A LOCAL professor will trade the grounds of Armidale for research as she tackles a new role.
The University of New England’s Professor Sue Thomas will leave her current post to take on the role of chief executive officer of the Australian Research Council.
The council awards Australian Government funding for research projects.
Professor Thomas said the decision to leave UNE, where she is the university’s Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, was difficult.
“It is an exciting and challenging time to be part of the higher education sector,” she said.
“A large part of my role has been to assist the University in becoming more agile to address the changes in this area.
“I have enjoyed my time working with UNE’s staff and students, and with Professor Annabelle Duncan as Vice-Chancellor.”
Her departure is a loss to the university but a win for Australian research, UNE Vice-Chancellor Annabelle Duncan said.
“Since her arrival at UNE in 2015, Sue has been integral in the development of the university’s Strategic Plan to 2020, delivering new products to market and improving UNE’s engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community,” Professor Duncan said.
Professor Duncan said Professor Thomas’s appointment reflects the calibre of staff at the University of New England.
“I regret that we are losing Sue’s expertise from UNE, but I’m delighted that she is heading up an agency that is vital to Australian innovation and academic excellence,” she said.
“I know the ARC will be in good hands, and we look forward to working with Sue in her new capacity.”
Professor Thomas will step away from her role at UNE mid-year, and will start in her new position in early-July.
Current Acting CEO, Ms Leanne Harvey, welcomed the announcement of Professor Thomas’ appointment by Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham.
“Professor Thomas will join the ARC as an experienced and distinguished leader from the higher education sector with an extensive academic and research background in microbial genetics, environmental microbiology and agricultural biotechnology,” Ms Harvey said.
“In her new role as CEO, Professor Thomas will bring significant expertise and strong credentials to the ARC, allowing the ARC to further enhance its role in advancing Australian research and innovation.