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Congratulations to everyone on another fantastic year.
First and foremost, we are fortunate to have wonderful new colleagues. In such a big department, with so much going on and multiple campuses, it's especially important to take the time to connect with new people. So far this year, we have Krisztina Orban (who is taking advantage of an NBER fellowship prior to joining us full-time), Xiaojian Zhao, Sascha Becker, and Tony Venables joining in continuing roles. Stefan Meyer and Matthew Olckers have joined as research fellows, working on projects with Paulo and Yves respectively. Welcome to all. Of course, there have also been some sad goodbyes, with special thanks to Elias Khalil and John List for contributions over many years with Monash. Philip Ushchev and Carina Cavalcanti have started great positions following their research fellowships here. Rather than put Andreas Leibbrandt in both the goodbye and hello columns, I'll just say it's great to have him here.
Another highlight is the great outcome in the ERA research assessment released early this year, where Monash achieved the top rating for all fields in our discipline, a feat only matched by UNSW and University of Melbourne within Economics, and only matched by Physics amongst other disciplines within Monash. It is also very nice to be able to point out, as we have in our job ads, that "Economics at Monash is placed among the top 50 groups in the world according to a range of widely recognised rankings and metrics (ARWU: 42, QS: 45, Tilburg: 24, RePEc: 49, USNews: 36)."
Our teaching has also been a highlight. According to the SETU teaching evaluation scores, we are now the best teaching department in the Business School, whether one looks at SETU, raw or adjusted, or converted into relative percentiles. We have done much work on curriculum development as well, and I hope that soon we can confidently claim we have the best-designed and integrated curriculum in the Business School as well.
Thanks to each of you who have worked so hard and contributed so much to this strong trajectory.
There is great news to celebrate in the 2018 Australian Research Council ERA quality rankings – we rated "well above world standard" (the top ranking) in all categories: economics overall, economic theory, applied economics, and econometrics. Moreover, Monash is in the top-50 in a variety of international rankings this year: ARWU 42, QS 45, Tilburg 33, RePEc 38. While one should be suspicious of the quirks of any ranking, doing well in so many with such different methodologies gives a robust signal of quality.
Our journey over the past decade is remarkable. Ten years ago, we likely would not have been in the top 100 internationally in any ranking. The initial ERA in 2010 rated us 2 (below world standard) in theory, 3 (at standard) in applied, and 4 (above standard) in econometrics. To move from that to the top rating of 5 (well above world standard) in all categories in less than a decade is a testament to everyone’s hard work, excellent recruiting, good working conditions, and support from the Faculty and University.
Of course, what really matters is that we do research that matters. If we continue to focus on that, the rankings will follow.
Krisztina Orban has formally accepted a lectureship with us.
Krisztina has been offered the opportunity of a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the NBER, and she will formally commence at Monash following that. She plans to take an adjunct appointment with us during the postdoc period and visit Monash during the winter.
Thanks to those involved in various stages of selection: Anke, Arthur, Choon, Giovanni, Michelle, Phil, Pushkar, Russell. There is a lot of hard work behind the scenes to make this happen. Even with an ad going up in mid-December we had about 300 applications, nearly 20 interviews, and then of course the campus visits. The support of our professional staff both in the department and in HR was great -- again there is a huge amount of essential professional work required that few see.