The Australian Greens have called on the federal Minister for Education to immediately rule out any plans to restrict so-called "below standard" universities from accessing research funding.
"High quality, accessible public higher education and research is absolutely vital to ensuring Australia has a secure, jobs-rich economic future," Greens spokesperson for tertiary, technical and further education Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
"It is disappointing to see the Group of Eight, in their submission to the federal government's review into research, call for PhD programs to be scrapped at regional and suburban universities like Newcastle, Griffith, James Cook, Macquarie and Western Sydney.
"The Group of Eight have diagnosed the problem correctly - scarce government funding - but have come up with the wrong cure.
"Rather than unfairly limiting access students in regional areas will have for research opportunities, the Group of Eight should join with the Greens in advocating for increased higher education and research funding," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Research and innovation are critical for Australia's future productivity and economic growth," Greens research and innovation spokesperson Adam Bandt MP said.
"Under the Abbott government, investment in science, research and innovation has dropped to a 30-year low.
"Rather than limiting access to a select few, we should be doing all that we can to increase the number of Australians actively involved in research.
Brami Jegan for Lee Rhiannon 0487 350 880
Adam Pulford for Adam Bandt 0429 109 054