, and over the years these facilities tended to be neglected as they weren’t deemed a priority. However, over the past decade or so, with the rise in international student enrolments, many universities are now taking the time to reassess their accommodation offerings and campus facilities in an effort to better appeal to the growing numbers of international students arriving.

Increasingly, and I think this stems predominantly from competition within the tertiary education sector, the offerings, facilities and amenities that universities provide are becoming a key differentiating factor for both the international and domestic markets. Students are now looking at how a university can offer them more than a learning experience – they want the social and community aspects that come with it.

What this means from an architectural perspective is that we’re seeing a trend toward relocating student accommodation from offsite, dislocated areas to the campuses themselves in an effort to create more embedded accommodation precincts. By doing this, universities can provide somewhere for students to not only sleep, but also places where they can occupy their time and socialise on campus. By creating creative, engaging and innovative spaces, both in internal and outdoor areas, we’re seeing improved engagement, experience and overall student happiness.”

Read More 

Download the full article with Lisa to learn more about:

  • The benefits of providing new accommodation within close proximity to campus
  • Meeting modern student needs by providing living, learning and social amenities
  • Overcoming the challenges of project delivery with minimal impact on ‘business as usual’

Learn More 

Join Lisa, along with over 20 other student accommodation experts from the likes of the University of St. Andrews (UK), University of Auckland (New Zealand), Deakin Residential Services, Scape, the University of Melbourne, Hayball and Colliers International on the 27th– 28th of March in Melbourne at the Student Accommodation Summit 2018. 

Transforming learning spaces through Virtual Reality implementation at UNSW

Over the last decade, higher education institutions have invested heavily in incorporating new technologies into classroom design, creating innovative learning spaces that provide both formal and informal learning opportunities.

More recently, the emergence of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) is taking this to the next level, with universities beginning to think about how virtual instructions can be combined with physical learning spaces to enhance student exploration, collaboration and discussion.

VR and AR activities can range from sitting in a swivel chair or standing at a table displaying holographic content to navigating a complex virtual space and interacting with digital objects. All of these activities require redesigning and rethinking learning spaces.

While Australian universities are still in the relatively early stages of incorporating VR and AR into learning space design, many have already been experimenting with how this new immersive technology can be harnessed to improve student learning outcomes and engagement.

The University of New South Wales is has been trialing the use of VR in its School of Mining Engineering for some time, with the aim to provide students with a personalised learning experience that goes beyond traditional education methods.

Developed in conjunction with industry partners for training purposes, UNSW’s VR Suite consists of floor-to-ceiling screens, the VR Simulator – also referred to as the Advanced Visualisation and Interaction Environment (AVIE) – and casts 360-degree 3D images against the dark surrounds with cinematic clarity.

“UNSW is constantly trying new things. Specifically in the Mining Engineering space, VR has been implemented as an application for learning. Because a lot of mines are in the middle of nowhere they are difficult for students to visit. VR is providing us with that spatial awareness and on-site experience in the confines of our classroom,” says Alexander Mayer, Student Ambassador at UNSW.

But despite its benefits, like any technology implementation project, rolling-out VR is not without challenges.

“The VR model developed at UNSW was the first in its field and there was no example we could use as a basis for the project. Most of the time it was trial and error, which was a challenge,” says Seher Ata, Associate Professor / Virtual Reality Program Developer at UNSW.

Ahead of the 7th Annual New Generation Learning Space Design Summit 2018 , Seher and Alex share insight into their experience of using VR in learning space design.

Below, Alex shares insight into how VR and the personalisation of spaces has transformed his educational career and Seher explores the steps her faculty has taken to integrate VR into learning space design to improve overall student engagement.

Rolling-out VR in a physical learning space

Seher: Over the past 15 years the UNSW School of Mining has been investigating and implementing new immersive technologies to improve the student learning experience. It began as a project only for graduates, but over the years it has expanded to encompass all students.

The School’s first VR Simulator consisted of a large computer screen, virtual-reality eyewear and a hand-held simulator to guide students through various safety scenarios in a mine environment. In 1999, a flat-screen ‘proof of concept’ was deployed and subsequent funding was provided by industry through the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP).This concept was further refined and successfully installed across the NSW Mines Rescue training facilities.

