Schmidt sets out ANU objectives

Brian Schmidt asserted the Australian National University’s moral and intellectual leadership in his annual address, yesterday.

“It is our role to innovate in research, to help Australia understand its place in the world, to find solutions to the most pressing problems facing the nation and the world – whether they are current emerging or in the future. That is our responsibility and this is our mandate,” the vice chancellor said.

Professor Schmidt announced ANU’s Reconciliation Action Plan (below) and committed the university to providing intellectual leadership.

“The phenomenon of fake news and alternative facts continues to grow and around the world there is a genuine devaluation of evidence informed by research and what it brings. … In the face of eroding and unprecedented marginalisation of academic expertise, we have to work harder than ever before to bring the world outside of academia with us. As Australia’s national university, it’s up to us to help find a way forward, for Australia, for our region, and for the world,” he said.

Professor Schmidt also outlined ambitions and activities for the year:

A Public Policy and Societal Impact Hub, “will harness the research breadth of ANU, … to offer solutions to some of the nation’s most complex policy issues.”

Appointment of the second VC Enterpreneurial Fellow, inventor of a vaccination nano-patch, Mark Kendall.

Australia’s first interdisciplinary research institute for cybersecurity.

“A substantial expansion and re-imagination” of engineering and computer science, “to help us understand and design solutions to the emerging challenges of modern society in a 21st-century set of engineering disciplines.”

Professor also signalled the university executive would assess the use by ANU academics of the federal National Institute Grant, “it might seem scary, but it is actually an opportunity to think big.”


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