I am delighted to inform you that we are ready to embark on the development of the Griffith University Research and Innovation Plan 2021-2025. I invite your initial input in this first phase of consultation.

Although the Plan will be developed under difficult circumstances, we must look forward to a future beginning with an anticipated restoration to optimal research capacity and operations in 2021 through to delivery on our ambitious targets by 2025.

Since arriving at Griffith in February I’ve enjoyed meeting as many research colleagues as possible, coming to better understand what is special about this University and hearing your views about what we can do collectively to raise the quality and impact of our research.

I’ve discovered that colleagues, both newcomers and long-term staff, were drawn to Griffith by its reputation as a frontier and innovative university, acknowledged as undertaking research of the highest quality and not afraid to do things differently to its local competitors, charting its own course.

Griffith is held in high regard for what it has achieved in just 45 years and there is widespread respect amongst colleagues for the values which make Griffith distinctive. This is balanced by a healthy expectation that Griffith can do much better in research if we play to our strengths and enable researchers at all levels to focus on producing societally relevant and impactful research addressing the major issues of our day.

Your input into this phase of consultation will inform development of an Options Paper which I will share with you in late May/early June. In between phases, I will also be arranging focus group sessions with representation from research leaders, mid and early career researchers along with HDR candidates who are also key to the future research success of this University.

A Broad Directions Paper will be circulated in late July for further consultation, with Intent to produce the final Research and Innovation Plan 2021-2025, by the end of October 2020.

Mindful of competing priorities at present, I provide a short consultation paper here (DOCX 141kb) and below which poses key questions for you to address in responses, preferably of no more than a few pages. Submissions can be sent to: dvcr-comms@griffith.edu.au by Friday 22 May 2020.

Professor Mario Pinto

Professor Mario Pinto

Deputy Vice Chancellor Research

Phase 1 Initial Consultations


Preamble

Griffith University seeks to be known as one of Australia’s leading research universities, but as stated in my covering message, while researchers are respectful of our past this is balanced by a healthy expectation that Griffith can do much better in research.

In my preliminary conversations with colleagues there is a strong undercurrent of collegiality across disciplines at Griffith and a desire to build upon our strong Humanities, Art  and Social Sciences profile to connect with the rapidly growing science, engineering, medical and health disciplines and vice-versa. Many of you would like to see Griffith projecting itself stronger globally and redefining the Griffith research brand around impactful research that is built upon this exciting fusion of interdisciplinary research —a return to its roots.

Another recurring theme is around that of support for researchers from harnessing the energy of our HDR candidates, providing the environment for our early and mid-career researchers to thrive, and assembling the research infrastructure, platforms and policies for senior researchers to provide high-quality leadership.

During this initial phase of consultation, I ask you to think creatively and not to be bound by Griffith as it is today. What is your vision for research at Griffith in a future where conventional wisdom might be turned on its head? From how we deal with existential threats around health and climate change, to matters of global significance including democracy, governance and law, defence and security, our use of technology, energy and resources, through to the preservation of vital industries and community structures and core questions such as what it means to be human in the 21st century. Consider the possibilities for this institution to build an exceptional research profile and reputation following the immediate COVID-19 pandemic as the community mobilises to study the impacts and prospects for both social and economic recovery both in the immediate future and over the long-term.

While this initial consultation is quite open-ended, those that follow will be more focused and therefore please take the opportunity to express your views not only in relation to the consultation questions but also other points you might wish to make.

Research and Innovation Plan 2017-2020 – rating our success

In 2016 the University approved its Research and Innovation Plan 2017-2020 (PDF 3.2MB) which contained an over-riding vision for Griffith to fit the profile of a leading (top 300) research university by 2020.

That Plan set minimum expectations for Higher Degree by Research education, research publication quality and volume, research income and the performance standards expected from researchers.

It committed to continued support for research centres and institutes as the framework for focussing our research, while our commitment to Areas of Strategic Investment underpinned our aspirations for world-leading research outcomes.

Four years on, the University is ranked in the top 250 on two major rankings including the influential Times Higher Education World University Rankings and has achieved numerous top 50 subject rankings including tourism and hospitality, nursing, marine/ocean engineering, music, international relations, law and criminology.

ERA 2018 outcomes revealed that the University has dramatically improved its research quality profile with 41 fields of research rated at above or well-above world standard and 98% of our research contained in fields rated world standard or above.

Our citation impact stands at around 1.5 times the world average placing Griffith in a similar league on this quality measure to many well-established research-intensive universities.

Higher Degree by Research enrolments have risen considerably with Griffith now placed in the top 12 Australian universities for completions, research income, especially that funded by industry has shown strong growth (~44%) since 2017. These are impressive outcomes over a short time period, providing a substantial base for Griffith research to build on through to 2025 and beyond.

