Research milestones

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

August marks several important milestones in the Research and Enterprise portfolio.

Applications have now opened for our new internal grant schemes to support early career researchers, industry collaboration, research translation and competitive grant income. The schemes were identified in the Research and Enterprise Plan 2022-2023 as priorities for achieving sustainable excellence in the development of future research capability, effective infrastructure and systems, fundamental research, the translation of research, and the application of research.

Details on the new schemes, including application closing dates, are available via the webinar recording and funding guidelines.

This month also marks the next stage of the research themes consultation that has been underway since June. Over 200 ACU staff and external stakeholders have participated in interviews and town hall and online forum discussions to identify the themes that will help define the next stage of ACU’s mission and identity as a Catholic university.

You can still contribute to the conversation on the Teams forum and add your comment to the draft document, which synthesises three broad theme areas. Outputs from the consultation will be presented in a paper to VCAC next month.

ACU continues to make its mark in global rankings. In the most recent Shanghai Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, ACU is now fourteenth in the world for nursing, moving up four places with improved scores across all research citation metrics. Education remains in the top 50 worldwide, scoring higher across all research citation metrics with a marked increase in articles published in the top quartile of journals. ACU also retained its position in the top 150 for psychology, is in the 201–300 band for law, and moved into the top 400 in clinical medicine and public health. Overall ACU has retained its position in the top 600 universities worldwide for this ranking.

ACU’s performance in the 2022 CWTS Leiden Ranking showed further improvement. Based only on bibliometric data, the Leiden ranking shows that of the research papers ACU publishes, it is the leading Australian university by proportion of outputs in both the top five per cent and 10 per cent in the subject field of biomedical and health sciences. In social sciences and humanities, ACU is now nineteenth in the world by proportion of papers in the top one per cent. Overall, ACU ranks first in Australia and forty-fourth in the world by proportion of outputs in the top 10 per cent, and thirty-first in the world for outputs in the top five per cent of publications, up from forty-seventh in 2021.

ACU’s performance in citations and high-quality publications consolidates our strength across core discipline areas, which will be assessed in the upcoming Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2023 assessment. The Australian Research Council has released its evaluation framework outlining the rating scale, methodologies, and indicators to be used in ERA 2023. The ERA 2018 rating scale of 1 (well below world standard) to 5 (well above world standard) will be retained for the 2023 round for both citation and peer review disciplines. A pilot assessment will also be undertaken using a new rating scale and high-performance indicator for units of evaluation rated 4 and 5.

Work has now commenced on our submission. The introduction of new ANZSRC codes has changed the distribution and number of publications apportioned across all two-digit and four-digit codes. We anticipate a significantly higher volume of assessments at four-digit level than in 2018 following the introduction of the new codes and ACU’s continued growth in research activity.

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