The Melbourne Interdisciplinary Research Institutes' review cycle consists of the individual Institute Review, held after three years of operation and after similar periods thereafter, and the Portfolio Review, held after every five to six years.
Portfolio Review, 2016
A portfolio review of the Melbourne Research Institutes was conducted in May 2016. The overall intent of the portfolio review was to consider the chosen model and how well it has delivered with regard to research capacity building, linkage creation and profile building within and outside the University. The Review Panel investigated what revisions to current arrangements should be considered to allow the University to gain optimal benefit from Institute activities over the next five years and appropriate objectives and success measures for the portfolio for this future period. Terms of Reference.
Individual reviews of the five Institutes (IBES, MEI, MNI, MMI and MSSI) established 2008-9 were undertaken in 2012, with a focus largely on their achievements in capability development and in external income generation. Terms of Reference for the review were endorsed by Senior Executive. MSEI's initial review was undertaken in November 2015. Panels considered written material prepared by each Institute and met on site for a half day review meeting. The University community was also invited to provide feedback on the Institutes via an on-line survey. Reporting on the reviews was provided to Senior Executive in February 2013 (IBES, MEI, MNI, MMI, MSSI) and to University Executive in Feburary 2016 (MSEI).
The review panels found that the Institutes have made a significant contribution to fostering research within the University that addresses key societal challenges. They have catalysed new cross-University collaborations, raised the external profile of research in their respective areas by increasing media reporting, engaging with industry, government and community organisations and holding public events. For example, in their initial three years of operation, the Institutes facilitated nearly 300 events and seminars. In addition significant external income has been attracted to the University through projects where the Institute leadership and Institute sponsored activity has been a critical part of the positioning to capture these opportunities.
The 'initial' review cycle confirmed the success of the Institutes in their initial phase of development. They have provided both a platform for increased cross-institutional research collaboration, and a locus of leadership to help build larger-scale bids for external funding – particularly where the research expertise needed is naturally drawn from across the University.