Welcome to our first edition for 2022. After a bumpy start to the year, it’s been exciting to see our campus coming back to life over the past few weeks. I trust you’ve all had the opportunity to enjoy in-person catch ups with colleagues, lunchtime strolls around campus and reacquainting yourself with your favourite coffee spot.
UNSW researchers have been awarded a host of accolades since our last Research News. To name a few: Emeritus Professor Grace Karskens was announced as the winner of the prestigious Prime Minister’s History Prize, while The Royal Society of NSW awarded Scientia Professor Rose Amal the James Cook Medal (the 7th time in 8 years that a UNSW academic has received this medal). There were also many UNSW researchers honoured in the recent Australia Day Awards, including Professor John Church and Honorary Professor Mark Sullivan, both appointed as Officers of the Order of Australia.
As many of you will only be too aware, it was an anxious wait for the late Xmas eve announcement of the ARC Discovery Projects, when UNSW researchers were the recipients of 65 successful projects, totalling $27.5M. My congratulations to all those and the rest of the research community who were successful throughout the previous year. And regarding condolences, we are working to support our understandably devastated researcher whose grant was recommended for funding but not approved by the Acting Minister. See the infographic below for a wrap up of UNSW Research funding for 2021.
The past few months have seen the emergence of some major issues which will shape the direction of Australian research in 2022 and beyond. The ARC continues to battle concerns about
delayed funding announcements, use of ministerial veto power, and the pre-prints debacle. Despite these difficulties, which we are working with the sector to improve, there remains an opportunity for a reset, perhaps using the NHMRC as a model.
In exciting news, UNSW has recently been shortlisted from a pool of 21 applicants to potentially become one of 4 new Trailblazer Universities, who will each drive research commercialisation in one of the National Manufacturing Priorities. UNSW has also just entered into an historic five-year partnership with the NSW Government to help boost university and industry collaboration. With the launch of the Federal Government’s University Research Commercialisation Action Plan, commercialisation will be front and centre of new funding streams for the foreseeable future. You can get up to speed with some of the latest developments in the explainer below.
The talent and expertise of our research community means that UNSW is already well-positioned to take advantage of these opportunities by continuing to do what we do best - pioneering research across all disciplines to deliver a real-world difference.
Professor Nicholas Fisk, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise)