Executive Dean update

Dear Colleagues,

It has been great to see the numbers of students and staff increase across our various sites and the vibrancy of campus life return again after the lockdown at the start of semester two.

Thank you to everyone who has been following the Queensland Government COVID-19 directions including wearing masks in areas where you can’t physically distance, using the Check In Qld app and staying home if unwell. 

I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out the Pulse Check survey. The Pulse Check will provide vital insights into our opportunities to keep improving our culture. 

Despite the challenges that we have experienced over the past 18 months it was extremely pleasing that UQ maintained its standing among the world’s top universities. In the 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities, UQ went from 54th to 51st globally and we were the second highest ranked university in Australia.

We also performed well in the 2021 QS World Rankings by Subject Area improving our global position in Sport-related subjects by one place climbing from 3rd in the world to 2nd in the world. 

In HaBS we had eight successful National Health and Medical Research Council Investigator grants, Partnership Projects and Centres for Research Excellence grants with a total award value of just over $10.6 million. We have a number of stories our media team are working on to profile these significant achievements. The stories will be promoted via media and our social media channels, so look out for these, share them with your networks and congratulate your colleagues on their success. 

I am very pleased to announce we have three new senior academic staff members joining our Faculty. Associate Professor Genevieve Healy was appointed to Associate Professor of Physical Activity and Health and Professor Stewart Trost to Professor of Physical Activity and Health both in the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences and Professor Piers Dawes was appointed to Professor in Audiology in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

A recent highlight that has created an exciting buzz in the Faculty is the work we are doing to build the Faculty's role in the 2032 Brisbane Olympics. UQ's Paralympics Sports Training and Research team are particularly excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

As Dr Emma Beckman said in a recent ABC article "hosting the "third-biggest sporting event in the world" – the Paralympics will result in permanent changes to venues while also requiring new, accessible ones to be built. Australia will see an influx of local athletes with "high support needs" becoming involved due to the lowered barrier to travel. The prospect of reducing the travel really makes this Paralympics the most accessible ever for our athletes".

It was encouraging news from our Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Deborah Terry that UQ remains on track to finish this year in a solid financial position. It was also great news about the five days of Christmas/New Year leave that has been granted to all continuing and fixed-term staff over this period in recognition of the extraordinary efforts of staff this year. 

I look forward to seeing those who can attend the joint (virtual) meeting of the Board of the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences and the Board of the Faculty of Medicine on Tuesday 5 October 2021. You can view the agenda here

I invite you to click through the sections below to look through some of the many highlights from quarter two of this year. This list is by no means includes each and every achievement, however it does provide examples of the many great things happening in HaBS.

Best wishes,

Professor Bruce Abernethy
Executive Dean, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Bruce Abernethy
Professor Bruce Abernethy