I am delighted to begin the newsletter with the news that Professor Eileen Baldry has this week been appointed as our first Deputy Vice-Chancellor Inclusion and Diversity. Eileen is superbly well qualified for this role and has successfully led the initial developments in this area as Academic Lead for Equity and Diversity. This is a landmark appointment for UNSW and reflects the importance of the social justice, equity, and diversity plans in our 2025 Strategy. We have set ambitious objectives in relation to gender equity at all staff grades, ensuring an inclusive environment for staff and students with disability, achieving equity in student enrolments, providing a flexible inclusive workplace, ensuring that our campuses are safe for all staff and students, and maintaining a culturally rich and diverse inclusive university. My thanks to Eileen for taking on a key role.
It has been an important month for UNSW partnerships. One aspect of this is in health, where the accreditation of SPHERE (Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise) was formally announced by Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, The Hon. Craig Laundy MP. This means that our partnership with WSU, UTS, four Health Services, and seven Medical Research Institutes is one of just seven NHMRC accredited AHRTCs (Advanced Health Research and Translational Centres) in Australia. This status and the partnership it represents is a key part of our effort in medicine and health. The plans for SPHERE, our Faculty of Medicine and UNSW will be greatly assisted by the announcement that in addition to the previously $500m already committed for the rebuild of the Prince of Wales Hospital the NSW government is investing an additional $220m in the rebuild project. This will be used to construct the new hospital adjacent to UNSW on Botany Street. This is a major transformational step for the Randwick precinct. It will, over the next few years lead to the creation of a truly integrated University-Hospital Precinct, dramatically improving the quality of health care, creating exciting new academic possibilities, and opportunities for new jobs in Randwick. For UNSW it will mean that the health precinct becomes contiguous with our university campus, enabling ever more interactions with science, engineering, business, arts, built environment, and social sciences. That sort of seamless geographical linkage between a major university campus and hospital precinct is unusual and will make it easier to achieve our ambitious objectives for a holistic, cross disciplinary approach to achieving excellence in medicine and health. We appreciate the impact this development will have on local residents and we will work with them, the South East Sydney Local Health District and the NSW government to manage this transformation project as sensitively as possible.
Our commitment to local partnership was strengthened this month by the signing of a MoU with Randwick Council for a shared sustainability agenda for the local environment. We are also partnering in an important way regionally within NSW. Last Friday plans for the NUW Alliance between the University of Newcastle, UNSW Sydney and the University of Wollongong took an important step forward with the formal launch which was announced by Premier Gladys Berejiklian. We now enter a key phase of a four month consultation with communities, business, government, and other stakeholders to identify opportunities for the NUW Alliance to add value for NSW. There will be numerous opportunities for UNSW staff to contribute - the consultation document can be downloaded here.
It was also a positive month for our international partnerships. We hosted the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Annual Meeting, attended by Presidents and senior leaders from 45 universities in the region. The meeting was an outstanding success, with high quality discussion and debate on the theme of the “Future of the Pacific and its Societies”, and important relationship building with partner university leaders. Immediately following the APRU event I flew to London to speak at the inaugural PLuS Alliance alumni event, which was held at King’s College London (KCL). The event was attended by alumni from Arizona State University, KCL, and UNSW and was also the first event to be hosted by our new PLuS Alliance Director, Paul Ramadge. The focus of the event was on refugees with excellent talks by experts from each of the PLuS Alliance partners. On the way back to Australia I took a detour to spend a day catching up with developments in our partnership with Gulu University in northern Uganda. It was an exhilarating and inspiring visit. We now have partnerships in education, health, engineering, agriculture and peace/post-conflict studies in a part of the world recovering from devastating civil war. My day in Gulu came at the end of the first week of a month long visit by 30 students from our Faculties of Engineering and Arts and Social Sciences. I was excited by the way our students are working closely with Gulu University students and getting genuine experience of life in Gulu on campus, in the city and in surrounding villages. It was clear that this experience will have a major impact on our students and the people they meet in Gulu, which for many will influence the way they think about their future lives and careers. My thanks to Associate Professor Julian Cox, Associate Professor Anne Bartlett and their colleagues for leading this student exchange and ongoing work in Gulu in their areas of expertise. I was also able to give out certificates to the first 10 graduates from the UNSW ‘Beginning to Teach’ programme which Professor Prem Ramburuth led in June with Gulu academics. The words of the academics receiving these certificates left me in no doubt about the wonderful work Prem is leading, which is providing new opportunities in a part of the world where it is so badly needed. A final thrill was to announce our first PhD Scholarship for a Gulu student, awarded to James Henry Obol who will conduct research in Professor Robyn Richmond’s health screening programme in Gulu. This is high quality work with real world impact.
We held a memorable series of graduation ceremonies in June with honorary awards to outstanding individuals including Emeritus Professor Richard Henry - Doctor of the University honoris causa, Mr Nicholas Moore - Doctor of Business honoris causa, Professor Peter Shergold - Doctor of Letters honoris causa, Ms Jennifer Westacott - Doctor of Letters honoris causa, and Professor Glyn Davies - Doctor of Letters honoris causa, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne. I enjoyed reading Glyn’s citation and seeing the pride and pleasure of his parents who recalled bringing him to UNSW on his first day as a student many years ago. Those feelings and the joy of graduation were reflected thousands of times by our graduates and their families – my thanks to all the UNSW staff who work so hard to make the graduation events a happy and memorable occasion.
Our 2025 Strategy enablers - Operational Excellence and People & Culture - are progressing on track. These initiatives are enhancing our professional services, and are creating support and development opportunities for our professional staff. The MyCareer program for over 6,000 staff is being rolled out, there have been numerous workplace change support workshops, clear professional career pathways have been defined, the new Horizon Program has launched, and we are now responding to interest and demand for the UNSW Professional Spotlight Sessions. These are all important steps for our professional workforce. My thanks to staff who have been engaged in these activities.
