Supporting Research Community

Wooden bookshelves filled with textbooks

The Supporting Research Community is a forum for all staff at ACU member universities who are involved in supporting the research process, including research management and administration, research impact and uptake, and library services. Researchers at all levels are also welcome to join.

The community brings together colleagues from across the Commonwealth and creates a space for sharing knowledge, experience and good practice, discussing issues and solutions, showcasing ideas, and discovering potential avenues for collaboration. Members can also keep up-to-date with the latest trends and opportunities in the profession and promote the work of their team and university.

Universities are under pressure to attract funding and demonstrate research impact, and research offices and researchers are key to achieving this. The purpose of this Community is to support and build the capacity of research offices and staff in member universities, drawing on the ACU’s track record within the field of research management and uptake. It explores the following themes:


  • Research impact and uptake
  • Research administration
  • Research funding
  • Open access
  • Decolonising research
  • Research ethics and integrity
  • Professional development of researchers, including early career
  • How libraries support the research process in universities

Supporting Research Community Training Grants

Open to staff at ACU Member universities, the Supporting Research Community Training Grants fund recipients to organise and deliver training for their early career and/or mid career researchers, including doctoral candidates. These grants are delivered as part of one of the key aims of the Supporting Research Community, which is to help the development of early and mid career researchers across the Commonwealth.

You can find out more about the grants, including application opening dates and stories about previous grant awardees, through the link below.

Supporting Research Community Training Grants
Early Career Researcher Training Grants


Our communities are spaces where knowledge, capacity and resources can be shared. Crucially, they are practical, with activities that have a direct impact on the personal development of individuals, on university practice and on the wider world. Benefits include:

  1. Collaboration with community members, resulting in outputs that can be shared with the wider network and beyond. These collaborations may be supported by ACU grants
  2. Brokerage activities to create introductions between members, potentially resulting in new research connections, international guest lecturers, co-supervisors, virtual-mobility relationships, COIL relationships, or mentoring matches
  3. Attending or presenting at the community's events
  4. Advocacy on important issues for the community. Through the accredited status that the ACU holds, the community can help influence change in the higher education sector
  5. Quarterly newsletter – a round-up of international news, opportunities, and the latest reports and publications
  6. LinkedIn group – a private space for members to connect, share information, ask for advice and learn about opportunities
  7. Speaking opportunities at international events on behalf of the Community

By joining the ACU Supporting Research Community, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Library was given a platform where we could share information and resources, find new opportunities, and became connected to the pulse of what is happening.

The UJ Library successfully hosted our first virtual international conference with speakers from the Community from Mauritius to Trinidad and Tobago to Hong Kong. The highlight of this collaboration will be a published peer reviewed book where speakers will contribute a chapter.

Reneka Panday, Coordinator: Marketing and Special Projects, University of Johannesburg Library, South Africa

Join the community

There are two main ways to be part of the community:

Join the community here

The community is open to all staff members and students at ACU member universities - with over 400 member universities in 40 countries, that’s a potential group of 10 million students and more than 1 million academic and professional staff.

Whether you are a professional, academic, vice-chancellor or student at an ACU member university, by joining you will instantly become part of a global collaboration with a diverse set of potential partners. You can join as many ACU networks and communities as you like, at any time. 

Steering Committee

The steering committee sets the vision, strategic direction and delivery plans for the community. Some committee members also lead a thematic group that focuses on a mission-oriented or subject based theme for the community.

  • Dr Therina Theron, Senior Director: Research and Innovation at Stellenbosch University, South Africa and President of the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA)
  • Professor Sally Wheeler OBE, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International Strategy) and Dean of the ANU College of Law at the Australian National University
  • Dr David Phipps, Assistant Vice President Research Strategy & Impact at York University Network Director for Research Impact Canada
  • Donna Bourne-Tyson, Dean of Libraries at Dalhousie University, Canada and executive Board member for the International Association of University Libraries (IATUL) and Board member for the New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO)
  • Dr Josepha Foba Tendo, Senior Lecturer and Head of Research and Publications at the University of Buea, Cameroon
  • Prof Maria Frahm-Arp, Executive Director of the Library and Information Centre at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa and co-editor of the Journal for the Study of Religion
  • Dr Mousumi Mukherjee, Associate Professor & Deputy Director of the International Institute for Higher Education Research and Capacity Building, Member Secretary of the Research Ethics and Review Board and founding Executive Director of the Centre for Comparative and Global Education at O.P. Jindal Global University, India
  • Dr Pamela Raburu, Associate Professor in Educational Psychology and Director Quality Enhancement and Assurance at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST), Kenya
  • Dr Paula Jones, Director of Research and Innovation at the University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Prof Priyadarshani Galappatthy, Senior Professor and Chair Professor of Pharmacology and Head of the Department of Medical Humanities in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Dr Simon Kerridge, Director of Research Services at the University of Kent, UK. He leads the INORMS (International Network of Research Management Societies) RAAAP (Research Administration as a Profession) Task Force and is a current EARMA Board Member
  • Associate Prof Dr Thian Khok Yong, Director (Institute of Postgraduate Studies and Research) at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Malaysia, Council member and Honorary Secretary of Institute Physics Malaysia and Associate Fellow of the ASEAN Academy of Engineering & Technology (AAET)

We have a selection process for recruiting Steering Committee members when vacancies arise. We will announce when there are opportunities to join on this page.

Being on the steering committee is a privilege, helping to shape the direction of development opportunities for research managers and administrators around the world – and have some fun along the way. I also benefit from networking and have had the opportunity to co-present with fellow steering committee member David Phipps, and contribute (virtually) to a conference in Johannesburg.

If you are thinking of putting yourself forward for the steering committee, don’t hesitate, join us and help professionalise research support.

D.Prof Simon Kerridge, Director of Research Services, University of Kent, UK

More information

To find out more, email