Foundation Tackles Rural Challenges

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4th November 2009, 04:03pm - Views: 974

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Foundation tackles rural challenges

RMIT University in Hamilton has secured $360,000 in funding to establish the

Potter Rural Community Research Network in south-west Victoria.

The network will drive a research agenda focused on how rural enterprises and

communities can best respond to uncertainty and increasingly complex challenges.

RMIT will build rural research capacity in the region, providing an evidence base to

inform better decisions on-farm and across the region, through local business,

community, planning and government policy.

Dr Paul Collits, RMIT Hamilton’s Regional Development Research Fellow, said:

“The community-focused, bottom-up research agenda is the first of its kind in the

region, and also creates a new platform at RMIT Hamilton as part of our centre’s

growing focus on rural futures.”

Funded by The Ian Potter Foundation and the Handbury Foundation, the project

will run over three years, with the aim of developing a sustainable network and

enduring results.

The project builds on the original Potter Farmland Project (PFP), which this year

marked its 25th anniversary. The PFP was the first major country project

undertaken by The Ian Potter Foundation, initially providing funding for local

farmers for land protection and natural resource management.

Mrs Janet Hirst, Chief Executive Officer of The Ian Potter Foundation, said the

foundation was pleased to see the new project get underway.

“The Foundation has developed a strong working relationship with RMIT Hamilton

through the evaluation of the Potter Farmland Plan and the development the PFP

archive,” Mrs Hirst said.

“This program will help to further build on the experimental learning and

collaborative approach of the PFP in a structured and sustainable way, and ensure

that the project’s legacy endures for years to come.”  

The research network will be officially launched in February 2010, with RMIT

University Hamilton currently working to establish a community reference group

and secure two PhD research students for the project.

Potential PhD students, and interested community members, are encouraged to

contact the University. 

For interviews: RMIT University Hamilton Manager Community Partnerships

and Projects, Dr Kaye Scholfield, or RMIT University Hamilton Regional

Development Research Fellow, Dr Paul Collits, (03) 5572 0500.

For general media enquiries: RMIT University Hamilton Communications

Officer, Rachel McDonald, (03) 5572 0505.

4 November, 2009

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