There is much more to read about in the newsletter which follows, including many UNSW developments and events: the release of our Athena Swan Gender equity survey; the NAIDOC week flag raising ceremony; NAIDOC events in Arts and Social Sciences; the Indigenous students winter school program; the Sunswift launch of its sixth-generation solar electric car, ‘Violet’; The call for nominations for the 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize; Plans for a new UNSW Disability Innovation Institute; Launch of the UNSW School of Education’s new Master of Teaching (Primary) program; The move of UNSW Philanthropy to a CBD location; The launch HR Help@UNSW; Launch of an international infectious disease research collaboration between our Kirby Institute and Myanmar’s University of Medicine in Yangon; an agreement between Football United at UNSW with Myanmar Red Cross Society; UNSW women’s business society, Capital W, celebration of progress women have made in business; UNSW advances in innovation with next generation touch screens and flexible, ultra-thin, screen printed batteries; Success in tracking down our UNSW satellites; The success of Nature Journal Quantum Information edited by Professor Michelle Simmons; The new magazine INGENUITY published by UNSW Engineering; and our training program at UNSW in unconscious bias.
Congratulations to UNSW staff and students on a range of successes and achievements which you can read about in more detail in the newsletter sections. They include: UNSW cancer researcher, Dr Caroline Ford, beingamongst the first 30 female scientists and technologists to be named Superstars of STEM; Professor Peter Steinberg Director and CEO of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science receiving the Jubilee award; UNSW PhD student Dr Adeniyi Borire’s receiving the 2017 Golseth Young Investigator Award; UNSW Professor of General Practice Teng Liaw being included as an inaugural member of the International Academy of Heath Sciences Informatics; success in the 2017 Young Designer of the Year Awards with Lilian Hambling, a UNSW Art & Design graduate, winning the Young Designer of the Year Award, UNSW Industrial Design graduate Era Camilet winning the Design Innovation Award, and Jessi Wilkinson, also an Industrial Design graduate, winning the Design Technology Award; and UNSW Art & Design's Associate Dean International and Engagement, Associate Professor Vaughan Rees being named among the 2017 finalists for the NSW Creative Laureate. We can also claim collective success in being one of just two universities worldwide ranked in 50 subjects in the ARWU world subject rankings – though as you can read below I suspect it is better evidence of our breadth than our quality.
Professor Anthony Kelleher has agreed to take on the role of Acting Dean of the Faculty of Medicine until Professor Rodney Phillips returns towards the end of the year. I am extremely grateful to Tony for taking on this responsibility, and to Professor Peter Gunning for stepping in and covering the role so effectively for the last three months. Best wishes to Rodney who we hope will be back at work in the next 3-4 months.
Key recent recruits to UNSW include Darren Goodsir as Chief Communications Officer and Amir Mireskandari as Director of Operations in the Division of External Relations, and Dr Elizabeth Eastland to the position of Director Entrepreneurship in the Division of Enterprise. Congratulations and welcome to each of them.
Of the many things on the horizon for the next few weeks, there are three I particularly want to mention. Firstly, you can read below about a number of excellent UNSW Grand Challenge events which I hope that many staff and students will attend. Secondly, there will be ongoing national debate and discussion about the government’s proposals for cuts to Higher Education funding. These proposals are being robustly opposed by the Group of Eight and Universities Australia on the basis of concerns about the implications for our students and about the damage they will do to university funding and consequently to our ability to deliver benefits and impact for the nation. Alongside Senate submissions, as part of this effort, Professor Peter Høj, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland and Chair Group of Eight, gave an excellent speech at the National Press Club and Vicki Thomson, CEO Group of Eight had a powerful op-ed in the Australian. So our sector has made its views unequivocally clear. Whether or not the proposals pass through the Senate seems to depend upon where cross-benchers position themselves on this issue. Thirdly, on August 1st the Australian Human Rights commission will release the findings of a national survey of sexual harassment and violence commissioned by Universities Australia. At the same time UNSW and other universities will release their specific university data. We can anticipate bad news given that the only acceptable level of sexual violence or harassment is zero. We welcome the exposure of this problem as an important step in dealing with it. UNSW has been working on initiatives to reduce and eliminate this behavior from our campus during the last two years. You can read below about some of the steps we have and will be taking. We will maintain an open approach to this topic, however uncomfortable, and will continue our determined efforts to prevent and address sexual violence and harassment at UNSW.
On a lighter note I returned from Uganda just in time to see Arsenal play at the ANZ stadium against Sydney FC. I enjoyed seeing my team playing this side of the world and their new signing, Alexandre Lacazette, score his first goal in a 2-0 win. It was fun and although Arsenal won, the star of the match for me was the Sydney FC goal keeper Andrew Redmayne who made a series of outstanding saves. A good warm up to what will hopefully be an excellent season for both clubs.
Best wishes, Ian
WHAT SHOULD UNIVERSITIES DO ABOUT THE REFUGEE CRISIS?
