The Australian National University, through the Research School of Physics and Engineering (RSPE), is the leading institution in the country for physics research and its applications. It is the largest physics-based research activity by some measure with more than 150 academics and more than 200 graduate students. Undergraduate teaching is benchmarked against the top institutions in the world, and trains around a quarter of all physics honours graduates in Australia.
The School’s research portfolio covers the entire spectrum from fundamental to applied research through to pre-commercial development, and includes strategic activities at the interface with biology, chemistry, advanced materials, energy research and more.
The School’s status in Australia as a leading research environment is supported by hosting the largest number of Federation and Laureate Fellows, the largest number of QEII/ARF Fellows, 30 Future Fellows, leader of two Centres of Excellence and a strong contributor to three others. In terms of industry engagement the School has been involved in two CRC’s since 2002 and in the same time more than 50 global companies in defence, fibre optic, nanotech, biotech, paper and oil industries. Much of the School’s research has led to significant industry-relevant outcomes. Grant schemes including NCRIS, Super Science and EIF totalling have awarded over $40M in the past 10 years.
The ageing building infrastructure is now a major limitation to the performance and growth of the School’s equipment base and threatens RSPE’s leadership in areas of current research excellence. To enable continued high level research and teaching it is now time for RSPE to renew its facilities. An exhaustive and detailed business case, four-stage master plan, and design exercise for the precinct which informs development for the foreseeable future has been completed. This plan will allow the School to better utilise its existing built form and build purpose designed state of the art facilities, and in the longer term allow for the consolidation of the school into one geographic location.
The project has recently been tendered and construction of Stage 1a is due to start mid-2018 with completion scheduled for mid-2020.