The VR Simulator, referred to as AVIE, was developed by Professor Jeffrey Shaw’s iCinema team at UNSW’s Interactive Cinema Research Centre. The School of Mining Engineering immediately saw the potential in AVIE, and deployed it for student use and industry training. Industry interest in AVIE soon led to the development of additional modules over the following years, simulating a range of different mining scenarios that could be safely explored within this controlled environment.

The benefit of VR for students

Seher: We actively use VR in our teaching in the School of Mining. Working with both AVIE and the iDome results in a high-impact, immersive learning experience for all who enter the VR Suite. But possibly most exciting for us is the potential for our students to go beyond the textbook and the lecture hall, to safely experience unforgettable lessons first hand – creating a memorable foundation for a rewarding career.

VR is providing our students with an imagination to go beyond what a traditional classroom provides. It is an exciting experience and we have seen the new technology really motivates students as well.

Alex: ViMINE is a tool for mining engineering students to experience various aspects of a mining operation working together, integrating several types of simulation into one environment.

It is an amazing tool and the Mining School has developed a number of different learning modules around it. For example, hazard awareness. Mines can be a dangerous place and research has shown that a lot of accidents in mines occur around inexperienced people.

Hazard awareness is quite easy to look at in a PowerPoint slide or on paper. But if you can actually walk around in VR and identity the hazards yourself without physically putting yourself in that hazardous situation, it is a massive bonus to use students. Eventually, we will be sent out into the field and will have to identify these hazards ourselves on the job.

Another example is we can use VR to do a pre-start check for a truck. Mining equipment is worth millions of dollars, so using VR we are able to walk around, check the truck, jump inside it and drive it around is very beneficial. We get to experience what it like to be there in person and what it feels like to drive a hundred ton truck.

It’s great for the students and also for the university because it promotes a unique learning experience. VR also communicates big data in a way that is easy to understand. In engineering, there is a lot of big data and sometimes it’s quite hard to process on a spreadsheet.

Through VR, students are able to get the spatial awareness and physically see what seismic activity is, how it affects a mine and also how to deal with it. There is big data visualisation and training that comes with that.

When it comes to VR, the limits are endless. If you can dream it you can make it. If you can’t dream it, you can’t make it. This is a great thing to say to mining students because VR is providing them with a way to apply their VR experiences to the learning process.

If you’re interested in reading more, download the full article here


For more information about the 7th Annual New Generation Learning Space Design Summit 2018, download the brochure here or visit

6 strategies Australian Universities are using to design and develop collaborative and flexible learning spaces

Over the last decade learning spaces have evolved from traditional lecture style classrooms to technology-enabled environments that promote collaborative learning.

But no matter what stage you are at, designing and developing learning spaces is an ever evolving journey – and one that never stops.

As new technologies continue to emerge (think Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in more recent times), the way that students learn and engage is going to continue to change.

In order to keep up, universities must constantly look for new and innovative ways of teaching and focus on how to design environments that are flexible enough to accommodate and create a dynamic, flexible, technology-rich and collaborative style of learning.

With this in mind, we take a look at six key strategies universities across Australia are using to design and develop flexible and collaborative learning spaces to enhance the learning experience and improve learning outcomes.

Ahead of the7th Annual Learning Space Design Summit 2018, Macquarie University, Charles Sturt University and the University of Adelaide share insight into the top strategies needed to design and roll-out learning spaces that support 21st century learning.

  1. Involve students in the design process

“One thing that is really important when it comes to learning space design, is to start with a blank sheet. Start by asking your students: what is missing? What could we do to make your learning experience better?

Some of the information we gleaned from this processes was the frustration they had with current things we were providing. Our aim was to keep the slate clean, so students could provide ideas that nobody had ever thought about.

This was important, because we wanted students to feel free to talk to our student ambassadors about their ideas an concerns, which they might not have been comfortable to discuss with management or architects.

During the process, we also had a lot of communication with students via social media. We also ran workshops where we paid students to come and brainstorm ideas. It was a genuine process – not just a form of feedback, but an actual co-creation processes where we started from nothing and together we worked with the student to figure out what would work better.”

Pascale Quester, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic), University of Adelaide

2. Promote collaborative engagement

“At Macquarie University we’re moving into agile and responsive spaces that are based on the needs of learners. This creates the opportunity for collaborative engagement not only amongst students, but also for the educators working with them. Encouraging collaboration allows for project-based learning to occur in an authentic space.

