Following 13 years with the University of Newcastle, the last four at the helm as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Mike Calford will head south to lead the Illawarra Institute for Health and Medical Research.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, said Professor Calford’s strategy and vision had positioned Newcastle among the top performing research institutions in the country.

“Mike has led two highly successful Excellence in Research in Australia (ERA) exercises for the University. In 2012, Newcastle achieved a ‘5’ rating of ‘well above world standard’ for 18 areas of research placing us equal seventh in the country, and 90 per cent of all fields of research received a ‘3’ rating ‘at world standard’ or higher.

“This outstanding ERA result for the University was driven by Mike’s vision, strategy and foresight.”

Professor McMillen said Professor Calford had been instrumental in setting up the ‘building blocks’ of the University’s national and international research standing.

“Mike played a central role in securing $35 million towards the construction of the landmark Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) building and was also the driving force behind the establishment of the Australian first Joint Medical Program.

“One of his greatest legacies was to establish one of our flagship research centres, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), and to secure $30 million from the Education Infrastructure Fund to redevelop the site.”

Professor Calford said he was immensely proud of all that he had achieved at Newcastle.

“As both a researcher and a leader, Newcastle has given me enormous opportunity to deliver a great deal – from introducing national firsts in program delivery such as the Masters of Pharmacy degree program to co-designing the University’s successful Priority Research Centre scheme.

“As well as a place of opportunity for research and academic leadership, Newcastle is a place of teamwork and friendship. I have been supported by great teams over the years and am constantly inspired by Newcastle’s talented researchers.

“I will miss Newcastle and the University greatly, and I am also really looking forward to the challenge at the Illawarra Institute for Health and Medical Research.”

The University will farewell Professor Calford ‘in great style’ before he leaves the University in July 2013.