The University of Sydney has announced an ambitious reform agenda which will triple its annual research investment, transform its undergraduate offering and create closer ties with industry and community partners.
The University's 2016-20 Strategic Plan, released this week, details a tripling of the University's investment in research by 2020, a move that Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence said would significantly lift the quality and impact of the University's research.
"This is an unashamedly ambitious plan, outlining a clear vision that holds true to the University's essential character," Dr Spence said.
"High quality research is the seedbed of innovation. We need to support the full spectrum of research – from basic through to applied and translational research, as well as research conducted with community partners – to ensure we continue to make a major contribution to the public good. We're confident that with the right infrastructure and support, our pioneering researchers will unlock answers to the great questions and challenges of our time."
This is an unashamedly ambitious plan, outlining a clear vision that holds true to the University’s essential character
As part of the plan, the University will expand its presence in Western Sydney through the development by 2030 of a new multidisciplinary campus for 6,000 students at Westmead. An extra $50 million has been earmarked to fund new infrastructure in the Western Sydney region in the next five years, working towards a long-term target of $500 million over the next 15 years.
Highlighting the University's commitment to business and industry engagement, a purpose-built innovation precinct, the University of Sydney Knowledge Hub, will be constructed on the Camperdown/Darlington campus, where partners will be invited to co-locate their research efforts. Funding will also be directed into support for commercialisation of research.
The University will introduce a new Bachelor of Advanced Studies which, when combined with existing Bachelor degrees in Arts, Science or Commerce, will create a unique four-year program to better prepare students not only for the workplaces of the future but for a life in which change is constant.
"Students who receive an undergraduate degree from the University of Sydney will possess deep disciplinary expertise, and will also have undertaken courses that equip them with the skills employers tell us they need: digital literacy, cultural competence, ethics and the ability to understand and translate data. They will also have an opportunity to work on real-world problems as part of their degree," Dr Spence said.
"By coupling deep discipline-based inquiry with these core generic skills and experience in problem solving, we are confident that our graduates will meet the challenges and opportunities of the increasingly competitive and global job market."
Dr Spence said the Strategic Plan also establishes for the first time in the University's history a set of institutional values that will guide and enrich the working lives of its community.
"Our consultation found a deep commitment to inclusion and diversity at the University of Sydney – we believe that we should be a community for people from a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds," he said.
"We are committed to the notion that an institution marked by diversity of many different kinds is a stronger one that is more likely to achieve its goals."
Dr Spence said the next step was to work with the University community, students, staff, alumni and industry partners, to ensure the ambitious goals outlined in the plan were implemented by 2020.
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