For example, instead of having rows of desk and the knowledge standing at the front of a classroom, spaces are being adapted to promote collaborative engagement and in response to the needs of the learner rather than the teacher.

The learning space is changing as we move away from large theatres and lecture rooms to designing  rooms and spaces focused around facilitating collaboration.”

Professor Iain Hay, Director Professional, Learning and Engagement, Macquarie University

To read the remaining tips from Macquarie University, The University of Adelaide and Charles Sturt University download the full eBook here 


For more information about the 7th Annual New Generation Learning Space Design Summit 2018 check out the agenda here or visit 

5 ways to strengthen your international student recruitment and marketing strategy

While Australia has been making leaps and bounds in its ability to attract international students, it is facing stiff competition from a growing list of countries interested in boosting international enrolments.

This increased competition, coupled with increased global student mobility and internationalisation, means it has never been more important for higher education institutions and TAFEs across Australia to ensure they stay ahead of the latest marketing and recruitment techniques to remain competitive and relevant in a rapidly changing industry.

In light of this, we’ve compiled 5 top strategies higher education institutions can consider to strengthen their international student recruitment and marketing strategies, based on research ahead of the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2018.

  1. Optimise the ROI of partnerships

Agents typically account for between 50-60% of all international student recruitments in Australia. Maximising the quality and performance of these partnerships can significantly reduce academic support costs while also improving brand reputation.

The University of Western Australia has developed an agent support team that develops relationships and analyses business performance of 1100 different recruitment agencies.

This team has improved the turn around of applications by reducing passive leads and focusing on active leads, which has significantly increased the conversion rate. They are also in the process of trialing agents with KPI’s as part of their contracts to measure the success and conversion rate of select agencies.

Find out more!

  1. Adopt marketing automation to drive engagement

Marketing automation is quickly becoming a favourable tool universities can use to engage with students based on behaviour, interests and demographics; leading to not only increased student engagement, but also reduced overall costs.

The University of Canberra have achieved great results with their marketing automation content strategy, and are now applying the principles of predictive modelling to further grow their student base. They have significantly increased customer engagement while reducing their overall costs.

Find out more!

  1. Understand the student decision-making process

Gaining insight into the 360 degree student journey has become essential for universities looking to stand out in a crowded marketplace. A better understanding of student behavior and their decision making process can lead to improved engagement and overall experience.

Steve Cohen, Academic at Edith Cowen University is in the process of finishing his PHD on the “Decision making amongst postgraduate students choosing to study in Western Australia”. In his research, Steve interviewed students from a range of developing and developed countries, and found factors that influenced the decision to study in Western Australia.

Find out more!

  1. Leverage student data to improve engagement and retention

 A lot of universities have become experts in collecting student data to gain insight into trends and behavior. But once the data is collated, what’s next?

Hotcourses Group specialise in digital technology, disrupting digital markets and providing future students with the information and content they need to make informed decisions. With only 20% of Universities tracking data, Hotcourses are uniquely positioned to provide insight into customer behaviour and characteristics.

Find out more!

  1. Up the anti on your social media presence

 We’ve all heard the phrase ‘fish where the fishes are’ when it comes to improving marketing ROI. And in a digital world, more often than not, this means reaching out and engaging with millennial students on social media platforms.

StudyAdelaide have been developing their social media presence by showing current international student’s experience. By allowing the freedom for students to create their own videos and content, they have seen a greater level of authenticity, which has resulted in more than 2 million views.

StudyAdelaide also hosted “Facebook Live” sessions that allow students to interact and discuss their experiences with future students in real-time, which has significantly improved engagement.

Find out more!

These strategies and more will be explored in further depth at the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit taking place 28-29 November in Sydney.

For more information visit or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email

Download Agenda!

Using Virtual Reality as a tool to engage and recruit prospective international students

Emerging technologies have the potential to disrupt international recruitment and marketing as we know it, as students around the globe become more digitally and mobile-savvy.

As a result, education providers need to adapt and create more sophisticated experiences when targeting prospective international students.

For Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, Virtual Reality (VR) is proving to be a great innovative tool to create a more engaging experience for students. Through the use of a VR video, students are able to completely immerse themselves in their environment; offering an authentic and compelling way to showcase their campus and faculties.

And while VR provides huge opportunities for universities to potentially boost international student numbers through a personalised experience, Monash is also using it as a tool to help international agent representatives differentiate their institution in a crowded marketplace.