The role that universities can and should play in the plight of refugees – a major moral dilemma of our times - was the focus of a UNHCR World Refugee Day annual fundraising event in June, where I gave the keynote talk. I was honoured to be asked to speak before an audience of about 500 guests in Sydney’s CBD. I made the point that while the world had become preoccupied with keeping people out, and creating more walls and barriers than ever before, there were leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel who felt the moral obligation to act, and proud that her country could give a friendly welcome to refugees. I noted that universities could play their part by following her example; that, in the growing climate of global political instability, and in the absence of substantive leadership in many nations, universities could be not only institutions for learning and research, but also agencies for social justice and policy improvement, and for active, positive change. Currently, forced displacement is at its highest level since records began, with more than 65 million people on the move worldwide and 1.2 million needing to be resettled. The fact is that, despite calls for help, our systems for governing these crises, these human tragedies, have not kept pace. Even if many are not driven to action by the moral imperative, there is ample evidence of the social and economic contribution made by refugees, who fill labour gaps, increase demand for goods and services, demonstrate entrepreneurship and innovation, and in many cases pass on vocational skills to residents in host countries. I noted that what is needed, is action based not on political agendas, or ‘alternative facts’, but on evidence and on expertise. The event also allowed me to outline what UNSW Sydney is doing in practical terms: the work of our Institute for Global Development and the Forced Migration Research Network, the informed analysis of the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, and our UNSW Grand Challenges program - taking on the big issues of climate change, migration and refugees, and inequality. The view which I offered was that the significant resources of the world’s universities could collectively have massive impacts on the lives of refugees, whether in medicine or crisis management, in law, or language teaching - or even philosophy. For refugees, values such as empathy, respect and the acceptance of others matter as much as practical issues around resettlement, education and employment.
EXTERNAL RELATIONS APPOINTS CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER AND DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
After an extensive recruitment process, External Relations (formerly International, Marketing and Communications) has completed the formation of its leadership team with two major appointments: Darren Goodsir as Chief Communications Officer, and Amir Mireskandari as Director of Operations. These are both outstanding appointments that will underpin the aims of the 2025 Strategy and our drive to make UNSW one of the world’s Top 50 universities. Darren Goodsir comes to UNSW with a stellar reputation in journalism and communications, public affairs, and government relations over more than 30 years, and is acknowledged in the media industry as a strategic leader successful in driving change. As Editor-in-Chief of The Sydney Morning Herald, he oversaw the newsroom's digital transformation after leading the integration of print and digital mastheads, and editing the news website smh.com.au. Darren has hands-on experience with social, mobile and other digital storytelling platforms, and knows the benefits and challenges of technological transformation. Our new Director of Operations in External relations, Amir Mireskandari, brings to UNSW an equally impressive track record in his field. Formerly the Group Operations Director for M&C Saatchi Australia (and General Manager of MAKE, the multi-media, multi-channel production and creative technology division of M&C Saatchi Group), Amir was responsible for streamlining the Group’s centralised creative, strategy, and production hub. He has run production teams across digital, broadcast, and print, and spent more than 17 years at agencies in Australia and the UK. Most recently he was four years at Leo Burnett Sydney, serving as Group Operations Director, after a six-year stint at GPY&R and Wunderman as Head of Print and Digital Studios. Darren and Amir will be working with Vice-President, External Relations Fiona Docherty and Pro Vice-Chancellor, International Laurie Pearcey to drive the division’s output. I congratulate Darren and Amir on their appointments and look forward to working closely with them in this critical area of our operations.
ACTING DEAN, FACULTY OF MEDICINE
The Kirby Institute’s Professor Anthony Kelleher has taken on the role of Acting Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. I am grateful to Tony for agreeing to fill the leadership role until Professor Rodney Phillips returns from extended absence towards the end of the year. His stellar research career, his leadership in the strategic review of the Infection, Immunity and Inflammation theme, his important contribution to the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE), and his extensive clinical experience make him well placed to lead the Faculty. I met with Tony and the Faculty of Medicine Executive Team yesterday and it was exciting to reflect on the developments in medicine through creation of the new research themes, education focused roles, funding for recruitment, our links with partner MRIs, the affiliation of the George Institute, the accreditation of SPHERE, and most recently the plans for the University-Hospital precinct in partnership with SE Sydney LHD. Tony will work with colleagues in medicine and across UNSW to maintain the momentum we have established in medicine and to ensure that we sustain the quality and high levels of satisfaction in our medical teaching program. I am grateful to Professor Peter Gunning who stepped in as Acting Dean at short notice immediately after Rodney Phillips had to go on leave and has done a superb job. Peter will now be able to focus back on his role as Head of the School of Medical Sciences. Rodney Phillips sends his best wishes to all and hopes to be back at work in 3-4 months from now.
ATHENA SWAN SURVEY RESULTS
In March this year, we surveyed academic and professional employees to obtain their feedback on gender equity issues in the workplace. My thanks to all those who took the time to share their views and opinions. A preliminary analysis of the results has been completed, and I can now share this with you. The results have provided insights into what you think UNSW is doing well, and where, as a community, you think we need to focus our attention. For example, it was reassuring to note that the vast majority of respondents feel proud to work at UNSW, that people feel their supervisor supports gender equality and diversity, that social activities are inclusive, and that people are confident that sex-based harassment will not be tolerated. Areas where we need to improve are ensuring our policies prevent gender-based discrimination, supporting staff through the promotion process and in their career development opportunities, and improving communications about the support UNSW offers to those staff with caring responsibilities. You can read more about the results here. Be assured that I am committed to working with the University Executive Team and all in our UNSW community to address the issues identified, and to improve the way we work. The Athena SWAN self-assessment team led by PVC Professor Laura Poole-Warren will undertake further staff consultation; identify actions that can be implemented now with immediate impact; develop an action plan for the key issues we need to improve upon in the medium to longer term; and regularly communicate back to you what we are doing. The aim is to improve the way we address gender equity issues at UNSW so that we reach our goal of being an exemplar in equity, diversity and inclusion. Once again, thanks to all those who took part for their invaluable feedback.
RESPECT. NOW. ALWAYS. AND THE COMING AHRC SURVEY RESULTS.
