ACU (Australian Catholic University)


Issue 7, Summer 2012


$7.9 million for cardiovascular research

ACU, in partnership with the University of Melbourne, St Vincent’s Health and the O’Brien Institute, has been awarded $7.9 million in funding to develop and implement a suite of cardiovascular research projects.

The Building Collaborative Research with Specific Focus on Cardiovascular Health project received the funding as part of the Collaborative Research Networks program, an initiative introduced by the Australian Government to foster excellence in research among higher education institutions.

Professor Greg Craven, Vice-Chancellor at ACU, said the award was a wonderful outcome for the University and its partners, and is a reflection of the high quality research in which ACU is already engaged.

“The generous funding provided by the Gillard Government will enable exciting initiatives to move forward as the partnership develops a sustainable research structure relying on the strengths of the four institutions in health research and practice,” he said.

ACU has joined with partner institutions to establish the Centre for Research Enhancement and Sustainability (CRES), a specialised centre that focuses on managing research development and collaboration at ACU.

“In addition to the CRES, the partnership will grow its Cardiovascular Research Centre (CvRC) into a world standard centre for collaborative research into the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease,” Professor Craven said.

Building bridges to university

ACU will join four Sydney-based universities in a $21.2 million initiative aimed at boosting the number of students from low socio-economic backgrounds in higher education.

The four-year project will create new aspiration-building programs to reach more than 100,000 school-age children from Greater Western Sydney. More than 1.8 million people live in the region, which has traditionally been underrepresented in higher education participation rates.

Bridges to Higher Education is a unique collaboration between ACU, the University of Western Sydney, the University of Sydney, University of Technology, Sydney, and Macquarie University.

ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said the University was proud to be involved in the initiative, which is very much in line with ACU’s Mission.

“Everyone with the ability and drive to succeed should have the opportunity to study at university,” he said. “The Bridges to Higher Education scheme will significantly broaden the University’s ACUgate program, which aims to create lasting and trusting relationships with students in Years 5 to 12.”

The funding comes from a $150 million Commonwealth initiative aimed at getting universities working collaboratively to address the decade-long challenge of increasing the numbers and proportion of students from low socio-economic backgrounds in higher education.

Bridges to Higher Education will draw on the five universities’ existing partnerships with significant education, government and non-government organisations, including the NSW Department of Education and Communities, TAFE NSW, Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), AFL NSW/ACT, The Smith Family, and Tutoring Australasia.

Strathfield Campus Concept Plan revised

ACU has been working on a plan for the upgrade of the Strathfield Campus, which was lodged with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure at the beginning of this year.

After reviewing submissions from residents, and local and state government agencies, the University has made some amendments and lodged a revised Concept Plan with the Department.

ACU is confident that the amendments will address the concerns raised over the past few months and provide a good outcome for the site and local area. The revised Concept Plan addresses various issues including:

Student numbers

  • the existing consents that apply to ACU’s Strathfield Campus
  • the methods employed by ACU to monitor student numbers on the site
  • the way in which the context of higher education has changed over the last 20 years, particularly in regard to how the students achieve qualifications, and current and future proposed student numbers
Traffic, parking and access
  • an additional increase of 73 spaces for on-campus parking – taking the total to 717 spaces
  • abandonment of the proposed two-hour timed parking in the local area
  • patronage of ACU’s free shuttle bus
  • reduction of campus access points from four gates to three
  • alterations to the footprint of the library building proposed in Precinct 1 to maintain significant heritage view lines, protect the two existing Bunya Pines, and maintain the general amenity of the area
  • alterations to the footprint of the building in Precinct 3 to assist in reducing any impacts on adjoining residential properties
  • hours of operation, proposed hours of operation have been clarified and activities within those hours detailed.

 Gold for ACU at uni games

ACU students bagged a bundle of medals at the recent Southern University Games in La Trobe Valley, and Eastern University Games in Tamworth.

Occupational therapy student Georgia Brock took out gold in the women’s 8km cross-country event, with education student Michelle Delaney taking bronze, and exercise science student Nathan Buschkuehl winning bronze in the men’s event.

The mixed touch football team won silver, the women’s volleyball took out bronze, and golfer Matthew Pecora also secured bronze.

The University teams also won the Hugh McKechnie Trophy (per capita games champion) for the first time, and the Spirit of the Games trophy for the third time – for demonstrating the best sportsmanship.

Mark Young, Campus Life Coordinator at ACU, said the more than 100 students from all six campuses competed.

“With our students coming from all six of ACU’s campuses it can be a challenge to play together as a team when they haven’t previously met in person,” he said. “However we have some fantastic students at ACU and fostering a strong sense of camaraderie between team mates is never a problem.”

Top award for stroke researcher

Professor Sandy Middleton has been awarded the 2012 CVN Stroke Article of the Year Award for her study - which found three simple protocols to be more effective than the current treatment for acute stroke patients.

Director of the Nursing Research Institute at ACU and St Vincents & Mater Health, Professor Middleton will receive the award at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Los Angeles next month.

The Stroke Article of the Year Award recognises the scientific and clinical contributions of cerebrovascular nurses in promoting the American Heart Association's goals.  It also recognises scientific excellence in cerebrovascular nursing science and encourages investigation that will further knowledge and skills in this area.

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