The National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS) was established in January 2005. It is a stand-alone Centre within the ANU organisational structure and was directed by Professor Mick Dodson AM.

The Centre's charter is for NCIS to be recognised as a leading academic institute for inter-disciplinary research in fields that are of relevance to Indigenous Australians, especially in relation to the enrichment of scholarly and public understandings of Australian Indigenous cultures and histories. NCIS works collaboratively with ANU research and teaching centres that are of relevance to Indigenous studies. These include the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), the Australian Centre for Indigenous History, the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, and the School of Music.

NCIS has an active commitment to the reconciliation process, through its initial involvement in the development of the ANU Reconciliation Action Plan, and through its ongoing endorsement of the Plan.

NCIS is privileged to also have close working relationships with the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Reconciliation Australia and the National Museum of Australia.

The Centre has numerous academic staff and adjunct scholars led by Professor Mick Dodson, all of whom have high-level expertise in topics across Indigenous studies, making NCIS a multidisciplinary Centre with numerous research priorities and expertise.

The Centre has an active PhD and MPhil program, and benefits from the support of in-house administrative staff. Broader human resource, research, finance and IT services are provided by the ANU College of Law.

NCIS Charter


To ensure that Indigenous knowledge, perspectives and experiences are respected, valued, accessed and incorporated into all learning environments at ANU and beyond.

Operational objectives

NCIS goals and purposes are to:

  • promote the recognition of and respect for Indigenous knowledges, perspectives and experiences in law, Indigenous public policy, community and the public domain
  • promote debate between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, policy-makers and researchers about our shared past, present and future, at the local, national and global level
  • promote the participation of Indigenous people in research, education, teaching and learning at ANU
  • establish a focal point for the co-ordination of Indigenous education and research across the ANU academic community, and develop collaborative initiatives that bring together ANU resources
  • support the development of the knowledge, skill and capacities of Indigenous peoples and relevant organisations to build healthy, self-sustaining communities, clans, tribes and nations.

Research priorities

  • Indigenous engagement, Indigenous governance and Indigenous public policy.
  • International Indigenous issues.
  • Law, rights and social justice issues.
  • Education on Indigenous issues.

Reconciliation at NCIS

As former chair of the ANU Reconciliation Action Plan Committee, Professor Mick Dodson initiated the development of the ANU Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which was launched in mid-2009. In developing the ANU RAP, the Committee identified areas of activity where the University could enhance its Indigenous involvement by establishing initiatives with clear actions, deadlines and measurable targets. After a period of extensive consulting and drafting, the document was submitted to various ANU executive polities for consideration and endorsement, and was launched in July 2009. The ANU RAP Committee was acknowledged for their work in developing the ANU RAP by being awarded the ANU Media and Outreach Award for Best Community Building Event.

Read more about the launch of the ANU RAP on the ANU News website:

Updated:  29 May 2018/ Responsible Officer:  NCIS Project Coordinator/ Page Contact:  NCIS Administrative Officer