ACDS update – from the President

Melissa Brown Acds President

Message to Science Deans and Associate Deans – February 2023

Below are some updates from the Australian Council of Deans of Science (ACDS), including a summary of our Annual AGM and conference. 


ACDS 2022 Annual General Meeting and Conference

Thank you to those Deans or their delegates who were able to attend ACDS Annual General Meeting and Conference in October last year. It was truly wonderful to see so many people in attendance, and to be able to meet face-to-face after so many years on Zoom!

The program included presentations from key leaders and influencers from across the higher education sector. Available presentations from the conference can be found here.

Attendees provided excellent input into the priorities for the ACDS in 2023, during two highly interactive sessions that are summarized in the table at the bottom of this email. 

One of the strong themes from the discussion was to mobilize the Associate Deans’ Research in Science Faculties or similar, as is already in place for Associate Deans Education through the ACDS Teaching and Learning Centre. Through the ADRs, we would love to build a strong cohort of University science research leaders to drive research excellence, engagement and influence across our part of the sector, and to raise their national profile in this space. 

Another set of great ideas arose from a panel discussion with Merlin Crossley, Liz Johnson, Brian Yates, and Susan Howitt, around engaging nationally recognised experts and leaders in Science Teaching and Learning across our Universities, as ACDS Teaching Fellows, to provide leadership on current issues in Teaching and Learning.

The ACDS executive will consider all of the above in developing our Strategic Priorities for 2023. We warmly welcome your involvement in progressing the initiatives.

The Annual General Meeting included reports on our:

  • Achievements against the ACDS 2022 Strategic priorities
  • Challenges and opportunities for the future
  • Election of the 2023 Members of the ACDS executive. Congratulations and welcome all!
  • Financial position and proposed changes in the ACDS budget cycle, moving from a financial to calendar year and associated transition plans. As agreed at the AGM ACDS subscriptions will stand at $9000pa, but for this year will cover the 18 months from July 2022 to December 2023 to align the ACDS budget with the calendar year. Invoices are about to be sent out.

ACDS submissions to national consultation processes

The ACDS made two submissions in December. Many thanks to those members who were able to contribute at an incredibly busy time of year.

  • Australian Research Council Act. 

The ACDS submission focused on the importance and interrelationships across the entire research value chain and the need for this to be supported. Please read our submission here

  • Australian University Accord

The ACDS submission to the University Accord consultation focussed on the following key issues for University Science:

·         Quality and Sustainability: With a focus on research-informed teaching and post-

COVID-19 teaching innovation,

·         Investment and affordability: With a focus on the Job ready Graduates Package and the indirect costs of research, and

·         Delivering new knowledge, innovation, and capability: With a focus on the research value chain and research infrastructure funding.

ACDS Teaching and Learning Grants

We are about to call for applications for ACDS Teaching and Learning Grants. These are grants between $5,000 and $20,000 to develop innovative techniques and resources for university science teaching and learning. See last year’s announcement to get a sense of the scheme. Details of the 2023 round will be announced shortly.

Upcoming events

The ACDS will run a number of webinars for Deans and Associate Deans during the course of 2023. Please let us know if there are topics that you would be keen to hear about, and people who you would be keen to hear from.


  • Australia Day Honours

Congratulations to Kiaran Kirk, Dean of the ANU College of Science, for being appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2023 Australia Day Honours.

  • Universities Australia Conference

I am looking forward to attending the Universities Australia Conference 2023 this week and hope to see some of you there. The program looks fabulous! I am especially looking forward Mary O’Kane’s lunchtime address on the Australian Universities Accord.

  • Science Technology Australia

STA have developed a pre-Budget submission proposing a Science Future Fund to supercharge economic growth through income-generating R&D.

  • Australian Academy of Science

The Australian Academy of Science also made a submission to the Federal Budgetcalling for a big-picture approach to research funding along the lines of the Medical Research Future Fund and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. 

  • National Reconstruction Fund

Following on from an ALP election promise, the Australian government has committed $15B to establish a National Reconstruction Fund to uplift research and development in industry in a range of priority areas.

  • Australia’s Economic Accelerator

The Australian government is also investing $1.6M in an Economic Accelerator to boost the translation and commercialization of University Research. The program is part of the University Research Commercialization Action plan and is aligned with the above national Reconstruction Fund. Applications are now open for $10M of funding through Economic Accelerator Seed Grants. The closing date for this scheme is the 17th of March 2023.

  • National Industry PhD Program

The National Industry PhD program is a $296M investment to support an Industry PhD program whereby PhD candidates undertake a project that has been co-designed and co-supervised by University and industry. Applications will open this year for a July 1 2023 start-date. Further information can be found here.

  • National Science Statement

It was pleasing to hear from STA that the Federal Department of Industry Science and Resources is planning to revitalize Australia’s Science and Research priorities, which were last reviewed in 2015. 

I look forward to engaging with you in ACDS activities again this year, and to seeing you at the 2023 AGM (DATE CLAIMER: October 24 – 25th, 2023) if not before. 

Kind regards, Melissa.

Summary of feedback from Deans at the 2022 ACDS AGM and conference

Issues  Possible actions
Identity of Science GraduatesArticles and role models in ACDS Australian Science MagazineAlso communicate to secondary school studentsTestimonials from graduates on the value of their degree
Support for research and industry engagementEstablish an ACDS Science and Innovation Centre (ie a Research version of the ACDS T&L centre)Support pilot projects (Like ACDS T&L grants)Science meets industry forumGuidelines on engaging with industryStrong engagement with ADRsACDS Industry Fellows??Do more with the AAS (EMCR forums)
Teaching delivery and student engagementThe value of internships and WIL – eg Aus Uni Science magazine issue of this. Build on ACDS WIL reportIntensive mode teaching to enhance engagement especially for students who travel / work / undertake high value activities eg internships / field tripsArticulate the value of Research-informed teaching
University infrastructureLobby for reinstatement of EIF, eg via University Accord processNCRIS – opaque – A topic for an ACDS Webinar
Engagement with membersMore regular communication and use of social media, broader distribution list, include short videos Authentic consultation – plan ahead and allow time for members to input into submissions. Comms that can be shared beyond Deans and is valued by a broader community eg Associate Deans, Heads of School. Open ACDS mentoring program to Associate Deans. Webinar topics (vs people) that are of direct relevance to Deans / Associate Deans (WIL, Industry engagement, NCRIS, Univ Accord, ARC Review, Funding)
Funding for UniversitiesWebinar on JRG, Budget distribution models

Professor Melissa Brown


Australian Council of Deans of Science


T  @AustDeansSci