Vice-Chancellor sets new direction for ANU

9 February 2017

Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University (ANU), Professor Brian Schmidt AC, has released his blueprint for the future of the University in a major address to more than 1,000 University staff.

Professor Schmidt, who took over as Vice-Chancellor in 2016, committed the University to invest in excellence in both research and education, and to build the University's reputation as one of the great universities of the world.

"We want to rise to the challenge of being a national university that serves our society and reflects our society in all its diversity," Professor Schmidt said.

Under the new strategic plan, Professor Schmidt promised to deepen the University's engagement with business and with government, and to grow funding from philanthropy and business investment.

Among the initiatives are a new public policy incubator to harness research from across the University, closer collaboration with the CSIRO, the establishment of a business advisory council to foster links between research and business, and strategic appointments from the business world.

"By working with business and industry, we can multiply our impact," Professor Schmidt said.

"The relationship between universities and industry is often criticised. To help us break down the barriers, our new business advisory council will help guide us in our efforts to forge a mutually beneficial partnership with business and industry.

"But we also need to change the culture here at ANU, and embed within us people who have successfully worked with business and industry.

"Last week we announced the appointment of Genevieve Bell, a world leading anthropologist and senior leader at Intel. We will be making more appointments like this."

The strategic plan also outlines measures to attract and support talented young researchers.

"We will nurture future researchers and shape our research training to ensure our people are second to none, their qualifications are universally understood to be of the very highest global quality, and they are prepared to be leaders not just in academia but in industry and civil society," he said.

"We will invest in recruiting, retaining, and mentoring the best people in the world.

"The ANU Futures Scheme will attract new world leading early and mid-career researchers to ANU - at least 50 per cent of whom will be women - providing them with start-up grants to support their research and help leverage external support.

"These young researchers will be selected from the most talented people in the world."

He also committed the University to improving gender equality at ANU, and to lifting the number of Indigenous staff and students.

In education, Professor Schmidt said ANU would change the way it admits students by looking beyond a potential student's ATAR score.

"In 2018 we will begin changing our admissions so that ATAR is not the only consideration for entry to ANU," he said.

The strategic plan is available on the ANU website at http://www.anu.edu.au/about/plans-reviews/anu-strategic-plan-2017-2021.