Leanne Harvey

Image: Ms Leanne Harvey
Image courtesy: Norman Plant Photography

Message from the Acting CEO
Leanne Harvey

The search for the ARC’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is underway. Many will have noticed the announcement of the recruitment panel on 15 September 2016. While we await our new CEO, I am leading the ARC as acting CEO, and our work continues in its normal vigorous manner.

On 8 September 2016, it was fabulous to have the eagerly awaited outcomes of the ARC Centres of Excellence scheme announced by the Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham. The response from the sector was, of course, very positive and it was great to have the outcomes picked up positively in the press too. It is always an exciting event for the ARC announcing the funding for new Centres of Excellence. So we are dedicating this issue of ARChway as a ‘Centres special’, with more information about the important new centres in the articles below. I now look forward to meeting the new Centre Directors when they visit the ARC in November.

The ARC also made a significant step forward in streamlining our administrative processes on 9 September 2016, with the successful release of the post-award functionality in our Research Management System (RMS). RMS now includes functionality spanning from proposal to final report stages, with variation to funding agreements now possible through RMS. This was the culmination of many teams in the ARC working together with the research sector. I would especially like to thank the research office staff who participated in our outreach sessions.

The ARC also released Institutional Insights—the second volume of the State of Australian University Research 2015–16 series on 13 September 2016. It is fantastic that, through ERA, we now have longitudinal data that can provide significant insight into Australia’s research landscape. This volume looks into selected topics, delving deeper into the data on ERA ratings, including: how the quality of research has tracked across disciplines over time; gender by discipline by employment level; and open access. This is new information that has never been available before and I expect this information will provide very useful insights for disciplines; university managers; researchers; and policy makers within government and across the higher education research sector. For example, the baseline gender data released in this volume, while showing that Australia has a way to go, is an important step forward to support improvements in gender equality in the research workforce.

I look forward to the exciting months ahead, as we prepare for the 2017 Major Grants Announcement and release of the first outcomes under the continuous Linkage Projects scheme.