A more integrated community

A message from Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Abid Khan:

Welcome back to all my ACU colleagues for this new year. The past year was challenging for us as we underwent significant organisational changes. But we also achieved some important milestones:

  • establishing a Graduate Research School to train and grow our next generation of talent
  • engaging more closely with government to support national priorities such as workforce development
  • moving towards an integrated model that recognises the wealth of research and education experience across ACU
  • engaging more with industry and other ACU stakeholders to grow revenue and impact opportunities.

Leveraging the strength of a wider, more integrated, interdisciplinary community will help us deliver on our mission and our shared vision of sustained success in a dynamic national and global landscape.

Graduate Research School

Our researchers and the new Graduate Research School have already made significant collective progress, ahead of the GRS launch in 2024. Our Higher Degree Research (HDR) student load has grown more than 10 per cent since last year. We are also expanding our internships through the Australian Postgraduate Research Intern program, which connects postgraduate research students with industry through short-term placements.

Work continues on ACU’s preparation for renewal of accreditation in 2024. This includes opportunities through process and policy change, for greater efficiency of activities across the HDR student lifecycle to improve both the student and supervisor experience.

Engaging with government
The portfolio’s government relations area has expanded to include ACU’s veterans’ agenda. Local member and Minister for Aged Care the Honourable Anika Wells, visited the Banyo Campus yesterday, in what was a timely opportunity to brief her on our work with veterans, aged care research and ways we can work more closely with the government’s priorities in both areas.

This month, ACU has made a submission to the Senate Committee on the Australian Research Council Amendment (Review Response) Bill 2023, in support of the proposed amendments to the ARC Act to establish an independent ARC Board.

An integrated model

The integration of research institutes into faculties will be overseen by a selected group of staff from the offices of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) and Provost, Corporate Services (Finance, People and Capability), along with institute and school representatives. The integration also forms the major response to last year’s Thematic Review of Research and Research Training Final Report. A new Research and Enterprise Plan will be developed to implement the changes in line with Vision 2033 and sector norms.

As outlined in the Academic Final Change Management Plan, the model aims to provide the whole community with opportunities to grow and empower:

  • our students through access to contemporary research-informed education
  • our graduate cohort through industry-relevant research training
  • our staff through improved mentoring, closer internal collaborations and career pathways.

We commenced the year by awarding five research awards in collaboration with the faculties. These awards support academics to re-establish their research profiles following parental leave and we look forward to working on other joint initiatives across the wider community in 2024.

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