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Accounting Professor and work health and safety expert, Sharron O’Neill, has been appointed the new Director of the UNSW Canberra Public Service Research Group (PSRG).
Since its 2016 inception, Professor O’Neill has worked on numerous PSRG research projects, including collaborations with state and federal governments.
She specialises in the mechanisms of accountability for work health and safety and the performance measures that guide operational, verification and strategic decisions within organisations.
“It is something I am very passionate about because identifying the right performance measures, and avoiding the wrong ones, can help improve the management and oversight of health and safety at work – and at the end of the day, we are talking about people’s lives,” Professor O’Neill said.
Professor O’Neill takes the reins from Professor Helen Dickinson, who successfully led the team for its first six years.
“I will be seeking to build on the strong foundation built under Professor Dickinson’s tenure,” she said.
“This term we will continue to build the capability and capacity of our team and find new ways to strengthen engagement with our external stakeholders.”
Professor O’Neill said the PSRG team was a very talented, interdisciplinary group of researchers with a diverse, but complementary, range of expertise. She said they were also a pleasure to work with.
“We have quite a few thought leaders in their respective fields and they work very well together to provide unique perspective and deliver novel insights and solutions,” she said.
“They also have that special combination of expert knowledge, are highly capable and passionate researchers and are genuinely warm and collegial people.”
The team has a range of projects underway encompassing disability services, flexible work, environment and governance, systems thinking, strategic management, performance management, diversity and inclusion.
Professor O’Neill said she’s feeling positive about the year ahead.
“Despite the challenges of the past couple of years with bushfires and then COVID-19, PSRG has grown our staff numbers and increased the number of successful and current research projects,” she said.
“Over the past three years we have continued to improve research outputs in both quality and quantity. This provides a solid foundation for the team and we are excited to see what lies ahead.”