The Research Impact Unit works to both advance research engagement and impact outcomes at ACU and to build a more inclusive society for autistic people through the Autism at ACU program.

Research engagement and impact

We undertake the collection and reporting of research engagement and impact data; and the development and implementation of policies and strategies to increase research engagement and impact at ACU. We also work with faculties and research institutes to encourage, facilitate and promote research engagement and impact outcomes.

To contact us about research engagement and impact please email:

Autism at ACU

We manage the Autism at ACU program, which seeks to explore, understand and implement mechanisms within and beyond our university that build a more inclusive society where autistic people are supported to reduce barriers and recognise and celebrate strengths.

To contact us about the Autism at ACU program please email:

Meet the team



Prof Sandra Jones

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research impact) - Melbourne

Professor Sandra Jones provides leadership, advice and support for our research engagement and impact strategy across the university’s research areas. Prior to her current appointment Sandra was the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement), establishing ACU Engagement as a critical unit in advancing the quality, consistency and awareness of its activities in community engagement and research engagement; and the Director of ACU’s Centre for Health and Social Research (CHaSR). Sandra joined ACU in 2014 after more than a decade as the Founding Director of Australia’s largest social marketing research group at the University of Wollongong. Sandra also leads the Autism at ACU research program, including conducting autism research, mentoring autistic academics, and supervising honours and postgraduate students conducting autism research.



Dr Andy King

Academic Lead, Research Translation and Impact - Melbourne

Andy is the Academic Lead, Research Translation and Impact, with responsibility for coordinating ACU’s knowledge translation activity, including research impact and engagement. He is also responsible for impact and engagement work within the portfolio of Health, Biomedical Sciences and Psychology research programs at ACU. By working closely with active researchers and research support staff, Andy is committed to fostering impactful, high quality research. Andy is a researcher and scientist by background, with 15 years’ experience conducting laboratory and applied research in human metabolism. Since completing his PhD in 2015 he has held roles as a post-doctoral research fellow in the Mary Mackillop Institute for Health Sciences and as a senior lecturer (exercise nutrition & metabolism) at Leeds Beckett University (UK), where he established a sports science clinic to embed his research into practice with elite and amateur athletes.



Jeanine Parsons

Research Impact Executive Advisor – Melbourne

Jeanine provides strategic advice and project support to the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research Impact and leads the preparation of the university’s submission to the ARC Engagement and Impact Assessment. Other roles she has held at ACU include Research Engagement Manager (2019–2022), Senior Manager, Research Services (2017–2018) and Graduate Research Manager (2014­–2017).



Dr Fatima Ghani

Research Impact Coordinator - Brisbane

Fatima is a researcher with over 20 years’ experience in public health projects involving communicable and non-communicable diseases, urban health and gender, and in roles involving health promotion, policy development, data analysis and research-to-policy translation informing the Australian and Malaysian Public Health Sectors as well as international research projects aimed at accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals for UN agencies (UNDP, UNFPA and UN Women). She completed a Bachelor of Nursing, a Master of Public Health and a PhD in social epidemiology as part of the Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy, Liveable and Equitable Communities to inform ecological interventions supporting active living and ageing communities, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.


 Lisa Lavey 

Lisa Lavey

Operations Manager (Impact) - Melbourne

Lisa Lavey is the Operations Manager for the Research Impact Unit in the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) portfolio. Lisa joined ACU in 2019 as the National Operations Manager for ACU Engagement where she was a key member of the leadership team. Lisa supported the achievement of the Pro Vice-Chancellor’s strategic objectives by managing the operations of the ACU Engagement unit, including management of the Unit’s resources to ensure effective service delivery. Lisa was also responsible for the operational management/leadership of all operations staff within the Unit.

Lisa has extensive research administration, management, and executive support experience in universities and other organisations and enjoys working in an environment where she can make a difference. She was previously the Research Administration Manager in the Monash University School of Rural Health for over 14 years.


 Josh Beard 

Josh Beard

Research Visualisation Manager - Melbourne

Josh joined ACU in 2014 developing materials for the Centre for Health and Social Research across numerous social marketing and community engagement projects. Having previously worked in a similar capacity for University of Wollongong’s Centre for Health Initiatives, he has experience in design for both community and research engagement. With a wide design scope Josh creates effective communication channels between end-users and researchers to facilitate collaborative knowledge transfer.



Dr Chloe Gordon

Research Associate - Melbourne

Dr Chloe Gordon is a Research Associate at the Melbourne Campus. She is a qualified teacher and holds a PhD in Education/Public Health from the University of Wollongong. Chloe joined ACU in 2014 as a casual professional within the Centre for Health and Social Research. She is passionate about using research to improve the health, education and social outcomes of vulnerable populations. Chloe is particularly interested in child and adolescent health and wellbeing.



Jennifer Lowe

Research Associate - Melbourne

Jennifer is a Research Associate at the Melbourne Campus who joined ACU in 2021. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) with a Double Major in Marketing and Interactive Marketing. Jennifer’s PhD in Public Health is being conducted in collaboration with the Public Health Palliative Care Unit and Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University. She is passionate about improving autistic adults’ experiences with health care service providers including palliative care, end-of-life, grief and bereavement contexts.



Bree Seamer

Autism at Uni Program Coordinator - Ballarat

On maternity leave until April 2023

Bree joined the Autism at Uni team in late 2019. Whilst she does not have a lived experience with Autism, she has a Bachelor of Applied Science and an extensive background in working with people who have a disability, facilitating advisory committees, promoting, and coordinating community engagement activities and is a strong advocate for equity.



Nicola Tait

Autism at Uni Program Coordinator - Canberra

Nicola joined ACU in 2018. She has a strong background in accessibility and inclusion for tertiary students, including the role of Disability Advisor at ACU where she was able to build relationships with students, staff and the community. Nicola is passionate about supporting people experiencing marginalisation and disadvantage and enthusiastic to connect staff and students with engagement opportunities in the local community.


You might also like...

Explore our impactful research

ACU research engages communities, government, industry and the non-for-profit-sector to create real and sustainable impacts on the health, wellbeing and prosperity of all people.

Explore our research

Engagement and Impact Assessment

EI is a companion exercise to Excellence in Research for Australia, developed to assess how well university researchers are engaging with end-users and translating their research into real-world impacts.

Learn more

The Autism at ACU program

At ACU we seek to explore, understand and implement mechanisms that build a more inclusive society where autistic people are supported to reduce barriers and recognise and celebrate strengths.

Learn more

Research and Enterprise

Our research and enterprise activities embrace the full life cycle of research, from knowledge creation to its translation and application towards real-world outcomes.

Learn more

Have a


Our contacts

Have a question for a specific
team? Ask the right person.

View all contacts