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ABC News

Australian National University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt announces resignation

Australian National University (ANU) vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt has announced he will resign in December after eight years in the role.

Professor Schmidt used today's State of the University address to announce that he would be stepping down as vice-chancellor.

"My integrity says the end of that time is approaching for me," he said.

"This year will be my last as vice-chancellor, and I have notified the chancellor and the council of my intention to step down at the end of December.

"After eight years, I will be ready to get back to my research and teaching, and a somewhat more balanced life."

Professor Schmidt, a Nobel prize winner and prolific astrophysicist spoke of his admiration for the university.

"My love for ANU is undimmed — my zest to see it improve hasn't changed and I always said that when I stepped down as vice-chancellor I wanted to hand on a university I would be happy to continue to work in," he said.

He said he would spend his last year as VC of the ANU campaigning the federal government for more funding for the university.

"I will be working to persuade the federal government to invest in the amazing work we do for the betterment of Australia – our students, our researchers – and to see us as an opportunity, rather than an expense.

"I have confidence in the future — this does not mean there is not still lots to do, and we won't let the pace slacken this year just because I am finishing up."

'A formidable intellect'

ANU chancellor Julie Bishop praised Professor Schmidt for the work he had undertaken with the university and applauded his intellect and temperament.

"We will look back at your legacy, your influence and the impact you have had and it will be seen as profoundly positive," she said.

"You are a person of immense talent and a formidable intellect — you are so often the smartest person in the room and you command respect wherever you go.

"But, you have humility and great kindness and passion, and you are the kind of person you just want to hang out with."

Ms Bishop said that Professor Schmidt would remain "part of the ANU family" as an astronomy professor.

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