Research Theme Leader

Edith Cowan University
Perth, WA, Australia
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified


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In 2019, ECU announced the outcomes of the strategic research and research operations review. This review highlighted the need for the University to support clusters of high-performing researchers, focused on building ECU’s capability and reputation, aligned to the four Research Themes: Health, Natural and Built Environments, Society and Culture and Securing Digital Futures. A number of initiatives to support this goal are underway and we are now excited to commence the search for our Research Theme Leaders as the key theme leadership roles needed to drive the University’s research strategy in the areas of Health, Natural and Built Environments and Society and Culture.

The Research Theme Leader will support ECU researchers through their coordination, leadership, networking and influence. They will ensure that ECU researchers realise world-class research excellence, promote and facilitate cross-disciplinary engagement, energise the research community, engage with government and industry, and drive the best positioning of ECU for external partnerships. They will work closely with the relevant Associate Dean/s (Research) and Directors of ECU Strategic Research Institutes and Centres.

The successful appointees will be expected to achieve and maintain the outcomes outlined in the ECU Academic Leadership Roles Policy and the ECU Academic Staff Performance Expectations and Outcomes Framework (ASPEO). They will also be active researchers themselves.

The Research Theme Leader role will normally be filled by a Professor (Level E) and have the following capabilities:

• Excellent scholarly record in a relevant discipline;
• Demonstrated leadership capabilities, including experience in leading diverse, collaborative research teams;
• Sound knowledge of policy, trends, innovations and strategies, particularly in the relevant broad research theme area;
• Demonstrated successful record of obtaining research grants and other funding;
• Demonstrated experience in HDR supervision leading to timely completions;
• Capacity to promote and operationalise the research strategy;
• Demonstrated capacity to build strategic networks and collaborative relationships nationally and internationally; and
• Capacity to foster a culture of capability building and mentoring.

As this role operates across Schools, it is important that the Research Theme Leader has some understanding of the different disciplines contributing to the relevant theme and is able to assist and influence multiple groups without being conflicted by other activities they may be involved in within their home School.

Key responsibilities for the Research Theme Leader are:

• Develop and lead the Theme’s research plan, including engagement activities, driving world-class research excellence in the associated areas.
• Manage the Theme’s annual planning cycle (including the budget), driving and leading its strategic direction, monitoring and reporting on performance to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), and to other key governance bodies as required.
• Drive equitable and inclusive practises in developing a collaborative research culture across the University, developing solutions for engaging academics and researchers at all levels into theme-specific research.
• Actively contribute to advice on internal funding schemes, including assessing the quality of applications and providing feedback and advice to relevant academic staff

You will also demonstrate personal attributes that are congruent with the University’s values of Integrity, Respect, Rational Inquiry and Personal Excellence.

More details about the role, including expanded accountabilities, can be found in the Academic Leadership Roles policy (copy attached or available online here).

The Research Themes Leadership roles we are seeking to fill are linked to the following themes:

Prevention, detection and management of disease and injury.

Priority areas:

• Exercise, nutrition, lifestyle and other interventions for optimal health across the lifespan,
• Multidisciplinary biological approaches to personalised disease diagnosis, prognosis and management,
• Neuroscience and neurorehabilitation,
• Prevention, detection and management of cancer and other chronic diseases,
• Safety and quality in health care

Natural and Built Environments
Understanding, harnessing, building and protecting environments for sustaining people, place and planet.

Priority Areas

• Engineering, technology and nanotechnology,
• Environmental management, governance and policy,
• Environmental science, ecology and ecosystems
• Human-environment interaction
• Sustainability of energy, water, materials and resources.

Society and Culture
Impacting and supporting social change through ensuring diversity, creativity, cultural identity, education, personal and organisational success and social justice.

Priority Areas

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander society and culture,
• Creativity, culture and artistic practice
• Diverse, equitable, informed and productive communities, schools and workplaces,
• Human movement and performance,
• Individual, economic, organisational, political and social transformation.

The role of Research Theme Leader will be offered for a term of up to three (3) years and is a fractional role (normally 0.4 FTE), held concurrently with a substantive academic appointment. The Research Theme Leader will have an annual budget allocation of $50,000 to enable promotion and engagement across the relevant theme. In addition, the Research Theme Leader will be provided with administrative support equivalent to 0.2 FTE.

Interested applicants are welcome to contact Professor Caroline Finch on (08) 6304 2258 or or Rebecca Ryan on (08) 6304 2870 or for more information.

How to Apply
Please upload your resume along with a statement (maximum 2 pages) outlining why you are interested in this role, with particular reference to the capabilities listed in this document as well as how your own research track record aligns to the theme lead role you are expressing interest in.

Closing Date
Applications close on Sunday 27 September 2020 at 11:30pm AWST.