As many of you will know, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) releases its report on 1st August on the survey it conducted on sexual assault and sexual harassment in Australian universities. The survey, initiated by the VC’s of all 39 of Australia’s universities through the peak body Universities Australia, will provide a national picture on the nature and prevalence of sexual misconduct, at universities, as well as examining students’ reports of their experiences of misconduct and university responses to these incidents. Independent of the AHRC survey, UNSW commissioned an internal audit in late 2016 (and finalised in February this year) to assess the processes which UNSW had designed and implemented, and to provide input to improve the way we prevent and respond to sexual misconduct on campus. Using the agreed management actions in the audit report as a roadmap, we have been working on our first Sexual Misconduct Policy, and associated procedures, consulting with students, professional and academic staff, and our accommodation providers. The information contained in the AHRC report will inform our work and will ensure we are responding to the needs of our UNSW community. To facilitate a timely and appropriate response to any disclosures occurring in response to the release of the report, we have developed a Sexual Misconduct Reporting portal which will launch on 24th July. We are identifying appropriate staff to respond to these disclosures, to undertake training between 18th-28th July. If any member of staff would like to undertake this training and to assist with recording an incident via the portal, providing students or staff with practical support, such as referrals to expert counselling and assessment, requests for ‘special consideration’, sick leave and so on, please send your Expression of Interest to firstname.lastname@example.org To become a ‘first responder’ you must adopt the role voluntarily, as we cannot know if anyone has a history of trauma that could make them vulnerable in this role; demonstrate appropriate interest and skills; and supply a “Working with Children” clearance (in due course) if you are to respond to students under 18 years of age. For more information contact Deborah Samuels, email@example.com. UNSW is committed to assisting any UNSW student or staff member who may be adversely affected by sexual misconduct. This is of the highest priority for our university and I encourage anyone affected to report your experience so that we can take appropriate steps.
FLAG-RAISING LAUNCHES NAIDOC WEEK AT UNSW
Celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, NAIDOC Week events are held across Australia each July - not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life - and at UNSW this was an opportunity to showcase our work on Indigenous inclusion, a vital part of the 2025 Strategy. On 3rd July we launched our NAIDOC Week celebrations with a flag raising ceremony at the Kensington Campus, with a focus on this year’s theme ‘Our Languages Matter’. Scientia PhD Scholar and Wiradjuri woman Jessica Russ-Smith told the crowd that ‘language is our identity. Through language we find our stories and our resilience and our healing.’ Jessica, who is doing a PhD on the decolonisation of Indigenous identity, said Indigenous languages, like the Aboriginal flag, united communities, and were reminders of resistance, resilience and advocacy for Indigenous people. She explained she had only started learning the Wiradjuri language six months ago, discovering ‘there are no English words to describe the intense emotional impact it has had on unlocking my Wiradjuri self and my identity.’ Speaking on behalf of the UNSW Executive team, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Les Field noted measures the university had put in place to support Indigenous staff and students, and the five new Indigenous fellowships and several Indigenous scholarships announced as part of the Scientia Programs. Les described these as important steps in redressing the imbalance between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and staff at the University. I too am proud that Indigenous inclusion is such an important part of UNSW’s strategy.We are committed to increasing the intake and retention of Indigenous students and their degree completions; increasing our recruitment of Indigenous staff and providing opportunities for all Indigenous staff to build exciting and fulfilling careers; celebrating and respecting Indigenous knowledges; making Indigenous knowledge integral to the learning experience at UNSW; and developing sustained partnerships with Indigenous communities with innovative research that can directly benefit them.
WINTER SCHOOL PROGRAM FOR INDIGENOUS UNIVERSITY PREPARATION
NAIDOC Week coincided with the University’s Winter School program, one of the largest Indigenous university preparation programs in Australia. Targeted at students in Years 10, 11 and 12 who are considering further studies beyond high school, the Winter School is a week-long residential program run by the team at Nura Gili. It gives students the chance to experience what university life is like through participation in lectures and tutorials, study sessions, presentations, team building activities and cultural activities, and living in our colleges on campus. This year we had 115 students from all over Australia, from both rural and metropolitan areas, participating in the program, which has been running successfully since 2002 at no cost to students. This direct experience with campus life is designed to encourage them to consider going to university once they finish their school studies.
ARTS & SOCIAL SCIENCES PROMOTES INDIGENOUS STRATEGY IN NAIDOC WEEK
NAIDOC Week also saw plenty of activity within the faculties at UNSW. Arts & Social Sciences held three events showcasing the work of their Indigenous colleagues, HDR and undergraduate students. Dr Darryl Cronin, Senior Indigenous Fellow in UNSW’s School of Humanities & Languages and Faculty Diversity Champion for Indigenous Strategy, discussed ‘The Struggle for Rights: The Story of NAIDOC’, focusing on the Day of Mourning as a formative event in the struggle for both citizenship and Indigenous cultural rights. Associate Professor Sue Green (School of Social Sciences) and Jessica Russ-Smith (Scientia Scholar and PhD Candidate) spoke of the importance of language in reclaiming identity, and their journey of self-discovery and decolonising at a ‘Language is Culture, Culture is Identity: Reclaiming our Being’ seminar. And the UNSW Community Reference Panel, managed by the Centre for Social Research in Health, came together to discuss community engagement of Aboriginal people in social health and research. The Panel - coordinated by Melinda Walker, a Gumbaynggirr woman currently studying a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) at UNSW, and Kim Beadman, a Dhararwal Woman of the Eora Nation studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science & Criminology at UNSW - was formed to improve the quality and relevance of research by providing direct community input, as well as involving people with lived experience.
