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'Research Advisory Committee' - Membership and Terms of Reference

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Section 1 - Establishment


(1) Charles Sturt University (the University) aims to:

  1. maintain its position in the top five Australian universities for graduate outcomes based on employment and salary,
  2. embed a culture of excellence across all aspects of the University’s operations, and
  3. achieve significant and sustained growth in research, development and innovation income in our chosen areas, delivering high impact outcomes for regional Australia which is recognised for excellence internationally with the overarching aim of consolidating the institution so that it is demonstrably more resilient and sustainable by the end of the decade.

(2) The University has endorsed an ambitious research strategy that will be principally achieved through three Research Institutes:

  1. Agriculture, Water and Environment
  2. Cyber Security and Data Science
  3. Rural and Regional Health.


(3) The role of the Research Advisory Committee is to provide advice to the Vice-Chancellor and to Council on all aspects of research strategy and operation within Charles Sturt University (the University). 

(4) The Research Advisory Committee will ensure the University’s Research Institutes are aligned and achieve the University’s vision to be Australia’s leading regional University, advancing the careers of its students, inspiring research excellence and driving regional outcomes with global impact. 

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Section 2 - Glossary

(5) For the purpose of this document:

  1. Act – means the Charles Sturt University Act 1989.
  2. Advisory Boards – means the Advisory Boards of the Research Institutes. 
  3. Committee – means the Research Advisory Committee of Charles Sturt University.
  4. Council - means the University Council established under Part 3 of the Act.
  5. External person - means a person other than a member of the academic or general staff of the University or an undergraduate or graduate student of the University, as set out in section 8A of the Act.
  6. Foresighting Committee – means the Foresighting Committee established by Council.
  7. Research Institutes – means the Charles Sturt University Rural and Regional Health, Data Science and Cyber Security, and Agriculture, Water and Environment Research Institutes.
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Section 3 - Membership

(6) The members of the Research Advisory Committee are: 

  1. Chair, Foresighting Committee (Chair),
  2. the Vice-Chancellor,
  3. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research),
  4. the Chief Operating Officer,
  5. three Chairs of the Research Institutes, the chairs of the Research institutes should be appointed by Council on recommendation of the Foresighting Committee, and
  6. up to four external members appointed by the Foresighting Committee.

(7) The following positions have right of audience and debate at Committee meetings:

  1. three Academic Directors of the Research Institutes, and
  2. three Executive Directors of the Research Institutes.

(8) Other members of staff may be invited to attend. 

(9) External members will be appointed for a three-year term and may seek reappointment for a further term (maximum two terms).

(10) Members of the Committee are expected to be active contributors. Absence from three consecutive meetings of the Committee for which reasonable notice has not been given and is not excused by the Committee will result in the position being deemed vacant.

(11) The Committee membership should strive to achieve gender and diversity balance, skills-balance, and First Nations representation in the membership.

(12) The skill sets and attributes required collectively of the Committee (Appendix 1) and the founding external members of the Board (Appendix 2) are set out in the appendices associated with this document.

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Section 4 - Functions and responsibilities

Guiding principles

(13) Charles Sturt University’s research will:

  1. be of world-class standard, globally competitive and recognised as a national intellectual leader in its chosen fields,
  2. focus on the University’s regions, and rural and remote areas,
  3. have strong First Nations representation and effective governance,
  4. undertake research that is ethical and appropriate to First Nations people, communities and organisations including First Nations representation and appropriate governance,
  5. be distinctive, innovative, and provide new solutions to real time problems,
  6. be strategic, sustainable and create foundations for the long term,
  7. be collaborative with selected partners and stakeholders, and integrate with teaching, and
  8. operate to best practice ethical standards.

Committee responsibilities

(14) The principal responsibilities of the Committee are:

  1. to provide advice on the University’s overall approach to research to:
    1. the Vice-Chancellor,
    2. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research),
    3. the Chief Operating Officer,
    4. the Chairs of the Research Institute Advisory Boards, and
    5. the Academic Directors and Executive Directors of the Research Institutes,
  2. to oversight the performance of the Research Institutes, including:
    1. the fulfilment of their guiding principles,
    2. their alignment with each other, and
    3. consistency with the aims of the University. 
  3. to report to the Vice-Chancellor, who will report regularly to the Council, the Foresighting Committee and the Academic Senate on:
    1. strategic review and direction of the University’s research and research policy,
    2. performance and progress reporting of the Research Institutes, and
    3. other matters referred to the Committee by the Vice-Chancellor, the Foresighting Committee or the University Council.
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Section 5 - Meetings


(15) A quorum is a majority of the membership plus one external member.


(16) The Chair may approve for the whole, or any part, of a meeting of the Committee, the attendance of an employee or contractor of the University or any other persons, for the purpose of providing advice or consultation to the Committee.

(17) The Committee shall meet at least twice a year and three times a year during the establishment phase.

(18) The Committee may meet at other times.

Agendas and minutes

(19) Agendas are circulated to the Committee one week prior to the meeting. 

(20) Agendas and minutes for the meetings of the Committee will be prepared by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor using Council templates.

Related expenses

(21) External members of the Committee may be eligible for a per diem and out of pocket expenses through reimbursement.

Conflict of interest

(22) Where a member has a perceived or material conflict of interest, they must declare this to the Chair and at the Committee meeting prior to discussion of the item of business.


(23) Following approval of the membership and terms of reference by the University Council, variations to the terms of reference and/or membership must be approved by the Foresighting Committee.

Review of performance

(24) The Foresighting Committee will review the performance of the Committee annually.

(25) The Foresighting Committee will review the operation of the Institutes the first year and then every three years thereafter.

Review of these terms of reference

(26) The Foresighting Committee will review the terms of reference after the first year and then every three years thereafter.