The year 2000 was highly successful for The Australian National University.
In fulfilling the very special national role mandated by its charter, the University continued to achieve significant research results, deliver quality teaching and to accelerate thedevelopment of its information technology environment to support its participation in the increasingly global higher education sector.
The Australian higher education sector remains highly competitive. In the current stringent resource environment, universities have been forced to undergo serious restructuring of both academic and administrative areas in order to maintain their quality and their competitiveness. While reductions in public funding for universities in recent years have contributed to this restructuring, often involving stress for staff and students, ANU is preparing to take advantage of opportunities presented by the Government’s research White Paper and the announcement expected in 2001 on policy initiatives to strengthen Australia’s capacity to capitalise on innovation.
ANU strongly supported the research White Paper’s broad policy directions and, especially, the Government’s decision to enable the Institute of Advanced Studies to compete for those categories of Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council research grants for which it had previously not been able to compete. Senior University and Departmental staff spent considerable time during 2000 negotiating the parameters within which the Institute would be able to compete. An agreement is expected early in 2001.
The Vice Chancellor’s Plan for Growth, which was finalisedin October, was aimed at harnessing the best ideas and approaches into an agreed strategic plan to invest carefully in growth to expand the University’s revenue base and to encourage innovative teaching and research activity. Development of the plan involved 33 workshops with staff in research schools, centres, faculties and administrative divisions.