Reflection on the first six months at the RSB
I arrived to take up the Directorship of the Research School of Biology in July 2015. I knew coming into the job that the faculty and staff at the RSB had a stellar reputation both within Australia and internationally. This was confirmed repeatedly in my first six months on the job. In that time, Professor Graham Farquhar received Australia’s highest scientific honour, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. Two of our faculty, Dr Janet Gardner and Dr Denisse Leyton (who is also a member of the ANU Medical School), were awarded Future Fellowships, recognising their innovative research proposals. Our Australian Research Council funding rate in 2015 exceeded the ANU and the country’s average, as it had in previous years. The list goes on.
As a research school in Australia’s national university, we take our mission seriously. Everything we do at the Research School of Biology is motivated by big questions. We invest in the very best people because we see them as our best hope in answering these questions; we teach our students to think broadly, deeply, and critically because in so doing, they may get closer to solutions that require disciplinary breadth and depth, and a healthy scepticism of dogma; we provide researchers with the best support staff and infrastructure, so that the challenges of lofty research are not compounded by the way we operate.
As scientists and educators, the School naturally looks to the future. Our success depends on the work that has gone on before, and the people who have passed through our doors. Our colleagues who are no longer with the School, and our alumni who made the journey of scientific discovery with us – yours are the shoulders on which we stand, so we can see farther.