“We were hoping for VR to be a great additional tool for students and parents to help them in their decision making process and to help them experience what the campus is like. It is also a great tool for agents to showcase the faculty and campus to prospective students. It’s not just about students, it’s also for our agents and career counsellors as well,” says Marlena Mende, Marketing Manager at the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at Monash University.

While implementing VR into an international student recruitment and marketing strategy is not without its challenges, it is a great example of how new technological platforms can be used to engage, attract and retain international students in an evolving digital environment.

Ahead of the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, Higher Ed IQ caught up with Marlena to find out how her team went about integrating VR into their international recruitment and marketing strategy, the stakeholder buy-in process and how they are ensuring the experience they are creating resonates with the wants and needs of international students.

What are the core elements of your faculty’s overall international student marketing strategy?

There are a number of elements that are crucial to our Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science’s international recruitment and marketing strategy. Our entire strategy us based on quality research based on student feedback as well as what is occurring in other markets globally.

For example, we consider what channels our prospective students might use in different countries. What is used in China may be different to what is used in India. We also check that channels used typically in Australia to engage with students are available in the countries we are targeting.

It is important to understand what it is like in those different countries and what students are looking for. Once we have that understanding, we try to develop an approach based on the audience’s needs and geography.

Another big focus is developing really strong, relevant and engaging content. We are making sure we tailor our content to address what the audience is looking for and what stage they are at in their learning journey.

Another key project is to ensure we have a strong mobile focus through our marketing, given that our audience is predominantly young people. Students are very much on their mobiles, they are digitally savvy and we want to ensure we provide interactive and engaging experiences via this platform. Personalisation is a big part of this, as well as understanding the student journey and where they are at in the decision making process.

We want to be able to provide the right content at the right time to students. This also involves coordinating and working with other teams throughout the university and faculties to ensure we have the right messaging at the right time.”

What types of emerging technologies are you using in your marketing strategy to engage international students via digital platforms?

“Our focus is to connect with students via traditional channels, but also digital channels as well. For example, social media channels such as Facebook. Our aim is to provide insight into what the experience is like on campus. In order to achieve this, we are encouraging our current students to engage on our social platforms as well – so they supply content to make it more authentic. There are also some more exciting and emerging technologies we have recently engaged with as well, such as VR.”

To read more, download the full article with Marlena Mende here

Join Marlena at the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, where she will further explore:

  • Lessons learnt from developing and implementing virtual reality into a marketing strategy
  • Providing an immersive and unique experience that resonates with a target audience
  • A look into the possible future marketing implications of virtual reality and augmented reality

For more information visit or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email



Using marketing automation to increase student engagement and enrolments: Insights from the University of Canberra

Today’s international students have a vast amount of information about universities at their fingertips. This means it has never been more important for higher education institutions to find creative and meaningful ways to encourage students to apply and enrol.

For the University of Canberra, the answer to effective student engagement comes down to knowing and understanding student behaviour. Over the past 3 years, Canberra University has been using marketing automation and content to respond and connect with students at different stages in the student lifecycle.

By engaging with students based on behaviour, interests and demographics; the University of Canberra has been able to not only increase student engagement, but also reduce their overall costs.

Ahead of the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, Higher Ed IQ recently caught up with Kylie McKenzie, Deputy Director Marketing and Recruitment, University of Canberra, to find out the steps her team is taking to roll-out marketing automation as part of their overall international student recruitment and marketing strategy; and the lessons learned from their progress to date.

Introducing marketing automation: the vision

“In 2015 we realised we wanted to get involved in marketing automation, but we didn’t have the capacity to do it in-house. At that stage we hired an external company to help us with Marketing Automation and we were communicating and engaging with our prospective students through content that had nothing to do with our audience. While the concept was right, the execution wasn’t.

In 2016 we purchased a Marketing Automation platform called Marketo which allowed us to create the content ourselves. While we had a better sense of what we thought was ‘good’ content, we didn’t have a great bank of content to draw on. We were learning how to use the new system while producing the content at the same time, so the automation piece became lost.

However, we learned from that experience. Over the last 12 months we have strengthened our marketing automation strategy. We now have a staff member who is dedicated to marketing automation and the development of content. We are also employing students to write the content for us, because they know best how to engage our audience. We are also now in the process of integrating Marketing Automation with native advertising and an ad-remarking strategy and we are also entering the predictive modelling space as well.

