Research institutes at ACU

Published: Monday 28th July 2014

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to update you on the establishment of ACU's new research institutes. A great deal has happened in a short period of time and I appreciate the efforts of staff across campuses and faculties and directorates in helping make this happen for ACU.

As you know, the University has prioritised the intensification of research over the next five years in order to achieve better performance in priority research areas, leading to improved research reputation, ERA results and overall research rankings.

The initial phase of research intensification includes the establishment of five new research institutes comprising:

  • Institute for Health (official name to be confirmed shortly);
  • Learning Sciences Institute Australia;
  • Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry;
  • Institute for Positive Psychology and Education;
  • Institute for Social Justice.

The Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry and the Learning Sciences Institute Australia were established in late 2013, with funding from the ACU Research Fund. The Institute for Positive Psychology and Education and the Institute for Social Justice were established at the beginning of 2014.

The latest institute, the Institute for Health, began on 1 July with the appointment of Professor Simon Stewart as Director.

Professor Stewart joins ACU from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute where he was Head of Preventative Cardiology. An NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and Principal Investigator of an NHMRC Program Grant, Project Grant and Centre of Research Excellence (to Reduce Inequality in Heart Disease), he has attracted $20 million in research funds in the past five years to support his wide-ranging health services research program with strong translational outcomes.

We are very pleased to welcome our new colleagues and look forward to working with them on new and existing projects and collaborations.

The institutes mark an important new chapter in research at ACU. All of the institutes align with the identity and mission of the University and will be undertaking important work which will strengthen our performance in research.

Alongside this, the University remains committed to supporting and promoting its existing researchers and research partnerships.

We will continue to build research capacity in areas that are strongly aligned to our identity and mission in the four broad focus areas of education; theology and philosophy, health, and the pursuit of the common good.

We value all of our researchers and the contributions that they have made towards our Research Intensification strategy so far.

This is an important time for us at ACU. It is a valuable opportunity to strengthen, develop and grow our research staff and our capabilities in areas that reflect our identity and mission. I look forward to working with you all on the next phase.

We will be profiling individual institutes in the near future. However, if you have any questions about the new institutes, please do get in touch with Amy Ripley, Communications Officer (Research), on

With best wishes

Professor Wayne McKenna
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)