ACEMS/AMSI Workshop on Measuring Research Engagement and Impact in the Mathematical Sciences


Weds., 28 September 2016, 10 am - 4 pm


The University of Melbourne


  • Prof Peter Taylor (discussion leader): ACEMS Director; Australian Laureate Fellow; The University of Melbourne
  • Ms Leanne Harvey: Acting Chief Executive Officer, Australian Research Council
  • Prof Tim Marchant: Professor of Applied Mathematics and Dean of Research, University of Wollongong; President of the Australian Mathematical Society (AustMS)
  • Prof Kerrie Mengersen: ACEMS Deputy Director; Australian Laureate Fellow; Professor of Statistics, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
  • Prof Geoff Prince: Director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI)
  • Prof Jacqui Ramagge, Head, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sydney

At the end of last year the Government announced it will develop a new national framework for the assessment of the engagement and impact of university research. The new framework is part of its National Innovation and Science Agenda, and will be run by the Australian Research Council (ARC) alongside the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) assessment (Click here for more information).

Partly responsible for this change is Australia’s poor performance in university/industry research collaboration. The new assessment framework will “examine how universities are translating their research into economic, social and other benefits and incentivise greater collaboration between universities, industry and other end-users of research”. A stakeholder consultation took place earlier in 2016, and a pilot assessment is planned for the first half of 2017.

The aim of this workshop is to consider how the mathematical science research community should respond to the fact that its engagement and impact activities will be assessed. For an enabling discipline such as mathematics, there are obvious challenges in this:  outside of applied mathematics and statistics, direct collaboration with industry is uncommon, and research commercialisation income is very low compared to other STEM disciplines.

So, how should we think about the impact of mathematical sciences research and what sort of engagement should we be undertaking?

This workshop is aimed at preparing mathematical sciences departments and schools in Australia for the upcoming changes. It will encourage discussion on

  • What engagement and impact mean in the context of mathematical sciences
  • How impact and engagement should be measured
  • Current structures for industry collaboration and how these can be built upon
  • How “blue sky” research fits into the picture and how the engagement and impact of fundamental research can be measured
  • Further thoughts and experiences relevant to these challenges.

We suggest that it will be invaluable for heads of mathematical science schools and departments, together with other people who will have input into the preparation of university Research Engagement and Impact Assessment portfolios in the mathematical sciences to attend. However, anyone with an interest in this area will be welcome.

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