SPHERE WINS NHMRC ACCREDITATION
SPHERE – or to give it its full name, the Sydney Partnership for Health Education Research and Enterprise – has passed another milestone, receiving NHMRC endorsement for its commitment to delivering top-quality research, education, and healthcare to the greater Sydney community and beyond. I am the inaugural Chair of SPHERE, a $20 million venture, bringing together key NSW organisations in health, education and medical research, including UNSW Sydney. After a major application and review process it has now received full accreditation as an Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre (AHRTC) – my thanks to everyone involved in our success in this process. The Federal Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, The Hon. Craig Laundy MP, announced the National Health and Medical Research Council accreditation on behalf of Health Minister, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP. Launched in March this year, SPHERE, which also goes by its Dharug Indigenous name Maridulu Budyari Gumal, received the endorsement for its commitment to bringing together four health services, three universities, including UNSW, and seven Medical Research Institutes to deliver better healthcare for the greater Sydney region. Our aim is to work together to drive excellence in research and education, which in turn can deliver improvements in health care and economic prosperity for the population of Sydney and New South Wales, whilst also having a global impact. In May this year, SPHERE awarded $2 million from its $20 million seed funding to its 12 Clinical Academic Groups working to address major health challenges in critical areas, including Aboriginal health and wellbeing, ageing, maternal, newborn and women’s health. SPHERE now has a Director in post, Professor Chris Levi, and a COO, Karyn Joyner and we can anticipate much more progress in the next few years. For a full rundown of SPHERE's partner organisations and aims, go to the website.
UNSW WELCOMES INVESTMENT IN RANDWICK HEALTH PRECINCT
Our neighbourhood continues to move towards becoming a fully integrated hospital-university campus, with the news that the NSW Government is investing an additional $220 million into the Randwick Health and Education Precinct. The precinct already provides state-wide, and internationally recognised health care and research in many areas including cancer, neuroscience, mental health, women’s and children’s health, infection and immunology, and non-communicable diseases - and this latest funding boost will see health infrastructure in the area vastly improved. It also builds on the successful Bright Alliance development, and it really sets the stage for developing a uniquely integrated hospital-university campus, linking cutting-edge research at UNSW Sydney with local healthcare services. By creating a seamless physical and working integration between the hospital and UNSW, we will be even better able to compete at the forefront internationally in health research and education. That in turn will attract outstanding clinicians and academics, drive better healthcare and research, and yield economic benefits for the community.
MOU PAVES WAY FOR CLEANER, GREENER LOCAL ENVIRONMENT
Still on our neighbourhood news, UNSW and Randwick City Council have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to progress a shared sustainability agenda for the local environment, to encourage collaboration on a range of environmental initiatives, and provide opportunities for UNSW students and council staff to work together on local projects. The agreement opens up the exchange of information and skills to shape a better, greener local environment, and formalises what is already a strong partnership between our two organisations - we share not only a geographical location but a mutual vision to improve the environment for our local community. In practical terms the MOU aims to deliver long-term solutions for the greater Randwick area environment, including projects and education on sustainability to local schools, ways to improve local water and energy conservation, and initiatives to reduce consumption of natural materials by local residents and the University.
APRU ANNUAL PRESIDENTS’ MEETING AND RETREAT
In late June, the UNSW community had the privilege of hosting the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Annual Presidents’ Meeting and Presidential Retreat – marking APRU’s 20th Anniversary. It gave us the opportunity to showcase UNSW and Sydney to a distinguished gathering of presidents and senior leaders from 45 premier universities from across the Asia Pacific. The theme, ‘The Future of the Pacific and its Societies’, highlighted the challenges the region faces - whether political, demographic, economic, or on major issues such as climate change, refugees, inequality, and the impact of technology. The comprehensive program saw leaders of higher education, CEOs, government, and non-profits engaging in talks on higher education leadership, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the future of the Pacific, and regional free trade in the post Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) era. Debate led by UNSW and APRU member researchers included inputs from former New Zealand Prime Minister The Right Hon. Helen Clark, and former Obama Administration official Christina Romer, speaking on a CEO Breakfast panel that included our own UNSW Chancellor David Gonski AO. APRU announced an exciting new higher education leaders’ forum to be held during the APEC Leaders’ Summit – an important initiative advocated by UNSW in its recent submission to the Australian Government's Foreign Policy White Paper. To mark the 20thAnniversary, a new APRU Garden has been created near the Goodsell Building and I encourage all members of the UNSW community to visit. (Photos here.) To reflect APRU’s focus on the Pacific, an APRU Crayweed Forest was also planted off Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach on behalf of APRU delegates by the UNSW Operation Crayweed team. Photos from the APRU program can be seen here. Overall, the enduring alliance of APRU, and the strong ties it facilitates, enhances our collective ability to influence governments, industry, and society on issues of global concern, and is key to our regional advocacy agenda on the importance of higher education.
PLUS ALLIANCE INAUGURAL ALUMNI EVENT FOCUSES ON REFUGEES
Our strong UNSW focus on refugees was reinforced at the inaugural event of the PLuS Alliance’s alumni and friends, which brought together, in London, experts from Arizona State University, King’s College London and UNSW Sydney to discuss the mounting crisis. I was at the event - the first hosted by Paul Ramadge, our newly-appointed PLuS Alliance Managing Director – and stressed how important it was for the Alliance, and for the higher education sector in general, to bring together key influencers to forge often difficult, but imperative conversations as a starting point to finding solutions. Paul noted that we were now living in what he called ‘a troubling era of the dispossessed, from Syria to Afghanistan, the Lake Chad Basin, South Sudan, Somalia and more’, and he agreed that universities were well placed to find solutions. Arizona State University’s Assistant Professor of English, Dr Jacqueline Wernimont, highlighted the creative and entrepreneurial work being done by migrant communities across the globe, which is the focus of her Collaborative Ecologies project, a PLuS Alliance initiative; while UNSW Professor and inaugural Judith Neilson Chair of Architecture, David Sanderson, explained that most migrants ended up in cities or towns rather than refugee camps, swelling urban numbers and creating a need for ‘urbanised’ humanitarian responses and aid. The event highlighted the Alliance’s focus on refugees and migrants, a key part of its pursuit of innovative solutions for global challenges in critical areas such as sustainability, global health, social justice, and technology.
