The new heads of four of Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) key research centres have been appointed, signalling a greater focus by the University on its areas of research strength, according to CSU Vice-Chancellor Ian Goulter.
“We have amalgamated and refocussed our research efforts at CSU to concentrate and accelerate research of critical importance to regional Australia, identifying areas that meet the needs of communities in regional Australia and of the professions we serve,” Professor Goulter said.
“These four research centres, designated as centres of research excellence or strategic research centres under University approved guidelines, aim to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits for local, national and international communities.”
The four CSU centres, located in southern and central NSW and the ACT, are the:
- Institute for Land, Water and Society, which amalgamates the University’s expertise in water, land and environmental management and social issues in regional Australia. Professor Allan Curtis, a former program leader in the Federal Bureau of Rural Sciences where he worked at the interface between science and policy in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, will head the institute. Professor Curtis is a former director of CSU’s Johnstone Centre Research into Natural Resources and People, which has been amalgamated into the new institute;
- Centre for Research into Professional Practice, Learning and Education, a cross disciplinary centre that conducts applied research and consultation in professional practice. The centre’s researchers focus on the knowledge needed by professional people to make the hundreds of decisions they take each day, and how this knowledge is acquired, updated, maintained and verified. The centre will be led by Professor Gail Whiteford, an international expert in occupational science and community health practitioner, she was formerly Head of the University’s School of Community Health;
- Centre for Research in Complex Systems, which will address how complex relations in natural environments and societies can be shown and studied using computer programs and models. These models and programs can then be used to manage and predict how these systems work. The centre will be headed by Professor Terry Bossomaier, an international authority in computing and game simulations, especially involving the simulation of the biology of the human eye. He is a regular international conference presenter on complex systems in today’s society.
- Centre for Public and Contextual Theology, will focus on questions and issues relevant in contemporary Australian society and extends CSU’s lead role in teaching and postgraduate research in theology. It will engage in dialogue about wider and current social and intellectual concerns, while accounting for Australia’s multi-cultural, far-flung society. The centre will be lead by Professor James Haire, an eminent theologian and promoter of religious tolerance in Australia and internationally, particularly in Asia. He is a former President of the Uniting Church in Australia and is currently President of the National Council of Churches in Australia
“The University has carefully planned this development of areas of research excellence and focus building its staff profile and international expertise over a period of years. The appointment of our new Heads of research is indicative of the outstanding international profile and quality research leadership currently found in the University.”
The new research centres have been formally accredited until December 2007 by the University Council, CSU’s governing body.