Celebrating and growing our researchers

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

I am pleased to commence the new year with reports of outstanding successes by our researchers, including by our Higher Degree Research (HDR) students.

ACU researchers were awarded more than $2 million in Australian Research Council funding for projects commencing in 2022. A number of these projects, in collaboration with community and industry partners, will generate new knowledge as well as research impact in areas of Indigenous education, metabolic health and critical mathematical thinking.

In other funding announcements, Associate Professor Valentina Lorenzetti was recently awarded a 2022 Al & Val Rosenstrauss Fellowship. The five year fellowship will enable her to continue work on the origins, correlations and harm reduction of substance use, addiction and mental health problems.

ACU’s researchers continue to achieve recognition as leaders in their field. Most recently, ACU’s philosophers received global recognition in the latest Leiter Philosophy Gourmet Report, a peer-ranking of philosophy programs. ACU ranked third in Australasia behind ANU and Sydney, and in the top 50 English-speaking faculties worldwide. ACU is also the second-ranked Catholic university, behind fourteenth-ranked Notre Dame (USA).

It is also important that we acknowledge the development of our next-generation researchers. In 2021, we celebrated over 35 PhD completions, and these students had the best overall exam results of the last seven years.

Last year, we also saw over 55 publications that included HDR student authors, with the majority led by our students. Over the last month, Professor Philip Parker, the Dean of Graduate Research, has been highlighting these student publications on the Research Updates Workplace group. I encourage you to take the chance to read our students’ research for yourself.

“The quality of student research at ACU is a sound basis on which to grow our HDR program,” Professor Parker said.

“To do this, we must address several challenges. Our greatest source of talent for future HDR students lies with our current undergraduate students. Thus, we must find effective ways to identify, inform and nurture this talent to build a healthy HDR pipeline.

“The best way to serve our HDR students is to help them get through their degrees and into their desired careers quickly and effectively. Thus, we must reduce withdrawal rates and increase timely completions of our HDR students.

“And finally, students are essential to building partnerships with industry, government, community and church stakeholders. Thus, we must actively find ways to create more opportunities for students to contribute to partnerships, translation and impact.”

In the coming weeks, there will be opportunity to share more about our partnerships and the expansion of the translation and impact of our research that benefits not only our students but also the wider society.

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