SUNSWIFT LAUNCHES ITS LATEST MODEL
On 21st June - ironically the time of the Winter solstice - the UNSW Solar Racing Team Sunswift hosted the launch of its sixth-generation solar electric car, ‘Violet’. I was there to share the excitement of Sunswift's next chapter, and was mightily impressed. Sunswift is a volunteer, student-led organisation dedicated to developing a high-performance solar racing vehicle, to providing a context for practical learning and development of efficient, sustainable technologies, and to inspiring the public to reflect and act upon the impact that current vehicles have on the environment. After a year of meticulous design and three months’ construction in New Zealand, the car’s super-aerodynamic, all-carbon chassis arrived at Sunswift’s UNSW workshop in a shipping container. Although the project has had major successes, it commenced in 1995, the launch of ‘Violet’ marked a major step forward for Sunswift, in terms of innovation and sustainability: the car uses a lot less energy than a Tesla, electric motorcycles and many electric bicycles on the market. For the technically minded, the electronics inside include CSIRO hub motors, Tritium motor controllers and battery management system, 800w 248 solar cells array connected to 2x maximum power point trackers and the 15kwh 1224 cells battery pack all designed in-house by Sunswift engineers. The next step - they’re aiming to attend the SASol race in South Africa after the World Solar Challenge later this year. Maybe it’s time we talked to Elon Musk?
UNSW IN TOP TWO FOR BREADTH IN WORLD SUBJECT RANKINGS
More positive news in global rankings to cautiously welcome. This month in the influential ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2017, UNSW was named as one of only two universities of the 4,000+ ranked worldwide in the top 400 in 50 subject areas - with 38 of our subject areas making it into the top 100. UNSW joined Ohio State University Columbus as the universities with the most subjects ranked in the prestigious league table. Not only did we score 38 subjects ranked in the top 100, but 18 of them were in the top 50 and two in the top 10. I am cautious about reading too much in to this as we were not top worldwide in any subject – Harvard was top in 15 and MIT in 5 – and our breadth may to some extent be at the price of quality – note that Harvard was only in the top 400 in 34 subjects and MIT in 31. Nevertheless, we can celebrate our high ranking in Water Resources (6th in the world), and Finance where we ranked at number 10, and that five UNSW subjects were ranked first in Australia (Finance, Water Resources, Civil Engineering, Remote Sensing, and Library/Info Science). Other high performing subjects at UNSW were Civil Engineering (11), Mining & Mineral Engineering (12), Marine/Ocean Engineering (18), Library and Information Science (27), Hospitality and Tourism (30), Public Health (31), Remote Sensing (33), Law (37), Computer Science and Engineering (40), Transportation Science & Technology (41), Telecommunication Engineering (42), Chemical Engineering (44), Mechanical Engineering (45), Ecology (45), Aerospace Engineering (47), and Psychology (47). You can peruse the full rundown of the subject rankings on the ShanghaiRanking’s ARWU website.
APPOINTMENT OF DR ELIZABETH EASTLAND
I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Elizabeth Eastland to the position of Director Entrepreneurship at UNSW. Over the last seven years, Dr Eastland has been a visionary in the Australian innovation landscape, founding and leading the University of Wollongong’s globally-recognised innovation accelerator, iAccelerate, for which she and her team were awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Award in 2015. More recently she has been responsible for CSIRO’s innovation strategy, and delivering Australia’s first national deep-tech accelerator. An original and deeply innovative thinker, with core strengths in strategy, leadership, new opportunity development, and innovation, Elizabeth is also the recipient of several awards including one of the Top 100 business women in Australia (Business Class Magazine), and in 2012 was named one of AFR/Westpac’s ‘100 most influential women’. As Director, Enterprise at UNSW, she will play a key leadership role, driving entrepreneurship across the University, and developing, fostering and maintaining collaborative and commercial relationships to expand innovation and start-up networks, to attract sponsorship and to achieve UNSW’s key innovation goals, including the scaling up of our already successful student start-up program. We welcome Elizabeth on board.
A SUCCESSFUL DECADE OF CRACKING THE GLASS CEILING
Celebrating 10 years of developing, motivating, and educating talented women, Capital W - UNSW Business School’s women’s business society - welcomed over 170 business students, academics, distinguished guests, and sponsor representatives at a gala event at Doltone House on 4th July. The theme of the dinner, ‘1000 Cracks in the Ceiling’, reflected the progress women have made in business whilst empowering the younger generation to follow in their footsteps. Stephanie Pow, Capital W’s founder and former Co-President, and now Associate Director, Derivatives at UBS, opened the evening by sharing her motivations in 2007, when she set out to show young women they could take on bolder challenges to become business leaders: ‘I just wanted more young women to do something they might not feel like they are 100% ready to do, like I was when I first started on the trading floor.’ The Society invited a group of future students from the UNSW Business School’s High Schools Network along to the dinner to experience networking for themselves, and hear from Capital W’s inspiring community. The keynote speaker, Nicola Wakefield Evans, a non-executive director of Macquarie Group Limited, Toll Holdings Limited, Lend Lease Corporation Limited, and BUPA Australia & New Zealand, offered some advice from her own experiences in the corporate world: ‘Take charge of your life and understand what is important to you. Evaluate opportunities, take risks and be open minded.’
STEM SUPERSTARS INSPIRE GIRLS TO SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CAREERS
UNSW cancer researcher, Dr Caroline Ford,is among the first 30 female scientists and technologists to be named Superstars of STEM, in a national program aimed at smashing stereotypes and forging a new generation of role models for young women and girls. Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator The Hon. Arthur Sinodinos AO, announced the successful candidates at an event at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair launched by UNSW Dean of Science, Professor Emma Johnston. More than 300 women vied for a spot in the inaugural Superstar program, run by Science and Technology Australia. Winners will receive training and development to use social media, TV, radio, and public speaking opportunities to carve out a more diverse face for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Professor Johnston, who is President-Elect of Science and Technology Australia, noted that when you ask someone to picture or draw a scientist, they immediately think of an old man with white hair and a lab coat. ‘We want Australian girls to realise there are some amazing, capable and impressive women working as scientists and technologists too, and they work in and out of the lab in places you might not expect. With more girls considering STEM careers, we have the potential to achieve so much more.’ Senator Sinodinos said only one in four IT graduates and fewer than one in 10 engineering graduates were women. Women also occupied fewer than 20% of senior research positions in Australian universities, and research institutes. The successful applicants work in areas including archaeology, robotics, medicine, education, psychology, neuroscience, agriculture, mathematics, and engineering, and come from almost every state and territory and work in public, academic and private sectors. Dr Ford leads the Metastasis Research Group at the Lowy Cancer Research Centre at UNSW, which aims to understand how cancers metastasise or spread, and to identify targets for novel therapies. Among the other winners, evolutionary scientist Dr Celine Frere of the University of the Sunshine Coast gained her PhD from UNSW. The full list of winners is available here.
