Monash Business School wins major funding for vital research work

19 January 2022

L-R: A/Prof Bonsoo Koo, Dr Daniel Melser, Dr Daniel Avdic and Prof Carol Propper

Monash Business School researchers have won more than $800,000 to carry out vital work enabling better monetary policymaking, commercial real estate insights and higher quality healthcare.

The funding won by Monash Business School researchers is for the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) highly competitive Discovery Projects and Linkage Projects.

The successful recipients are A/Prof Bonsoo Koo, Dr Daniel Melser and Dr Daniel Avdic (all chief investigators) and Prof Carol Propper (a partner investigator) for projects to be administered directly by Monash Business School.

Their ARC funding comprises almost 20 per cent of the total $8.3 million allocated to their project division for 2022.

MBUS researchers A/Prof Dominique Allen, Dr Wayne Palmer and Deputy Dean, Research Prof Russell Smyth also won funding and were named chief investigators on three other ARC projects to be administered by other Australian institutes.

Their work will help improve access to justice, advance human rights dispute resolution and improve employment relations in Indonesia’s commercial fishing industry.

"The process for securing ARC Discovery and Linkage Projects is extremely competitive and for researchers in the Monash Business School to be associated with six successful applications in the 2022 round is outstanding,” Prof Smyth said.

“That the three Discovery Projects submitted through the Business School accounted for one fifth of all funds allocated to (their division) is particularly pleasing and testament to the hard work many researchers put into preparing applications for ARC grants and external funding more generally,” Prof Smyth said.

“It is vitally important that the Business School continues to grow its external research income and submitting ARC Discovery and Linkage applications is an essential component of realising our research income objectives."

More effective central bank monetary policy decisions

A/Prof Koo’s project (funded for $312,355, with other university partner investigators Dr Wenying Yao and Dr Lars Winkelmann) will aim to help policymakers in major economies including Australia achieve desired economic outcomes through better-informed monetary policy decisions.

"I will delve into how monetary policy decisions affect the macroeconomy in a near-zero interest-rate environment, which will benefit policymakers as well as the academic community," A/Prof Koo said.

"I feel elated at the success because the ARC has acknowledged my dedication and contribution to the field thus far and endorsed the importance and real-world relevance of my research proposal."

Realising true value of commercial real estate

Dr Melser’s project (funded for $277,208, with partner investigators Prof Alicia Rambaldi and Prof Robert Hill) aims to address a significant gap in understanding the Australian commercial real estate sector, with a particular focus on values and their changes over time.

“The project will help to better understand how commercial real estate contributes to the vibrancy of cities and the economy,” Dr Melser said.

“Commercial real estate has been a major economic blind spot for years. There is very little reliable measurement of CRE prices in Australia or overseas. This poses a number of risks, including to the banking sector which lends heavily to the commercial real estate sector.”

“Now is a very opportune time to investigate CRE given the significant impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on the sector. It is important to reflect on what sort of CRE we are going to need going forward, following the working-from-home revolution, and given how our cities may look in the future, particularly as they get larger as Australia's population grows.”

How do physicians view and use new medical technology? 

Dr Avdic’s project (funded for $220,602, with PIs Prof Propper (of Monash’s Centre for Health Economics with Dr Avdic) and Prof Anthony Scott, aims to help build effective policies for improving the healthcare system’s efficiency and equity through new evidence on how physicians adopt and use new medical technology.

“In my experience, it is often thought the healthcare workforce is a largely uniform group of individuals who practice the same and have the same beliefs about what works and what doesn't,” Dr Avdic said.

But he said because research evidence from clinical trials, for example, is often ambiguous and can be interpreted differently, “it does matter which physician you consult with, which care provider you visit and which specialist you receive treatment from”.

“Understanding underlying factors that generate variation in clinical practice styles of health professionals is of vital importance for both the efficiency and equity of healthcare delivery.”

“An efficient healthcare system is paramount to ensuring future sustainability of public resources, not the least with respect to the many health challenges we face as a society with ageing populations, epidemics, the mental health crisis and socioeconomic disparities in health and health behaviours.”

Prof Propper agreed. “Understanding what drives variation in the effectiveness of medical care providers is an important input to improving the efficiency and quality of the healthcare system, and contributes to improving outcomes for patients,” Prof Propper said.

Dr Avdic said he was grateful to have won an ARC project, after two previous unsuccessful submissions for this topic.

“I hope this can serve as encouragement for others in my position who have at times felt discouraged by bad news and show that it might be worth it to be persistent.”

Learn more about the projects here.