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ANZSRC Research Classification (FoR and SEO) Review Consultation

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In 2019 a review and consultation was started for the Australia and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC).  From the documentation:

"The Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) is a set of three related classifications developed for use in the measurement and analysis of research and experimental development (R&D) undertaken in Australia and New Zealand. ANZSRC is used both in the public and private sectors. It allows the comparison of R&D data between sectors of the economy (e.g. general government, private non-profit organisations, business enterprises and educational institutions)."

As part of the changes, Humanitarian Engineering was a new field that was added to the 09 Engineering Field of Research (FoR) classification.  This is great recognition of the emergence of the area and would allow further investment, activities and research to be undertaken and recognised.  These are important for tracking and justifying investment and activities in broad areas of research. 

Comments on the proposed changes are welcome from individuals and organisations until February 10, 2020.  Could we have an agreed submission on the proposed changes from this group, to advocate for this change?  Should Humanitarian Engineering actually be a separate 4-digit category with then multiple 6-digit categories for specific areas (such as contexts) and activities (such as appropriate technology, M&E, capacity building, ...)?

All the proposed changes and details are attached,

anzsrc_consultation_draft_for.xlsx anzsrc_consultation_draft_seo.xlsx anzsrc_review_consultation_draft_indigenous_research.pdf anzsrc_review_consultation_draft_paper.pdf

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Hi everyone, 

Jeremy, Andrea and myself (as well as others) believe that we should recommend that Humanitarian Engineering be a 4 digit FOR code. The benefit of having a 4 digit code is that it allows higher education institutions to showcase and be evaluated in Humanitarian Engineering under the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) system. If HE is a 4 digit code then there would need to be a set of 6 digit FOR codes that fall underneath it. If interested can you please leave a comment below with your suggestions for 6 digit FOR codes relating to Humanitarian Engineering. Please make your suggestions and comments by the 4th February. I will compile these and circulate a draft recommendation letter to be submitted on the 7th February. Suggested 6 digit HE FOR codes so far include: 

  • Humanitarian Engineering Design 
  • Appropriate Technology Development
  • Emergency Response
  • Assistive technology
  • Inclusive design 
  • Humanitarian Engineering Education
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Hi Nick -- sounds good.  A couple of other suggestions for 6-digit codes could be:

  • capacity building and training
  • monitoring and evaluation
  • human factors
  • technology transfer
  • Disaster Management

I suspect that the "discipline" aspects would already be covered in other areas.  For example, we would need to include WASH, energy, housing here, or could activities be split between the discipline area and then then "humanitarian engineering" aspect.

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What would be an ideal number of six-digit codes? Maybe five or six?

  • Humanitarian Engineering Design, Appropriate Technology Development, Assistive Technology, Inclusive Design, and Human Factors could be merged in "Design Paradigms and Methods" (or something along these lines)
  • Emergency response and Disaster Management into one category, not sure the name for it, maybe Disaster Response and Management?
  • Maybe HE Education and capacity building and training into Education and Training?

Maybe another code could be Policies and Ethical Standards or something along those lines?

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I suggest keeping the 6-digit codes relatively broad, first of all to avoid FoRs becoming extremely niche and secondly to avoid overlapping too much with other (non-engineering) fields of research. I.e. inclusive design and human factors are very established areas of research and expertise within HCI and product design. Researchers working within these spaces will likely identify more closely with codes such 120304 Digital and Interaction Design or 120305 Industrial Design.

Environmental engineering has four broad 6-digit codes. Taking inspiration from these, I propose:

  • Humanitarian Engineering Design (incl. inclusive design, human factors, participatory approaches, hcd, co-design,)
  • Humanitarian Engineering Technology (incl. app tech, tech transfer, assistive tech)
  • Humanitarian Engineering Management and Professional Practice (incl. emergency response and disaster management, capacity building, M&E
  • Humanitarian Engineering Education and Training

Regarding the last one, I wonder whether Engineering Education as a broad area, is better placed within 0915 Interdisciplinary Engineering, as already proposed (091510 Engineering Education)? The other engineering disciplines with 4-digit codes do not have seperate 6-digit codes for education and training either. 





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I definitely agree that obtaining a four-digit code for Humanitarian Engineering would raise the profile of the field, but I question if some of these six-digit areas aren’t already covered by existing FOR codes. I also wanted raise that I think it is important that there is actually research (not just a focus on teaching) occurring in any six-digit codes we propose.

I would second a lot of Tanja’s points if we were to advocate for a four-digit code. Another place where I feel we could take inspiration is 1204 Engineering Design (proposed to be renamed Design Research through Practice). A few suggested six-digit codes might be: (1) HE Methods; (2) HE Design, (3) HE Professional Practice, etc. The newly proposed 1609 Development Studies might also provide some inspiration as well.

I often think about what sets us apart is the context in which we work. As Jeremy highlighted, we almost all draw from some other disciplinary knowledge. With this in mind, an alternative structure of six-digit codes might focus on the range of Humanitarian Engineering contexts (e.g. disaster management, global development, etc). Not sure how many we could actually come up with (?). Just another thought.

I’ll be honest that I do not think there should be a “Humanitarian Engineering Education” six-digit code as none of the other four-digit engineering fields have a six-digit education code that is discipline-specific and I think this would better be grouped under a single engineering education code (either a new four-digit code or the currently proposed six-digit code).

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Good points around the research focus, I think if a 6-digit code under Humanitarian Engineering for training/education, should be focused on capacity building not university education. As highlighted, other 4-digit codes don't have their own education sub-code.  Looking other related codes for is good, and potentially then more consistent.

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OK, compiling the suggestions above I have tried to incorporate as best as possible. Comments on the letter component and the 6 digit fields are appreciated. Also can you please make it clear if you wish to be included as a signatory to the letter. 

Humanitarian Engineering as a Field of Research Code

The consideration of Humanitarian Engineering as a Field of Research code under ANZSRC marks another milestone in the continued rise of the field as an area of practice and research. This growth is matched by the increasing number of academics and industry who are affiliated with the field. In recognition of this growth the undersigned recommend that Humanitarian Engineering be added as a four-digit FOR code. Including Humanitarian Engineering as a four-digit FOR code will enable higher education institutions to showcase and be evaluated in Humanitarian Engineering under the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) system. This will be vital in ensuring Australia is the global leader in Humanitarian Engineering research.  If Humanitarian Engineering is accepted as a four-digit FOR code, then several six-digit codes will be required. The following are proposed:

·       Humanitarian Engineering Design, Paradigms and Methods

·       Humanitarian Engineering Technology

·       Humanitarian Engineering Management, Policy and Professional Practice 

·       Humanitarian Engineering Capacity Building, Education and Training

·       Humanitarian Engineering not else classified


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