The Commonwealth Government undertakes a major independent performance review of Cooperative Research Centres during its third or fourth year of its operation.
The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities (CRCWSC) Board members and Executive team spent three days from 5-7 May detailing the goals and achievements of the organisation as part of its Major Performance Review.
The five-member review panel consisted of members of the CRC Committee and eminent research and industry leaders.
Program Leaders presented the current state of CRCWSC research projects, with the strength of our interdisciplinary research approach impressing the review panel. At the review, we were commended on “our efforts and professionalism in presenting our achievements, the spectrum of our products and outputs, and our approach to linking the rather complex interdisciplinary and multiple stakeholders environment we work in”.
The formal performance review report from the Department of Industry and Science has now been issued and it is noteworthy that the report’s opening statement was that ” …..it was clear that the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities’ research delivers significant positive impact and benefits to the Australian urban water management industry.” The report also commended the CRC on its governance.
The report made seven recommendations that are broadly in two key areas:
- positioning the CRCWSC for a future that is supported by key stakeholders for the outcomes and benefits that water sensitive cities deliver; and
- supporting the CRCWSC as it moves to another level of organisational maturity with regard the sophistication of its research management and other systems and practices.
CEO Professor Tony Wong was delighted with how well the CRCWSC has been perceived by the panel and their recognition of the excellence and innovation in research and research synthesis undertaken by the CRCWSC. A key recommendation from the panel was for increased efforts in building this unique value proposition and ‘brand’ of the water sensitive city approach and the leadership position of the CRCWSC.
The panel also recognised the developing reputation and relationship in the global arena with water sensitive initiatives in China and South East Asia as real opportunities for the CRCWSC to demonstrate the value proposition of water sensitive cities. A strategic planning workshop, with the Board members, is being planned for later this year to develop the International Strategy.
“There is a potential new ‘market’ for the skills and expertise of our partners in the CRCWSC, notwithstanding that the key focus remains that of delivering value through increased economic productivity of our public and private sector partners. The panel also made special note that the Water Sensitive Cities Assessment Tool (or WSC Index) that is currently being developed and piloted has the potential to be a central element in defining our work, our expertise and our branding,” Professor Wong said.
In relation to our Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students and Early Career Researchers, the panel was very impressed with the high quality of this strong cohort.
The final report is now being reviewed in detail by the CRCWSC Executive and our response to the recommendations contained in the report will need to be submitted to the Commonwealth by the end of June.