Since taking this approach, we are on track and we’re starting to see some great numbers and results.”

To read the remainder of the article to find out more about the University of Canberra’s marketing automation journey, click here

Join Kylie at the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017 where she will further explore:

  • The importance of developing content that focuses on customers’ needs
  • How predictive modelling is helping UC to understand customer journeys and enhance acquisition
  • Lessons learnt from implementing a marketing automation strategy at UC

For more information visit or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email



Insights from the Australian Research Council: Writing a Successful Grant Application by Aligning Research with Industry Pressure Points

The Australian Government has recently changed how it allocates grants for research funding and it is impacting researchers, with grant success rates dropping from some 30% to 10% in the span of 15 years.

To counteract these receding numbers a greater emphasis must be placed on aligning research with industry priority areas and on improving collaboration between industry partners.


Ahead of the Research Funding Summit 2017 we chat to Leanne Harvey, Executive General Manager at the Australian Research Council (ARC). Leanne, who led the development and implementation of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) program, is responsible for the ARC’s Research Excellence, Corporate Services and additionally oversees the development of the new national assessment of engagement.

In this Q&A Leanne explores some of the key challenges impacting Australia’s research industry, and further delves into grant writing best practice and the importance of brokering collaboration between the research industry, government, business and local and international community organisations.

What are some of the key challenges of research funding in Australia?

There are a number of key challenges impacting research and research funding at the moment.

For example, ensuring high quality research is funded, and ensuring an appropriate balance between funding of fundamental and applied research. While the funding of applied research helps answer specific questions currently affecting Australia, maintaining the funding of fundamental, curiosity driven research is equally important.

Other challenges include Assessing what kinds of environmental, cultural and economic impact research in Australia is having beyond academia and further identifying ways to encourage collaboration, particularly with industry. Although Australia is a benchmark for research excellence, it is still a minnow when it comes to commercialisation and industry partnership.

What are some of the key priority areas the ARC is looking to fund?

The ARC’s purpose is to grow knowledge and innovation for the benefit of the Australian community through funding the highest quality research, assessing the quality, engagement and impact of research and providing advice on research matters.

In seeking to achieve its purpose, the ARC supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition across all disciplines. Additionally the ARC aims to expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability through support of the National Innovation and Science Agenda and a focus on research in the Science and Research Priorities.

What criteria are considered when assessing a grant application? 

While the ARC administers the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP), which supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition, the ARC does not itself assess grant applications. We instead rely on the advice of assessors with knowledge, experience and expertise in specific disciplines.

Grant applications are assessed on a number of criteria including:

  • Quality of the investigator(s)
  • Innovation, approach and significance of the project being undertaken
  • Capacity building for Australian research
  • Feasibilitlogo-lrg

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Download the full article with Leanne to learn more about:

  • Addressing industry challenges
  • Aligning research to funding priority areas
  • Writing an effective grant application
  • Collaborating with industry partners to improve commercialisation

Learn More

Join us at the Research Funding Summit 2017

Join Leanne in Sydney on the 14th – 15th of November, along with 12 other research industry experts from the likes of the CSIRO, Queensland University of Technology, The Australian Red Cross Blood Service and the University of Sydney at the Research Funding Summit 2017.




Engaging Students through new interactive and adaptive online learning experiences at Charles Sturt University

In an age where technological change is moving at an exponential pace, online learning has taken front and centre stage in the Higher Education sector as a key way  to improve learner engagement and outcomes.

And as improvements in digital capabilities continue to evolve, universities must move beyond the traditional method of online education purely based for content provision, to a comprehensive engagement-oriented ecosystem for learning.

At Charles Sturt University, this is becoming a reality through the u!magine innovation unit’s Online Learning Model (OLM). The OLM consists of 7 elements and makes use of online technologies to engage all stakeholders holistically to ensure a connected learning experience.

Ahead of the 2nd Annual Online and eLearning Summit 2017, we caught up with Julie Lindsay, Quality Learning and Teaching Leader (Online) at Charles Sturt University, to find out the strategies being used across Charles Sturt to design and develop online learning in order to improve the student experience and maximise learner engagement.

The vision: developing an engaging online learning environment

“Our Online Learning strategy at Charles Sturt University is based around the need to provide an engaging online environment. Our focus is on engagement and interaction and this is at the centre of everything we’re doing.

