ARC success for ACU researchers

Published: Wednesday 5th November 2014

Researchers at Australian Catholic University (ACU) are celebrating after receiving seven Australian Research Council (ARC) grants – making it the University’s best year for funding success.


Six of the grants are awarded to researchers from the Institute of Positive Psychology and Education (IPPE) and the Learning Sciences Institute Australia (LSIA) and include two grants to Indigenous researchers.


An additional grant was awarded to Professor Sandra Jones, formerly of the University of Wollongong, now of ACU’s Centre for Health and Social Research, part of The Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research.  Professor Jones was awarded a Discovery Grant for her research Drunk on confidence, glamour, and fun: Alcohol advertising to women in Australia.


The news comes as ACU reflects on its first year of research intensification – a strategy which was developed in response to changes in the Australian Higher Education sector.  The strategy aims for better performance in priority research areas, improved reputation, ERA results and overall research rankings.


The initial phase of research intensification has included the establishment of seven new research institutes, which have brought together world-class researchers who are committed to developing research expertise in ACU’s priority areas of education, health, theology and philosophy and social justice. 


Professor Wayne McKenna, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), said that ACU’s success this year is evidence that the strategy is already paying off.


“These results demonstrate that ACU is positioning itself to become a leading research university and highlight our commitment to supporting and developing excellence in research,” he said.


Professor McKenna said that he was particularly pleased that Indigenous researchers from the IPPE in ACU’s Faculty of Health Sciences received two awards.


Professor Janet Mooney was awarded an Indigenous Grant for her research Triumphing in the new Indigenous Australia: Explicating key psychosocial determinants of successful Indigenous professionals’ socio-economic wellbeing.   


Dr Fabri Blacklock was awarded an Indigenous Grant for her research Keeping culture: Utilising Koori Elders wisdom and knowledge in education.


“The IPPE’s success builds on the $1.2 million in ARC Linkage funding that they received earlier this year and demonstrates our commitment to supporting a strong Indigenous research culture,” Professor McKenna said.


The other grants were awarded to researchers from LSIA, part of the Faculty of Education and Arts.

LSIA Program Director, Professor Joy Cumming, was awarded a Discovery Grant for her research Effective teacher-based assessments for students with disability.


Program Director, Professor Morag McArthur, from the Institute of Child Protection Studies, part of LSIA, was awarded a Discovery Grant for her research Involving children in social research: balancing the risks and benefits.


Associate Professor Susan Edwards was awarded a Discovery Grant for her research New play pedagogies for teaching and learning in the early years.


Associate Professor Vince Geiger was awarded a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award for his research Designing and implementing effective cross-curricular numeracy tasks.


Professor McKenna said that these grants demonstrated the strength of ACU’s research in education which focused on improving the learning outcomes, wellbeing and life chances of children and young people.


“Our research in education aims to remove the barriers to learning that some young people face and make a difference to their futures,” he said.