Welcome to New Convenor

January 2020

Professor Alastair (Al) McEwan, from the University of Queensland, has commenced his two-year term as the third elected Convenor of the Australian Council of Graduate Research (ACGR) since it was incorporated in 2015.

Through his supervision of PhD research in biochemistry and molecular microbiology he has developed a strong commitment to and a belief in the value of graduate research education. Having held leadership positions at the University of Queensland since 1998, he has observed that his role as Dean, UQ Graduate School has been the most fulfilling appointment of his career. Currently in his 7th year as Dean of one of Australia’s largest Graduate Schools, and having spent 2 years as Chair of the Go8 DoGS, 2 years as a member of the ACGR Executive and led several national HDR initiatives, Al is well equipped to lead take the helm following the impressive achievements of immediate past convenor, Professor Sue Berners-Price.

ACGR is the national peak body for the academic leadership of graduate research programs and all Australian universities and higher degree by research providers are members, along with many international associate members. Since incorporation in 2015 ACGR has led many national programs and initiatives including establishing national awards for Excellence in Graduate Research and developing the ACGR Good Practice Principles and associated guidelines and a set of ground breaking support materials for Respectful Research Training. The Council was also a key contributor to the ACOLA Review and the Research Training Implementation Plan.

The mission of the Australian Council of Graduate Research is to promote excellence in research training and scholarship and high standards for all higher degree by research programs nationally and the incoming convenor says: “It’s gratifying to see the influence that our peak body is exerting in the Australian education sector and within government to create the best possible training environment and opportunity for graduate researchers.”

Al will be supported by Executive Committee members:
Professor Sue Berners-Price (Griffith University)
Professor Pat Buckley (UniSA)
Professor Anne- Marie Hede (Victoria University)
Professor Helen Klaebe (QUT)
Professor Imelda Whelehan (UWA)
and newly elected Associate Professor Susan Kinnear (CQU)

In taking on this new role, he stated: “The Australian HDR training environment is rich and diverse and I am honoured to convene the leadership group as we strive to meet the next set of challenges in graduate research, share best practice across the sector at the national and international level and actively promote the true value of doctoral training across our nation.”