Professor Brian Schmidt has shared his vision for ANU in his first public event since taking over as Vice-Chancellor.
Professor Schmidt said he wanted ANU to be committed to excellence in both research and education, to honour its role as the national university, and to be central to life in the national capital.
He made a specific reference to Indigenous affairs, which he said should be crucial for the national university.
"We must play a leadership role in the reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians," Professor Schmidt said.
"ANU should be the destination of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intellectual leaders as a place of education, of research and of policy."
As the national university, he said ANU should help shape modern Australian by producing and nurturing intellectual leaders of national, regional and global standing.
The University also has a responsibility to make sure research is internationally excellent and nationally important.
"We can each meet this obligation. We must not shy away from ambition. Our research will be second-to-none in Australia. But it must be more than that," he said.
"We should aim to have each of our areas of research sit beside the best departments in the world, and without exception be in the top 100 departments in the world.
"Our focus should be on quality not quantity. We should invest in young people for whom we have to compete against the best universities in the world. We must have the patience and the confidence to invest in people and ideas we know are right."
He said ANU should offer an education unique in Australia and amongst the best in the world.
"Our diverse student body will receive an education distinguished in its excellence, with a very low student to staff ratio, high research intensity, and an integrated on-campus experience," he said.
Professor Schmidt said ANU nurtured him as a young researcher.
"It provided me with the environment to develop and grow through the stages of my career, to learn and be mentored by those who came before me," he said.
"My ambition as Vice-Chancellor is to pay that forward, to foster a culture where we can all reach our full potential, where excellence is cultivated, expected, understood and celebrated."
He committed to ensuring a culture of equality and diversity at ANU, defined by trust and respect, and to ensuring ANU remains a happy and safe place to work and study.
Professor Schmidt's speech can be viewed or read on his blog page.