I know people will have had varied experiences over the summer, so I encourage us to continue to be kind to ourselves and our colleagues as we begin 2022. And my thoughts go to all our colleagues in the health, community and social welfare sectors who are doing it so tough.

Notwithstanding the current realities, I am looking forward to the coming year. I am excited to see what new partnerships and collaborations, important publications, and innovative projects you develop. We had an extremely successful year last year by University KPI standards, with research income totalling $13.7m (exceeding targets and compared to $6.7m 2020) and new awards totalling $16.6m (compared to $8.6m in 2020). This year we intend to capture the impact of the research that you are doing. In this we are lucky to have a new communication coordinator, Brydie Nielson, who will be working with us full time.

I would like to welcome Dr Rob Grenfell as our newest member of the Board. Rob comes to us with a wealth of experience in public health, healthcare, health policy and digital health. As well as a special welcome to Deakin Rural Health who have joined the Institute as affiliates.

We farewell to Associate Professor Melissa Bloomer who is leaving at the end of February 2022 to take up a role as Professor Critical Care Nursing, a joint appointment between Griffith University and the Princess Alexandra Hospital. We also farewell two of our service role members, Lidia Engel and Long Le. A big thanks to both of them, and a call for members to consider taking on these important roles.

At the time of writing, our return to the office date is February 14.  I look forward to wishing many of you a Happy Valentines in person.