We’re particularly focused on continuing to make the shift from being a distance education provider to being an online learning provider and a champion in online learning.

Online learning has a number of different learning elements and over the past year we have developed an OLM to increase student engagement, address some of the recent attrition issues we have experienced and provide more enhanced subjects and courses.

Our OLM has seven elements, which include:

  • Learning communities,
  • Interaction between students,
  • Teacher presence,
  • Interaction with professions,
  • Flexible and adaptive learning,
  • Interactive Resources, and;
  • E-assessment

Each of the seven elements of the OLM are designed to increase one or more types of engagement and combined together in varying degrees of intensity within the subjects making up a course. We are working on implementing these seven elements into subjects and courses.”

Creating flexible and adaptive learning through online platforms

 “We are using a number of strategies to facilitate flexible learning online. We’re looking at different subjects and discussing the different elements of each subject with academics. For example, asking what are the learning outcomes? What do the academics want to see happen in their subject? Based on the feedback from these questions we can then build the types of environments and courses to facilitate these needs and outcomes.

One of the main elements we focus on all the time is establishing and fostering learning communities. This involves interactions between students and teachers and looking at how we can help teachers establish an online presence and identity, right through to being a fluent online practioner and understand emerging technologies that support online learning.

Creating flexible learning for students involves a lot of conversations with academics around the appropriateness of different online learning elements for a particular subject. It is not a one-size-fits-all. It is a flexible model which can adapt in terms of the needs of students.”

Keeping learning personalised through multi-media tools

“Our Learning Management System (LMS) Blackboard has certain limitations when it comes to creating a personalised student experience. So we’re working within the LMS, but we’re also going beyond it.

We’re scaling up the look and feel of our Blackboard interface by  improving the design and presentation of our modules and working on a new discussion forum design and management within this tool.

We also have WordPress implementation happening across the University. It is called ThinkSpace and many subjects are now picking this up and using it as a blogging and journaling tool for students. This is also a tool that works in a professional context because students can export and take information away from this platform to their own WordPress website at the end of the course.

We’re also using a number of other Web 2.0 tools to provide interaction, collaboration, sharing and digital scholarships. These involve things like Twitter, Padlet, Ego, Flipgrid and VoiceThread. We are aligning these tools with the need for visibility in online learning. Tools like Flipgrid, VoiceThread and Padlet provide students with opportunities to easily post multi-media and share who they are, what they think and what resources they want to share.

It is also important to note that all these platforms can be password protected. While I tend to encourage students to make things as visible as possible, we still provide students with a choice. Some students prefer not to have work visible, so it is all part of digital censorship and digital fluency.”

Enabling students to shape their own online learning experience

“This is a big conversation in the University at the moment. Some students are telling us they just want to get the content, do the assessments, get the degree and leave when it comes to learning. Whereas other students are telling us they want to be collaborative, interact with peers and co-construct knowledge in an active, vibrant learning community.

We’re currently in a transition period where we are giving students choices to shape the type of learning experience they want. It is also important to provide opportunities for students to work with small groups. Some of our subjects have 500 students in them which can be very alienating. We’re trying to work our how we break down our learning community in smaller groups.

Some areas we are considering are: what is the best learning community size? How do we create communities within a community? How can we foster good interaction between students? This is where the understanding of the teacher presence to manage additional online tools and discussion tools is very important.”

The challenge: educating academics about the value of online learning

“Apart from the traditional student who simply wants to read a book and write an essay, the main challenge we’re facing is academics not understanding the importance of change to accommodate online learning models.

If they have not had the experience of connected and collaborative learning themselves, it is difficult for them to understand the value. The work we’re doing is to trying to affect this shift in academia as much as we can, because it is a big challenge.

To achieve this, we’re providing ongoing support and there is a program that we have to bring subjects into the OLM. We’re running professional learning and we’re scaling up certain courses across the university and taking both a course-wide and subject-wide approach to online learning.”

Interested in learning more?

Join Julie and the 2nd Annual Online and eLearning Summit 2017 where she will further explore:

  • How u!magine is supporting interactive, flexible and adaptive learning for its students
  • Leveraging multimedia tools such as Blogs, Twitter and VoiceThread to build an engaging content learning community
  • Integrating the 7 OLM elements into subjects and across courses to improve the education experience
  • Overcoming pedagogical challenges involved with content development, teacher presence and online learning modes

For more information visit or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email