New director for key local government research centres

In summary: 
  • Leading public policy, evaluation and research analyst Roberta Ryan has been appointed the new Director of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government and the UTS Centre for Local Government
  • She has extensive experience in the local government and tertiary sectors, most recently as a director of a major public policy and urban planning consultancy practice

Associate Professor Roberta Ryan has been appointed the new Director of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) at UTS and the UTS Centre for Local Government.

Associate Professor Ryan will replace Professor Graham Sansom who announced his retirement from the position of Director of both centres in August.

Associate Professor Ryan has extensive experience in the local government and tertiary sectors, most recently as a director of a major public policy and urban planning consultancy practice.  Her academic experience was in the field of social science and policy at UNSW and Macquarie University. 

She has particular expertise in local government, planning cities, citizen engagement and sustainability.

ACELG Chairperson, Margaret Reynolds said, "I am delighted to welcome Roberta to the role.  The ACELG Board and I are very much looking forward to working with Roberta on the next phase of ACELG's work in enhancing professionalism in Australian local government. Roberta's combined industry and research background will be invaluable to the role of Director."

UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Attila Brungs said, "The depth of Roberta's industry work, allied with her proven expertise in applied policy research, will assure the continuance of the high quality of work produced by ACELG and UTS-CLG. I am looking forward to welcoming Roberta to the broader university research community who will also benefit from her experience."

Roberta Ryan commented, "The establishment of ACELG in 2009 was significant for Australian local government and I greatly value the opportunity to contribute to the Centre's endeavours and the research strengths of UTS. Likewise, the UTS Centre for Local Government has played an important role in training and development of local government professionals for over two decades now, and I am excited by the opportunity to build on the Centre's impressive achievements." 

Both Professor Brungs and Margaret Reynolds paid tribute to outgoing Director, Professor Graham Sansom.  "Graham has made an outstanding contribution to local government and UTS over his distinguished career.  UTS wishes him all the best for the next stage of his career," said Professor Brungs.  Margaret Reynolds said, "The ACELG Board and I will dearly miss Graham, but he has left an extremely strong foundation for us to build upon over the coming years."

Associate Professor Ryan's appointment will commence Friday 21 December.

Profile: Roberta Ryan

Roberta Ryan is a leading public policy, evaluation and research analyst with over 30 years' experience in Australia and internationally. An expert in local government, Roberta has worked with local governments in NSW, nationally and internationally.

In the last seven years, in a leading research and public policy consultancy practice, Roberta worked with local government in strategic planning, social and land use planning, research, community engagement, organisational development and sustainability.

Originally Roberta was an academic in Social Science and Policy at UNSW for 12 years, jointly responsible for developing the curriculum of the school and undertaking extensive consultancy and research with local government (including winning an ARC Linkage Project). Roberta has also taught graduate programs in social research, policy evaluation and sustainability, and maintained ongoing relationships with academia while in consultancy.

For federal, state and local government agencies Roberta has provided high level strategic advisory and applied policy research in areas including housing, health, ageing and place making; open space, recreation and community facilities; population forecasting; community engagement; liveability and sustainability.

Her expertise includes:

  • Local government strategic analysis and organisational development
  • Developing and managing complex research programs in cross disciplinary and academic contexts
  • Strategic, organisational, financial and staff management
  • Academic research, teaching and securing academic grants
  • Strategic planning and delivery of corporate and business plans
  • Research, evaluation and applied policy analysis of local government, social policy and evaluation, the built environment, sustainability and cities
  • Community engagement, stakeholder relations and communications.
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