In 2013, ANU advanced its international reputation for excellence in research and education. With our high concentration of globally recognised scholars, ANU as Australia’s national university and Australia’s finest university has a distinct national mission which differentiates us from other universities. We have continued to achieve our mandate, to advance the cause of learning and research, taking our place amongst the finest universities in the world.
2013 was a year of change and renewal for ANU. It was both a remarkable and busy year for the University.
The year began with the announcement of a donation by Graham and Louise Tuckwell of $50 million to establish the Tuckwell Scholarship program. More than 600 students from around Australia applied for the 25 scholarships on offer for 2014. The Tuckwell donation has had significant impacts beyond ANU and has transformed philanthropy in Australia with two further $50 million-plus donations to Australian universities. These gifts were inspired by the generosity and leadership of the Tuckwells.
Responding to the financial situation resulting from Commonwealth reductions in funding was the biggest issue the University faced in 2013. The significant budget challenges for ANU were addressed by a process which engaged directly with staff and students and sought their suggestions on how to address the issues. This led to the Budget Solutions package which will see a reduction in professional staff numbers and a program to reinvest in our academic staff. Through the process the University identified a need to make changes to many of our administrative processes. Our priority is to ensure that the challenges faced do not impact on the quality of our research and education.
Excellence in the University’s education and processes was recognised in 2013 when it was announced that ANU had been re-accredited for seven years under the new Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). The re-accreditation report recognises the quality of our education and the processes put in place by ANU Colleges and the Academic Board.
The University achieved a number of outstanding results in competitive grants awarded by the Australian Research Council (ARC). Two new ANU-led ARC Centres of Excellence were announced in the 2014 funding round and ANU will be a partner on five further successful Centres of Excellence. For the main Discovery projects ANU won more grants than any other Australian university. Across the breadth of the ARC funding schemes ANU has improved its position relative to the rest of the Group of Eight (Go8) universities.
The University’s capacity to offer unique learning and educational experiences was underscored in 2013 when it was announced that ANU would be the first Australian university to join edX, the Massive Online Open Course provider set up by MIT and Harvard. The first two ANUx courses being developed are in Astronomy and Astrophysics led by Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt AC, and on India, which will be the first edX course delivered in multiple languages.
The ANU campus continued to transform during the year with the completion of the major Science Precinct redevelopment. This significant redevelopment was made possible through a $164 million investment from the Australian Government and a sizeable contribution of ANU funds. The new precinct has greatly enhanced the quality of facilities for both our staff and students. The new building for the Australian Centre on China in the World is also on track for completion early in 2014.
This annual report reflects an immensely productive year for ANU and highlights a small selection of the many individual and shared success stories. It is an extraordinary privilege to lead such an inspiring and dedicated group of staff and students. I am proud of all that they have achieved.
Professor Ian Young AO
Vice-Chancellor and President