Professor Renée Fry-McKibbin

Focused on our future

08 April 2022

With a career spanning 20 years, Professor Renée Fry-McKibbin is no stranger to leadership. Now taking the reins as Crawford School of Public Policy’s new Interim-Director, Renée shares her vision for 2022.

“This year is already off to a strong start, and it is my hope that together we continue to have a positive social impact as we emerge from the pandemic,” Renée said.

Renée steps into the position with extensive research, teaching, and leadership experience. Calling ANU home since 2002 and Crawford home since 2012, she has held various leadership positions including Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis (CAMA) from 2009-2012, Director of CAMA from 2012–2014 and Associate Dean (Research) of the College of Asia and the Pacific (2014-2018).

“From my time at Crawford, I have seen the ways research, teaching, student experience, recruitment, and community engagement intersect strategically to deliver excellent outcomes. It’s a great privilege for me to work with you all at Crawford in this role through the next phase of our School’s journey,” she reflects.

With parts of the country being declared disaster zones, COVID-19 lingering in the community, elections occurring in our region, including Australia’s Federal election quickly arising, there has never been a more important time for evidence-based policy advocacy and training the next generation of leaders. Renée has demonstrated this leadership to have an impact in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a world-leading economist, Renée quickly jumped into action to understand and communicate the economic impacts of COVID-19. She co-directed the research program ‘COVID-19 and the Macroeconomy’ which aims to inform policymakers in both emerging and developed economies, plus enhancing academic research as the world moves towards recovery. As international travel and the exchange of information and ideas came to a halt she established a global webinar series for her colleagues to continue to interact.

“As events quickly unfolded, we examined potential mechanisms of recovery. I saw it as our role to take initiative and collaboratively understand the COVID shock and to facilitate policy discussions in this universal challenge.”

Renée has found global success working across policy institutions, including the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Australian Federal Treasury, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and the Bank of England, and brings this experience to bear when mentoring her PhD students.

“I am always proud of my students when they give their first presentation at a conference or workshop in front of other economists (not their student peers). Most are nervous, but they always do well because they are well prepared and have worked hard on their papers. It is wonderful to see them succeed and to watch their confidence grow afterward,” Renée shares.

Her passion for mentoring and supporting excellence with her students was recognised in 2017 when she received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in PhD supervision.

Described and acknowledged for her “compassionate and meticulous support,” Renée continues to dedicate her time, mentoring women in the Women in Economics Network (WEN) (Wen Mentoring ACT) which is a collaboration between WEN, the universities based in Canberra and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“It was important to me that I connect with young women as they make strides towards the next step in their careers. Gender is an important lens that cannot be overlooked in public policy and economics, and is certainly a priority of mine as Interim-Director,” she said.

As recruitment is currently underway for a permanent Director, Renée looks to the rest of the year with optimism and enthusiasm.

“I’d like to acknowledge the tremendous work of my predecessor, Professor Fiona Yap, who led us through a challenging time. I wish her all the best as she embarks on a new venture at the University of Adelaide.”

Despite the unexpected that may arise in 2022, Renée can say with certainty,

“I have always enjoyed the positive environment at Crawford. No matter people’s areas of expertise, the friendly School we have created is what makes us special and excel at what we do. I am fortunate to have a talented Executive team with the support from Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific, Professor Helen Sullivan. I look forward to working with you all throughout 2022.”

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Updated:  9 December 2022/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team