ERA success for ACU researchers

Published: Monday 7th December 2015

Australian Catholic University (ACU) researchers are celebrating after a strong performance in the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment. The performance affirms ACU's rapidly rising research trajectory.

The University received high scores in the fields of research identified as strategic priorities and in which it has concentrated investment in order to achieve the highest levels of excellence. These include selected areas of Health, as well as Education, Psychology, Theology, and Philosophy. In the two-digit Field of Research (FoR) codes, ACU received the top score of five – well above world standard – in Psychology (17).

ACU also received a score of four – above world standard – in Medical and Health Sciences (11) and Philosophy and Religious Studies (22).

ACU received a score of three – at world standard – in Education (13), Studies in Human Society (16), Law and Legal Studies (18) and History and Archeology (21). ACU’s research in the four-digit FoR codes was especially strong.

ACU received the top score of five in Human Movement and Sports Science (1106), Nursing (1110), Public Health and Health Services (1117) and Psychology (1701).

ACU was awarded a score of four in Specialist Studies in Education (1303), Philosophy (2203) and Religion and Religious Studies (2204). ACU received a score of three in Education Systems (1301), Curriculum and Pedagogy (1302), Business and Management (1503), Political Science (1606), Sociology (1608), Law (1801), Applied Ethics (2201) and Historical Studies (2103).

Professor Wayne McKenna, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) said the excellent results demonstrate that ACU is positioning itself to become a leading research university.

He said ACU had demonstrated an extraordinary improvement in scores since the 2012 assessment in which it received no scores of four or five.  In this year's assessment it received five scores of five and five scores of four, spread over the two-digit and four-digit codes, to make it one of the most improved institutions in the country.

“Our strong performance in our priority areas of research shows how our research exemplifies the ACU Mission by reaching out into the community to make a difference.  Our rich research culture informs our teaching – to the benefit of our students – and engages our staff with researchers across the world,” Professor McKenna said.

The news comes as ACU reflects on its second successful year of research intensification – a five-year strategy developed in response to changes in the Australian Higher Education sector.

“The strategy drives excellence in research for the benefit of our students, our communities, and the world – as demonstrated by our ERA results,” Professor McKenna said.

The initial phase of research intensification has included the establishment of seven research institutes, which have brought together world-class researchers who are committed to developing research expertise in ACU’s priority areas of education, health (including mental health), theology and philosophy and social justice and the common good.  It has also involved significant investment in research across ACU’s four faculties through the ACU Research Fund.