Strategic projects and initiatives in higher education

An overview of some strategic projects and other initiatives in higher education that are supported by the Department of Education.

Strategic Research Fund

This new initiative aims to improve research collaboration and translation of innovative research between universities and government. The Department is seeking research project proposals that support its strategic goals and research priorities, and which support improvements in outcomes for people in NSW.

Learn more about the Strategic Research Fund

Waratah Research Network

The Waratah Research Network was established by the Minister for Education in 2018 to facilitate university, government and industry partnerships to deliver impact-driven research and evidence-based outcomes for NSW and its communities. The Network includes representatives from every NSW Government cluster, as well as the NSW universities and CSIRO.

The Waratah Research website includes comprehensive information on NSW Government grants and funding, research collaboration opportunities, NSW Government priorities and strategies, and more.

Learn more about the Waratah Research Network

James Martin Institute for Public Policy

The James Martin Institute for Public Policy was established in 2019 by the NSW Government in partnership with three founding universities: University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, and Western Sydney University. The independent Institute aims to foster high-impact partnerships between policy makers, academics, industry, and community stakeholders to overcome complex policy challenges, and deliver long-lasting public benefit.

Learn more about the James Martin Institute for Public Policy

Tertiary Pathways Project

The department in conjunction with the NSW Department of Industry and NSW Skills Board developed a number of innovative pathway models from vocational education and training to higher education.

The pathways project goes beyond traditional credit transfer arrangements to promote an integrated pathway approach that provides students with options to progress to higher learning and gain meaningful workforce qualifications.

The program piloted three broad models:

  • higher apprenticeships and traineeships
  • degree apprenticeships and traineeships
  • tertiary pathways.

Learn more about the tertiary pathways project.

Regional Transitions to University

Research indicates a growing opportunity gap between high-ATAR achieving students in regional and metropolitan areas transitioning to university, despite the availability of regional universities. The trend is evident in both government and non-government schools among students who achieve ATARs of 75 and above.

The department worked with the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University to investigate how and why these students are making decisions about post-school options and identify ways to address the opportunity gap. Researchers spoke with over 500 students, parents, teachers and principals in 19 schools across regional NSW.

Learn more about the regional transitions project


  • Education support operations

Business Unit:

  • Education and Skills Reform
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