Importance of research higher degree training availability in rural and remote regions

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    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Aims: This commentary contends that research by higher degree research training is a sustainable strategy for capacity building the rural and remote health research workforce, provided they have equitable opportunity for access, participation and attainment. Context: The path for health professionals into academic roles, particularly in rural and remote areas, can be fraught. A strong research skill set might not form a significant component of a clinician's prior experience. Concurrently, university academic positions usually include the PhD as an essential qualification which is misaligned with the experience and skills of rural and remote applicants who are otherwise well-qualified. Approach: Higher degree researches are one mechanism for extending the research expertise and capabilities. However, non-traditional and remotely located cohorts such as the rural and remote health research workforce can face barriers to accessing, participating in and successfully completing formal research training. Barriers include the prevalence of the apprenticeship model of research training grounded in assumptions of colocation and face-to-face learning and supervision and a focus on the binary relationship between supervisors and students. In this commentary, the authors call for greater flexibility and equity in the higher degree research training system to cater for health professionals located in rural and remote practice contexts. Conclusion: Institutional investment in, and commitment to, a truly distributed higher degree research model would ensure a stronger rural and remote workforce who can aspire to a range of career options and thereby positively impacting on the health and research outcomes for rural and remote Australia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)306-310
    Number of pages5
    JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


    • higher degree research
    • policy
    • remote and rural education
    • research and education
    • rural workforce development


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