A Board meeting of the Lowitja Institute was held at Graduate House, Melbourne on 31 January 2012. Directors who attended were Ms Pat Anderson (Chair), Ms Stephanie Bell, Dr Louise Morauta, Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver, Professor Peter Buckskin and Mr Robin Lonergan. Dr Sanchia Shibasaki was an apology.
The following provides a summary of some of the matters discussed at the meeting.
Welcome to new Chief Executive Officer
The Board welcomed the new Chief Executive Officer, Ms Lyn Brodie, and expressed their gratitude that she could commence in the role so quickly. The Board also thanked the Chief Operating Officer for filling the role of Acting Chief Executive in a highly professional and efficient manner.
Major Funding Proposals for External Funding
Professor Ian Anderson tabled a progress report on the development of several proposed research projects for external funding. After discussing the progress made to date, the Board noted the importance of continuing communication and relationship building between the Institute and project proponents.
Research Training Scholarships
The Board considered a paper submitted by Associate Professor Janelle Stirling on Research Training and Scholarships. The Board agreed that the Institute must identify what was needed to grow a sustainable workforce of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and noted that this not only meant providing support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PhD/research students but also a focus on supporting their transition from PhD graduate to post-doc to senior researcher. The Board also noted a need to assist holders of Certificate IV qualifications to transition to university degrees. After further discussion it was agreed that it is critical for the Institute to develop a policy which is consistent with the Institute’s objects as set out in its Constitution and consider what practical assistance could be provided through the institute.
Finance and Audit Committee Membership
The Chief Operating Officer spoke to a paper on the appointment of a person to the vacant position on the Audit and Finance Committee. The Board reviewed the nomination of Mr Brent Simonis, a partner with the Melbourne office of Ernst and Young and resolved to appoint him to the vacant position with the Finance and Audit Committee, with Mr Stephen Roche, also a partner with Ernst and Young, as his alternate.
CRCATSIH Mid-Term Review
The Chief Operating Officer updated the Board on the progress made in preparing for the major CRC Program mid-term review and confirmed that it would take place on 30 and 31 May 2012. The Board also considered a paper seeking approval for changes to the Commonwealth agreed milestones which have been identified as requiring amendment through the preliminary work being undertaken on the review preparation. After assurances that advice had been sort from Project Leaders on the required milestone amendments, the Board resolved to accept the amended milestones and to submit them to the CRC Program for approval.
Funding Strategy Update and Advice
The Chair of the Financial Sustainability Committee, Dr Louise Morauta, provided an update on developments of the Committee’s activities. The Board noted that funding proposals were being developed to be submitted to two large philanthropic entities and the CEO was actively following up on approaches made to other philanthropic organisations.