The Australasian Council for Undergraduate Research is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion and support of undergraduate research. ACUR’s primary event is the Australasian Conference of Undergraduate Research. The Conference promotes and supports current and recent undergraduate students (including honours) to disseminate their research activities. In addition, ACUR organises Posters in Parliament and other events such as educational summits and workshops for supervisors.
Why undergraduate research?
Growing interest and practice internationally in engaging undergraduates in research has led to demand from students, graduates and academics to provide similar opportunities in Australia and New Zealand. There is evidence that practice is growing rapidly. Research addresses the need to prepare students for professional life when knowledge is uncertain and the future is unclear. It is known to have high impact in engaging students. The benefits to students are now well known and include: personal and professional gains such as increased confidence; and intellectual development including critical thinking and problem solving skills and a more advanced understanding of how scientific knowledge is built. These skills are as important in business and industry as they are to universities.
What is an Undergraduate Research Conference?
An undergraduate research conference is like any academic conference, except that the presentations are all given by students who report on research carried out as part of their degree programs or as extra-curricula projects, including industry-based projects and discipline based studies. As a multi-disciplinary conference, undergraduates have the opportunity to network with other emerging researchers from their own disciplines, and also to learn about how other disciplines approach research problems. An undergraduate research conference provides a great opportunity to meet students and recent graduates from other universities and share their research.
In 2012, the first Australasian Conference of Undergraduate Research was held at Macquarie University. The 2018 conference, hosted at La Trobe University, Melbourne, featured a diverse range of research work including projects from the biological sciences, software engineering and music history. More than 720 students from 29 institutions have taken part in conference activities since 2012.