The announcement of a new ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology (CoESB) at Macquarie University – led by Distinguished Professor Ian Paulsen – was among the year’s highlights.
‘Connected intelligence’ was the overarching theme as Professor Sakkie Pretorius, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), gathered University staff together for his annual research ‘weather report’ on 26 November.
Reporting against the goals of Macquarie’s strategic research framework World-Leading Research; World-Changing Impact 2015-2024, Professor Pretorius thanked all the staff – both academic and professional – that had worked together across the University to generate research of an increasingly impressive quality.
He spoke of some of the challenging factors affecting Macquarie’s research outcomes, including recent changes to research funding reporting requirements, and a shift in the factors influencing federal research grant success.
Despite these external challenges, there were many research success stories that Professor Pretorius was particularly proud to highlight.
He applauded Macquarie’s outstanding results in the 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) national assessment, pointing to the continuing success of the University’s strategic commitment to accelerating research performance:
- 100 per cent of the University’s research was rated at world standard and above at the 2-digit level
- There was a 50 per cent increase in research rated at 5 at the 4-digit level
- Both Physical Sciences and Environmental Sciences have maintained consistently excellent performance, achieving the highest possible rating in all ERA assessments since the initiative began in 2010.
The news was also good for Macquarie in the Australian Research Council’s 2018 Engagement and Impact Assessment, with:
- more than 90 per cent of Macquarie’s submitted work deemed to have made a significant contribution beyond academia;
- 100 per cent of Macquarie’s research characterised by effective or highly effective interactions between researchers and research end-users outside of academia.
Despite falling short of the strategy’s research publication target, Professor Pretorius noted that our research publications were expected to reach the 2000 mark for the first time this year, and the notable shift to quality over quantity was a clear factor in our success in ERA – something he valued well above the total number of papers published.
Acknowledging staff uncertainty and the continuing external challenges affecting the University, Professor Pretorius left staff with a personal commitment to support staff across all research disciplines.
“Collaboration, caring and kindness are traits unique to our campus,” he said. “As a university, we will support you wherever you find yourselves in our academic home. So, go out and hunt [for that research funding], but don’t lose the kindness.”
You can view the full Weather Report presentation below.