Strategic Plan for SMB: Research and Innovation

The School of Molecular Bioscience conducts leading research in the basic and biomedical sciences that contributes to the health and well being of our communities.

The research outputs of our School are most relevant to Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) categories of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Nutrition and Dietetics. Within the School we are organized discipline-related groups: Structural Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Nutrition and Metabolism, Proteomics and Biotechnology. The impacts of our research within these discipline areas are in understanding of fundamental biomolecular processes, the molecular mechanisms of infectious and genetic diseases, metabolic disorders, and environmental health.

Our priorities are to:

  • Foster the recruitment of outstanding research scientists to the academic staff to complement and strengthen existing research activities.
  • Strengthen our student and post-doctoral recruitment practices to bring the best and brightest into the School and the field.
  • Strengthen and promote our interdisciplinary research, within the school and with external collaborations (national and international).
  • Invest in our research infrastructure to promote competitiveness in recruitment and grants.
  • Productively engage with industry in research projects.

We are committed to enhancing our research achievements through increased focus on our ability to support interdisciplinary research, collaborative research that engages the international research community, and proactive student and postdoctoral recruitment.

Standards of Performance and Benchmarks:

Contributing to the University’s aspiration of “1:5:40” by being a top-ranked School nationally for:

  • Prizes and post doctoral awards won by SMB-based researchers and students.
  • Research income from national and international sources.
  • Average impact factor and citation data for our research publications.

Maintaining an international-standard working environment for our researchers:

  • Meet set targets for percentage of research space renovated over 5 year period.
  • Success in targeted major equipment applications to external agencies.

A sought-after partner with industry:

  • Increases in number of ARC Linkage applications and patents.

Our action plans for each of our priorities are:

Priority: Foster the recruitment of outstanding research scientists to the academic staff to complement and strengthen existing research activities

  • Engage the Research Committee in the selection of new academic staff through the membership of appointment committees and focussed forums on the research direction of the School
  • Actively recruit strategic candidates for external competitive research fellowship applications and the USyd Visiting Fellowships scheme

Priority: Strengthen our student and post-doctoral recruitment practices to bring the best and brightest into the School and the field

  • Support a national competition for SMB top-up scholarships prior to the APA application date of each year to commence in the following academic year.
  • Pro-actively recruit students and post-doctoral fellows through targeted promotion of the School at selected scientific meetings and joint advertisement of available positions.
  • Establish undergraduate student recruitment strategies for students from years 1 through 4.

Priority: Strengthen and promote our interdisciplinary research, within the school and with external collaborations

  • Establish a working group to identify mechanisms to fund visits by distinguished international researchers to deliver short courses and interact with our faculty and students.
  • Establish a mentoring/coaching scheme to improve SMB applications for grants.
    Use a review process (stewarded by the RC) to ensure that applications from the School for fellowship schemes are competitive and reflect the excellence and diversity in SMB research.
  • Promote nominations for USyd, national and international committees, including review and assessment panels.
  • Promote nominations of SMB researchers for national/international awards and prizes.

Priority: Invest in our research infrastructure to promote competitiveness in recruitment and grants

  • Accurate records of existing laboratory space, equipment and technical expertise are kept and with these data we:
  1. Submit plans for renovation of sub-standard research space to the university on an annual basis to maintain both ‘awareness’ and readiness to exploit opportunities for upgrade.
  2. Develop a strategic plan for maintenance of existing major infrastructure facilities with respect to staff expertise and equipment that is supported by the Management Committee.
  3. Identify major equipment investments that would enhance our capacity to maintain ‘cutting edge’ research.

Priority: Productively engage with industry in research projects

  • Have industry speakers in our seminar program (2/year), and organize 2 focused industry forum days per year.
  • Invite the Sydnovate leader to visit SMB and update the staff on how Sydnovate can assist.
  • Establish a School data base of companies we interact with.