Creating a research ecosystem

A message from Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor James McLaren:

Our continued success in international research rankings is testament to ACU’s commitment to excellence in designated priority areas. The recent Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2022 subject rankings for psychology placed ACU in the top 150 overall, but 7th in the world for our research citations. Similarly, in education, we ranked 27th in the world and 2nd in Australia on the measure of citations in the field. We are among the top 250 universities in the world and the top six Catholic universities for arts and humanities. These achievements also highlight the important strategic direction that ACU has taken to build our reputation as a leading Catholic university.

It is essential that we now build on this recognition of our achievements in knowledge creation. In line with the ACU Strategic Plan 2020-2023, the next stage of development is to expand the scope of what we prioritise, and to give equal attention now also to collaboration, impact and reputation beyond the academy. The inclusion of Enterprise in the Research and Enterprise Portfolio signals the expanded remit: a comprehensive research ecosystem. We will bring into sharp focus the social, cultural, and economic benefits of our research-related activity. Integral to this outward-facing, end-user orientation is a commitment to the full research lifecycle: knowledge creation; strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships; the translation of our research into real-world outcomes; and the development of the next generation of researchers.

The Vice-Chancellor’s recent announcement regarding staff relocating to the Research and Enterprise Portfolio marks an important and exciting step in progressing ACU’s focus on public-facing research and enterprise activity. The transition of Professor Sandra Jones and Professor Myriam Amielh, and the work their teams currently undertake, will help consolidate and facilitate the expansion of our collaboration with industry partners, government, community and church stakeholders, and the expansion of the translation and impact of our research.

The appointment of Professor Philip Parker to the position of Dean of Graduate Research within the Research and Enterprise Portfolio provides leadership and coordination of ACU’s priority of graduate research. Professor Parker will work directly with the Executive Deans and the Associate Deans Research to develop and actively promote graduate research programs across all organisational units and campuses of the university.

Together we will progress the development of ACU’s ‘Research and Enterprise Roadmap 2023’. Grounded in ACU’s commitment to social justice and the common good, this roadmap will build on the university’s reputation of excellent research in designated areas. It will prioritise the ways we can create national and global social benefit through sustained collaboration and partnerships with industry, government, stakeholders, communities, and colleagues in the academy.

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