Message from Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Wayne McKenna: I am delighted to announce that an ACU application to create an Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Thriving Futures has been shortlisted by the ARC. It is a tremendous achievement to be shortlisted and, if approved, the Centre will significantly advance scientific research which will deliver real benefits for Indigenous Australians.
More than 100 applications for ARC Centres of Excellence are usually received and only 20 are shortlisted for the full application. Funds for ARC Centres of Excellence generally range between $20-28 million.
The application has been led by our colleague Professor Rhonda Craven, Director, Institute for Positive Psychology and Education (IPPE).
The proposed Centre will bring together leading Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, next generation researchers, government, industry partners, and stakeholders with a shared commitment to addressing a critical issue of our time.
The proposed Centre’s strengths-based transformational research agenda will:
draw upon the very best Indigenous and Western scientific research methodologies to result in innovative, practical, and conceptual advances in international Indigenous theory, research, and practice;
work in collaboration with Indigenous children, youth, and community members and leverage the nature of their agency for positive effects;
build capacity amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, Indigenous community members, industry, and policy makers;
provide high quality research training and mentorship for graduate students and early and mid-career researchers; and
result in transforming lives and communities, and contributing materially to Australia’s socio-economic fabric.
The proposed research program comprises four interrelated research programs: Educational Thriving, Physical Thriving, Psychological Thriving, and Family and Community Thriving. These research programs reflect primary drivers that are fundamental in enabling Indigenous children and youth to get the most out of life and enjoy thriving socio-economic futures.
Program Leaders will be drawn from ACU, Charles Sturt University and the University of Sydney and will include Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers. Other Institutions involved in the Centre will include Melbourne University, the University of Queensland, the University of New South Wales, the Australian National University, the University of Western Australia, the University of South Australia, Flinders University, the Baker ID Institute, La Trobe University, Charles Darwin University and the Telethon Kids Institute.
Educational Thriving Research Program (Program Leader Professor Jeannie Herbert, Charles Sturt University)
This program aims to inform policy and practice to transform Indigenous children and youth educational outcomes and lead to positive outcomes later in life.
Psychological Thriving Research Program (Program Leader Professor Richard Ryan, IPPE, ACU)
This research will identify factors that have enabled self-reliance and wellbeing in Indigenous people and link these with assessment tools and intervention methods to facilitate interventions in schools and community and inform policy as to appropriate targets of future interventions.
Physical Thriving Research Program (Program Leader Professor Simon Stewart, Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, ACU)
The Physical Thriving Research program will shed new light on the factors that result in optimal health profiles for Indigenous children, youth, and communities that protect them from premature disease and mortality.
Family and Community Thriving Research Program (Program Leader: Professor Juanita Sherwood, University of Sydney)
This research will identify the key characteristics of positive parenting and healthy communities that enable Indigenous children and youth to thrive to inform policy and interventions to enhance family and community life, leading to thriving futures for all Indigenous people.