TORCH PARTNERSHIP TO DEVELOP NEXT-GEN TOUCH SCREENS
More good news from our Torch partnership, which seems to yield fresh developments every month. New types of touch screens that would be very robust, but also sensitive enough to detect 10 fingers at once, are being developed in a research partnership between UNSW Science and the Chinese company WeTouch. The collaboration, celebrated at a launch event at UNSW, is part of the Torch innovation partnership between UNSW and China, announced last year. WeTouch, based in Sichuan Province, has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2011, and now employs more than 300 people producing medium to large-scale touchscreens for a variety of industries, including retail, finance, gaming, health, and the automotive industry. The UNSW project with WeTouch to develop new piezoelectric-based screens that overcome the drawbacks of current screen technologies, is led by Dr Danyang Wang, Dr Dewei Chu and Professor Sean Li of the UNSW School of Materials Science and Engineering. Touch screens seem to be everywhere you turn these days – so creating screens that are super sensitive and relatively low cost could be a game changer, and a real achievement for our UNSW researchers. WeTouch’s customers include Siemens, Schneider Electric, and Canon, which puts us in good company. Since UNSW signed up with Torch in April 2016, more than 20 cutting-edge programs have been launched with Chinese industry partners, delivering research contracts to UNSW worth more than $70 million. Not bad going in less than 18 months!
SCREEN-PRINTED BATTERIES FOR RENEWABLES ON THE WAY
Like most people these days I find the speed of technological change quite extraordinary, and exciting. What about ultra-thin, flexible, screen-printed batteries that can be adapted to almost any shape? Thanks to a joint UNSW-University of Queensland project, they are one step closer to reality. Backed by the energy innovator and philanthropist Trevor St Baker, Printed Energy is a Brisbane company with patented technologies in printing batteries and photovoltaics, and a laboratory in Arizona focused on energy storage and materials science. The $12 million project received a funding boost: $2 million from the Cooperative Research Centres Projects scheme, announced by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator The Hon. Arthur Sinodinos AO, to allow partner companies to accelerate the technology. The solid-state batteries, printed much like a newspaper roll, have potential applications in disposable medical devices, smart cards and wearable electronics, as well as large-scale solar panels and energy storage. As UNSW Dean of Engineering, Professor Mark Hoffman says, ‘The world is crying out for storage solutions, and this partnership has the potential to deliver on that urgent need.’ UQ’s the Dow Centre will coordinate the research effort, with UQ’s Professor Lianzhou Wang and UNSW’s Dr Da-Wei Wang driving development.
SPACE TO EARTH: UNSW-ECO SATELLITE IS ALIVE AND WELL
Two Australian satellites, feared lost after being deployed from the International Space Station, have been recovered by a team led by UNSW engineers after weeks of a fraught – and at times heart-stopping – recovery operation. Dr Elias Aboutanios, project leader for UNSW-EC0, the first Australian-built satellite in 15 years to go into space, said it was like something out of Apollo 13. ‘Our satellite was orbiting at 27,000 km/h almost 400km above our heads. We couldn’t see it, couldn’t inspect it, and had almost no data to work with. So we were busting our heads trying to figure out what could have gone wrong, and how to regain contact.’ The UNSW ground control team, with help from ham radio operators, and colleagues at the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Sydney (USYD), finally regained control of both cubesats. In all, three Australian research satellites – two built at UNSW – blasted off on 19th April from Cape Canaveral as part of the QB50 mission, a swarm of 36 small satellites (‘cubesats’) designed to explore the little-understood region above Earth known as the thermosphere. Both UNSW-EC0 and INSPIRE-2 were meant to transmit a beacon, but no signal came. In Dr Aboutanios’ words, ‘For more than three weeks, we were looking in the wrong part of the sky for our satellite - we couldn’t have known that. But the procedures we put in place, the scenarios we ran and the solutions we developed, they all paid off. You could say we succeeded by engineering the heck out of this.’ Dean of Engineering Professor Mark Hoffman says the recovery was a terrific example of Australian engineering ingenuity and perseverance. ‘A focused, collaborative team worked the problem, utilised diverse skills and tools to develop solutions until they had it resolved. That, in a nutshell, is engineering excellence.’
UNSW PHILANTHROPY ON THE MOVE
The Division of Philanthropy has moved. In early July it relocated to offices in 320 Pitt Street, Sydney for a period of 18 months, accompanying our Finance and IT teams. The central team will be located in the CBD offices while faculty-based staff will remain in their faculties on campus. The Division will also maintain a small space at Kensington campus to allow for working between the two locations. This will enable the team to be in close contact with our supporters and donors in CBD as well as with staff and students on the main campus.
