Benefits Beyond Boundaries – The True Value of Research in Victoria’s Parks and Reserves

Location: Melbourne, VIC

Duration: 5 months (Part-time available)

Proposed start date: July 2018

Keywords: Economic Analysis, Data Collection, Data Analysis, Report Writing, Communication

Please note: Due to funding requirements, students must have Australian Citizenship or Permanent Residency to apply. Any applicants not meeting this requirement will automatically be deemed ineligible for this project.

Project Background

Victoria’s parks and reserves have been created for a range of purposes, including nature conservation, recreation and research.  While the value and importance of conservation and recreation activities are reasonably well-understood, knowledge of the value of research is not. And yet, a large amount of research is undertaken in Victoria’s parks and reserves. Annually, approximately 500 research permits are issued and there are currently 689 active permits and this issues 8000 researchers in the field.

Large amounts of funding from government and non-government organisations, private business and the broader community, as well as provision of facilities, equipment, access, technical and administrative support and other in-kind contributions are all necessary for the successful delivery of this research. This investment has never been accurately quantified. To date, our understanding of this investment has been based on crude estimates.

Researchers are also a large stakeholder group in their own right, with expectations of a particular type of customer service including park access, safety inductions and timely permit issuing. They provide significant economic and other benefits into Victoria’s parks and reserves and the broader Victorian community. These benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Economic contribution to local, regional and Victorian economies
  • Creation of employment opportunities
  • Education and training opportunities for students
  • Skill building for Parks Victoria staff
  • Increased scientific and technical knowledge
  • Improved efficiency and effectiveness of environmental management and conservation
  • Improved community valuing of parks and reserves
  • Healthy Parks, Healthy People

A more comprehensive understanding of the true value of research in parks is essential to ensure that appropriate resources and systems are in place to ensure effective and efficient delivery of research, and to maximise the contribution of this research to Parks Victoria and the broader community.

This project will help address this current knowledge gap by documenting, describing and quantifying the economic and other contributions that research makes to Parks Victoria and the Victorian community.

Research to be Conducted

This internship will focus on documenting, describing and quantifying the contribution of research undertaken under permit in Victoria’s parks and reserves to the Victorian community. Specifically, it will address the following questions:

  • What is the investment in research undertaken under permit in Victoria’s parks and reserves?
  • What is the economic contribution of research undertaken under permit in Victoria’s parks and reserves return to Victorian communities?
  • What other benefits does research undertaken under permit in Victoria’s parks and reserves return to Parks Victoria, and to Victorian communities?
  • What is the total value of economic and other contributions of research undertaken under permit in Victoria’s parks and reserves return to Parks Victoria, and to Victorian communities?

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following skills:

ESSENTIAL
• Knowledge of economic analysis
• Ability to quantify and value services/inputs that are not typically expressed in dollar terms
• Ability to work independently and as part of a larger team
• Ability to problem-solve
• Strong report writing and communication skills

Expected Outcomes

This project will identify and implement an approach to document, describe and quantify:
• The economic value of research undertaken under permit in Victoria’s parks and reserves
• The economic contribution of research undertaken under permit in Victoria’s parks and reserves return to Victorian communities
• Other benefits research undertaken under permit in Victoria’s parks and reserves returns to Parks Victoria, and to Victorian communities
• The total value of economic and other contributions of research undertaken under permit in Victoria’s parks and reserves return to Parks Victoria, and to Victorian communities

This information will be provided in a report that:
• Describes the methods used and the rationale for those methods
• Presents the results of analysis undertaken using the methods identified
• Discusses the results, their application, limitations and opportunities for enhancing the approach into the future

The intern will also give a formal presentation at the end of the project. The presentation will include methods used, results obtained and the strengths and limitations of the approach and the results.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

To participate in the APR.Intern program, all applicants must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be a PhD student currently enrolled at an Australian university
  • PhD candidature must be confirmed
  • Applicants must have the written approval of their Principal Supervisor to undertake the internship. This approval must be submitted at the time of application.
  • Internships are also subject to any requirements stipulated by the student’s and the academic mentor’s university
Applications Close

 26 June 2018

Reference

INT – 0449