Consultation Questions

  1. Notwithstanding the outstanding results arising from the Research and Innovation Plan 2017-2020, could we have done more to extract greater return on the considerable investment made into research quality at Griffith?
  2. What could we have done differently? Where were the gaps?
  3. What worked well and what existing research strategies should be taken forward in the new Plan?

Developing a Research and Innovation Plan 2021-2025

The new Strategic Plan 2020-2025: Creating a future for all sets a new mission,

“to transform lives and add to human knowledge and understanding in a way that creates a future that benefits all.”

The Plan sets ambitious key outcomes for the research portfolio including: a top 200 global ranking by 2025; 10 disciplines ranked in the top 100, at least two in each academic group; increasing research income from a wider range of sources; support for early career researchers particularly post-doctoral fellows; and a more structured approach to research infrastructure and platforms in all major disciplines.

The Strategic Plan commits to the core principles of excellence, ethical behaviour and engagement, it reaffirms our intent to express our values in all that we do: respect for our First Peoples and commitment to environmental sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and social justice.

The Strategic Plan also sets the general direction for Research and innovation Plan 2021-2025, including seven key actions in research:

  • Establish Griffith Beacons,
  • Engage in the strategic recruitment of internationally recognised researchers,
  • Invest increased resources and focus into supporting our researchers to commercialise their research,
  • Support researchers to be able, and qualified, to succeed in national and international competitive grants,
  • Integrate high-quality research capability into academic hiring for all balanced and research-focused positions,
  • Better recognise the contribution of doctoral candidates as part of Griffith’s research fabric,
  • Invest strategically in both researchers and research infrastructure in areas of excellence.

Consultation Questions

  1. How best can we harness our research strengths to raise Griffith to the next level and enhance its ability to compete globally?
  2. A paper on Griffith Research Beacons will be released shortly. For the remaining key actions, how would you see these being delivered? (i.e. through specific programs and mechanisms)
  3. Describe what success for Griffith research in 2025 will look like?

People, Platforms and Processes

It is proposed that the Research & Innovation Plan 2021-2025, including the seven key actions set out in the University Strategic Plan, will be assembled around people, platforms and processes.

The People aspect will be focused on research workforce capability with special attention to be given to HDR candidates, early and mid-career researchers. Development of our research leaders of the future is essential for Griffith to scale up and not be caught out due to lack of effective succession planning.

The Platforms focus is on physical & digital infrastructure, physical and virtual platforms and personnel infrastructure. The interpretation of platforms is broad and includes Research Centres and Institutes, research support services (provided mainly through GE, GGRS, OR, various parts of Corporate Services and the Library), and other forms of major research platforms in all disciplines.

Issues around Processes were discussed at length in the Strategic Planning that took place in 2019 and this was mainly about reducing barriers and removing disincentives preventing researchers from performing at the highest levels. There is much feedback to be drawn upon from previous consultations, however we would like your views on immediate measures to be taken to remove redundancy around Griffith (double handling, duplication of support and services, complex policies and approval processes).

Other Plans (primarily the Academic Plan) will be developed in parallel with the Research & Innovation Plan 2021-2025 and there will be sharing of information across planning processes to ensure that account is taken of the student experience (including undergraduates), engagement and partnerships, internationalisation and reputation-building.

Consultation Questions

  1. What do we need to do above all else to support members of the research community better, beginning with HDR candidates, early and mid-career researchers?
  2. Are the Research Centres and Institutes in their current form appropriate to take Griffith forward to 2025 and beyond?
  3. What needs to change at Griffith to mobilise our knowledge and create the right culture to make societal and economic impact?
  4. How can we better promote our research and its impact appropriately?

Within these broad parameters we seek feedback from the research community within Griffith. Set out below are the consultation timelines leading to the anticipated approval of the Research and innovation Plan 2021-2025 by the University Council in October. We are in Phase One of a four-stage process and the intent, in this initial Phase, is to set the tone for the Plan and not to be too bogged down in detail. That will follow in subsequent phases.

Extensive conversations were conducted in the development of the Griffith Strategic Plan 2020-2025 and we will draw on that input to prevent unnecessary replication during the consultations.


Consultation Timelines

Provided below are the timelines for consultation, development and approval of the Research and innovation Plan allowing for input from all within the University community (all Phases) as well as relevant external stakeholders (Phase Two).

Phase One (April - May 2020) | Initial consultations including focus group sessions with HDR candidates, early and mid-career researchers and other research leaders

Phase Two (June - mid-July 2020) | Options paper

Phase Three (July - August 2020) | Broad directions paper

Phase Four (August - October 2020) | Draft Plan for discussion and approval

Please send your submissions and questions to

dvcr-comms@griffith.edu.au

by Friday 22 May 2020.

Confidentiality arrangements

It is intended that submissions will be shared with a core group of research leaders including the DVC (Research), PVC (Research) and Deans Research of each academic group. Please state in your cover email or prominently on your submission if you would like your contribution to be treated in confidence – i.e. to be addressed only to the DVC (Research).