Funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant between December 2016 to June 2022, the ARC Value in Operations research project radically advances the body of procurement knowledge by developing a novel suite of whole-of-life procurement decision-making theories, models and tools for the delivery of schools.
The application of this body of procurement knowledge by public and private school operators is designed to advance educational outcomes in relation to the total cost of the built environment for the school. This is vital to Australia’s future prosperity given a growing population. The project’s success in developing the body of procurement knowledge to deliver new schools with significantly improved value is validated using a new approach measuring the contribution of schools’ facilities to educational outcomes, while accounting for their total production costs and transaction costs i.e., “Value Rating Tool”.
The six education departments in this research project operate over 6,000 schools and Goss (2022) considers that well over 400 new schools will be needed to accommodate 650,000 more students by 2026. The Value Rating Tool and other theories, models and tools developed and applied in this project meet an acute need for meaningful guidance in effectively and efficiently spending capital and recurrent funding in schools.
The research project is a collaboration of significant scale, comprising three universities – Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University New South Wales (UNSW) and the University of Melbourne (UoM) and 17 partner organisations. Project partners are Infrastructure Australia; four state departments of Treasury and/or Finance (NSW, QLD, VIC, and WA); six state and territory departments of education (ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, VIC, and WA); and six private sector organisations representing the full spectrum of school delivery (GRC Quantity Surveyors; Bickerton Masters Architecture; Capella Capital; Lendlease Building; Lidunian Partners; and Spotless Services).
A Project Advisory Committee including executives and senior managers from the partner organisations was established to act as an advisory panel for the project. The combined expertise and experience of these panel members enabled the receipt of informed advice, stakeholder perspectives, and reviews of the functions and operations of the research. In particular, the Project Advisory Committee meetings provided a forum where the research team could present progress reports and test the development of new theories, models and tools. Project Advisory Committee meetings were held typically on two occasions in each year of the project. There was a total of 12 Project Advisory Committee meetings. The final Project Advisory Committee meeting was held on 3 June 2022.
In addition, the Project Research Team including senior university-based members of the project oversaw the implementation of the research that incorporated the project management plan and program, including ethics approval and compliance and maintenance of the project’s website. The Project Research Team was led by Associate Professor Adrian Bridge (QUT) who chaired 50 project research team meetings attended by the project’s Chief Investigators and the project’s Research Associate. The last of these meetings to finalise the draft of this research project report was held on 27 May 2022.
At the final project research team meeting, the project research team members responsible for the month-to-month implementation of the grant comprised:
- Associate Professor Adrian Bridge – Project Lead Chief Investigator (QUT)
- Professor Jill Franz – Chief Investigator (QUT)
- Associate Professor Peter Verhoeven – Chief Investigator (QUT)
- Associate Professor Riza Sunindijo – Chief Investigator (UNSW)
- Professor Lihai Zhang – Chief Investigator (UoM)
- Dr Linda Carroli – Research Associate (QUT).
Other members of the project research team at the time of the final project research team meeting comprised:
- Adjunct Professor Martin Skitmore – Chief Investigator (QUT)
- Associate Professor Vaughan Coffey – Chief Investigator (QUT).
The original members of the project research team included researchers that withdrew from their project research position during the project, namely:
- Adjunct Associate Professor Hilary Hughes (formerly a Chief Investigator when an Associate Professor at QUT)
- Professor Martin Loosemore (formerly a Chief Investigator when at UNSW)
- Nora Kinnunen (formally the project’s Research Associate when at QUT).
This research is funded by the Australian Government, Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Program (project ID: LP160100259), and by the partners.