University students
University students Brett Wortman

Call for $20 million boost to regional universities

THE regional higher education sector has called for $20 million to help university development and innovation in regional areas.

A new policy position paper from the Regional Universities Network outlines plans for a new innovation and engagement network.

The network would bring regional universities, such as CQU and Southern Cross University, into the "centre of facilitating and strengthening regional economic development".

As part of the proposal, the RUN has called for universities to be included on regional committees, with extra funding from the Regional Development Australia stream.

"It is critical that regional communities and their universities are at the heart of their skills and workforce development solutions, as well as regional development more broadly," the paper reads.

"Among other functions, universities have an important role to play in ensuring that teaching and learning in regions is aligned with regional employment and workforce development."

The paper calls for funding, on top of existing higher education funding, to back the Network for Regional Innovation and Engagement, to help business, councils, schools and government share ideas.

It would see new "knowledge exchange officers" employed at regional universities to help local towns capitalise on existing industries and find new economic opportunities.