Positioning for growth

A message from Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Abid Khan: Over the past two months I have been engaged in discussions with ACU’s research community about how best to increase our research impact, strengthen external income, develop a pipeline to PhD, empower our own early career researchers and increase institutional partnering rather than rely on offshore research staff.

I wish to acknowledge the contribution of our whole research community as we continue these conversations in the current context of ACU’s operating environment, while positioning the university for future research growth.

Two reviews are underway to help map the strategic and operating direction ahead. As announced in February, ACU is undertaking a thematic review to identify strategies and priorities in supporting our research and research training approach. The review panel, chaired by Professor Edwina Cornish AO, is due to report in June. At the same time, we have established a research services taskforce to develop a more agile and responsive model to support a mission-aligned research agenda across the university.

We are also in the process of developing a graduate research school to grow Higher Degree Research (HDR) at ACU. The university’s low HDR numbers require addressing in a sustainable manner that supports our research direction and empowers our collaborations. The proposed model will enable significant growth of HDR students, including through support of international students, linking them to key institutional partners and regions and increasing the number of co-funded PhD students with industry.

Recently I joined the Industry and Innovation team on a visit to the Blacktown Exercise Sports and Technology Hub (BEST), due to open its world-class facilities for patient care, rehabilitation services, services to athletes and the broader community in June this year. Our visit to Western Sydney also included the Sydney Motor Sports Park and meetings with the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club, which will soon open an Australian Motorsport Innovation Precinct. We held discussions with Blacktown City Council about an array of commercial opportunities with benefits to industries that include medical and life sciences, digital and biotechnology, and defence and aerospace as well as industry opportunities for PhD and postdoctoral researchers.

ACU’s top 50 QS ranking in theology positions ACU at the fore in areas core to our mission. ACU is already ranked in the top 50 for education and sport science as well as nursing in the Shanghai Global Ranking of Academic Subjects. As a global top 50 university we are better placed to develop deeper partnerships with people and organisations in Australia and around the world. It shows to our partners and future students that we are a global and national leader in the care economy and are known for research that is closely linked to industry.

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