I am delighted to say that the program has now graduated 74 doctors, including eight Australian Indigenous doctors, all of whom have the skills and capabilities to practise anywhere in the world, and many of whom have the passion to give back to the communities where they learned and trained.
2017 was also a year in which the strength of our research excellence was reflected in our impressive performance attracting our highest ever National Health and Medical Research Council grants allocation, exceeding $24 million and positioning us 9th in the nation. We also saw a 20 per cent increase in Australian Research Council funding, further reflecting the brilliance of our talented researchers and staff, and their commitment to transformative, impactful research.
These grants will enable significant research in areas such as Indigenous health, heart attack interventions, glaucoma treatments and sleep health, and are an important step towards realising the University’s strategic ambitions.
Research and creative endeavour have been at the core of Flinders University’s identity since its inception, and with more than 45 Research Centres and Institutes, we are on the path to our stated aim of doubling our research income by 2025.
From pioneering non-invasive early tests for cancers, to removing airborne mercury or revolutionising mobile communications during natural disasters, our research is as rich and diverse as our people and our disciplines.
I’d like to congratulate all involved in our significant research success in 2017 and look forward to continuing our worldchanging studies in 2018.
Also at the core of our identity is innovation in education, and the University continued to show leadership in this area in 2017. We received an overall satisfaction rating of 84.8 per cent in the 2017 Employer Satisfaction Survey – above the national average and top in our State.
Providing an innovative education goes beyond the boundaries of our campuses, and in 2017 the University continued to develop strong relationships with commerce and industry in both Australia and internationally.
With the focus in South Australia on defence, Flinders University expanded its network of partners signing a number of agreements including one with four leading French Graduate Schools of Engineering relating to the Future Submarine Program in Adelaide. The University also entered into a range of educational and research partnerships with leading defence companies, including US-based Northrop Grumman and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri – the latter providing a number of Italianbased internships for our business students.
Our vision to be the source of Australia’s most enterprising students took a significant step forward as a new suite of Innovation and Enterprise topics and courses were rolled out for all students. Developed and led by leaders in entrepreneurial education, the new topics and courses are informed by one of the top 10 American business schools for entrepreneurial studies – The Fox School of Business at Temple University in Philadelphia. To date, hundreds of students have undertaken these topics and their feedback has been exceptional. Our focus on Innovation and Enterprise is a key differentiator of Flinders Business which was successfully relaunched in 2017 in Australia, and at a number of ceremonies across the Asia-Pacific.
Extending our global reach the successful Flinders University Medical Device Partnering Program launched in Singapore, expanding our research expertise and network of partners within the Asia-Pacific region. Further enhancing our international reputation Flinders University was ranked as the world’s top digital illustration school in the 2017 Rookies rankings together with a local Adelaide-based industry partner, CDW Studios, which speaks to our established rapport the Creative Arts industry.
Engagement with China continued to grow with the creation of the International Laboratory for Health Technologies in collaboration with the Shandong Academy of Science in Jinan, and the University has agreed to develop a further joint research initiative with Nankai University in Tianjin.
Our Australian collaborations continued to grow, and amongst them I am especially pleased to highlight that we became a member of BAE Systems Australia’s Joint Open Innovation Network (JOIN), a national initiative to drive research, development and innovation in defence technology.
Always at the forefront of new technologies, 2017 saw the University commence development of the Tonsley Manufacturing Innovation Hub - an accelerator for advancing digital technologies and creating highly skilled jobs. As a founding tenant at the Tonsley innovation hub, it was also apt that we joined with industry partners to secure substantial funding for the University to trial an autonomous shuttle. It places Flinders University at the vanguard of a new era which will see the introduction of driverless passenger vehicles on public roads in Australia. I’m looking forward in the very near future to a driverless, renewable energy shuttle ferrying students and staff between our Tonsley and Bedford Park campuses.
While equipping our graduates to achieve success at an international level, we are also increasingly attracting the best and brightest minds and partners from around the globe.
I commenced this foreword in praise of the staff at Flinders University, and I seek to close it in the same fashion by thanking all members of the University community for their significant contribution, their dedication and their hard work in 2017.
Our accomplishments are testament to the world-leading teaching and research undertaken by our talented and dedicated staff and students, that will see us achieve our goals, as we strive to establish a place within the top 1% of universities worldwide.
Professor Colin J Stirling
President and Vice-Chancellor