PRIZE TURNS SPOTLIGHT ON MENTAL WELLBEING OF PERFORMERS
Nominations have opened for the 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize established by UNSW, recognising those who have made outstanding contributions to either the promotion of mental health, or the prevention and treatment of mental illness. The Prize was launched by award-winning Australian soprano and mental health advocate, Greta Bradman, recently appointed to the Prize Advisory Group. Ms Bradman explained that her passion for being involved with mental health treatment was built on first-hand experience of how debilitating mental illness could be - she noted that Australian adults who worked in the performing arts sector were twice as likely to attempt suicide, and five to seven times more likely to consider suicide than the general population. Professor Philip Mitchell, Head of the UNSW School of Psychiatry, said the Prize was established to raise awareness about living with the burden of mental illness every day, and to acknowledge those doing ground-breaking work in the area. He called on clinicians, health professionals, and the public at large to nominate the people they feel should be recognised for their work. Last year’s inaugural winner, Kim Ryan, President of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, says winning the Prize had helped to elevate the important role of mental health nurses. To enter, nominees have to provide a CV and 200 words outlining the work they are doing and how it is making an impact. Nomination forms at http://australianmentalhealthprize.org.au/ Entries close on August 31st 2017, with the winner being announced in November.
UNSW’S PLANS FOR A CROSS-FACULTY DISABILITY INNOVATION INSTITUTE
Disability researchers at UNSW are developing a ground-breaking initiative to help transform the lives of people with disability, by harnessing research and innovation across all our faculties and disciplines. The plan for a Disability Innovation Institute at UNSW, to be launched later this year, will be a platform to combine disability studies with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) and HAS (Humanities and Science) research - to design accessible and inclusive working, living, and learning environments, generate innovative technologies, and create inclusive law, policy, services, markets and communities. About one in five Australians - 4.2 million people, or 18.5% of the population - identify as having a disability. That number will likely to grow as Australia’s population ages, with one in two people predicted to develop an age-related disability over the next 20 years. The interdisciplinary institute will collaborate with people with disability to identify, understand, and research solutions to the practical challenges experienced by people with disability. A Disability Inclusion Maker’s Exchange will connect scholars, makers, and users to develop long-lasting solutions to the practical challenges experienced by people with disability. Five of Australia’s Group of Eight universities have disability initiatives of some kind but until this UNSW initiative, no university-based program in Australia offered the scale and complete cross-faculty, inclusive disability focus that government and business are seeking. What UNSW is doing also accords perfectly with the focus of our 2025 Strategy on global impact, social engagement, and building high-quality interdisciplinary research, as well as aligning with the University’s Grand Challenge on Inequality.
MASTER OF TEACHING (PRIMARY) PROGRAM BEGINS IN 2018
UNSW School of Education has launched its new Master of Teaching (Primary) program, and is currently taking applications for semester one, 2018. This predominantly site-based program will see teachers-in-training working in primary schools in the local area three days a week, allowing for the ongoing integration of theory and practice. From day one, students will be immersed in the practical challenges, and the daily realities of primary teachers. They will be supported and guided in their learning by the School of Education through in-school liaison visits, and one-on-one supervision with experienced primary teachers. This is an exciting and innovative Masters program that will produce a new type of primary school teacher, one more capable of meeting the needs of a diverse range of students.
HIGH PERFORMING NEW JOURNAL IN QUANTUM INFORMATION
Another feather in UNSW’s quantum computing cap. The Nature Partner Journal, npj Quantum Information, edited by UNSW quantum scientist Professor Michelle Simmons and first published in October 2015, has entered the highly-regarded Journal Citation Report as the top-ranked quantum information journal, with an impact factor of 9.111. The journal covers a wide range of topics, from quantum computing, to quantum communications, and quantum cryptography. As Michelle explains, with quantum information growing rapidly, there has been a need for a high-quality journal to match: ‘The success of the journal is a testament to our phenomenal editorial and advisory boards, to our hard-working community of referees, and to all the brilliant quantum researchers who have submitted manuscripts to us.’ UNSW leads the world in the race to build a quantum computer in silicon, so it is doubly pleasing to see we have become a leader in the global sharing of knowledge in this evolving field. This is the first Nature Partner Journal to be published in Australia – you can watch a video of the launch here. The open source, multidisciplinary journal is being published in partnership between UNSW and CQC2T. For those who can get their heads around quantum computing, some of the most viewed and shared npjQI papers to date include: Majorana zero modes and topological quantum computation (link); Demonstration of a quantum advantage in machine learning (link); Quantum algorithms: an overview (link); Building logical qubits in a superconducting quantum computing system (link); Quantum sampling problems, BosonSampling and quantum supremacy (link); and Energy efficient quantum computing (link).
UNSW ENGINEERING LAUNCHES INGENUITY MAGAZINE
UNSW has another magazine. INGENUITY, a new publication focusing on the frontiers of engineering research at UNSW, and with a global distribution, reflects the high standing of the Faculty of Engineering worldwide. Dean, Professor Mark Hoffman says the magazine is one of a number of initiatives UNSW Engineering is pursuing to enhance the Faculty’s global impact and its academic and research excellence. ‘With nine schools, 32 research centres and participating or leading 10 Cooperative Research Centres, we do truly amazing research -among the world’s best.’ The first cover of INGENUITY features a schematic of the bionic eye developed by UNSW biomedical engineers. This latest focus on communications follows the visit to UNSW in May of Rebecca Morelle, global science correspondent for BBC News in London, as the first Ingenuity Fellow, a journalist-in-residence program for overseas science writers. INGENUITY will be distributed free to executives of Australia’s largest corporations, Federal and State parliamentarians and senior government officials, scientific and industry collaborators of UNSW’s Faculty of Engineering globally, as well as science and technology journalists worldwide. The print edition is also being distributed to Australian embassies and trade offices overseas, at the biennial World Conference of Science Journalists and the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. You can subscribe here.
TOP AWARD FOR UNSW MARINE SCIENTIST
For his outstanding contribution to marine research in Australia, UNSW’s Professor Peter Steinberg has received a prestigious Jubilee Award from the Australian Marine Sciences Association. Professor Steinberg, the Director and CEO of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, is widely considered one of the founders of the discipline of marine chemical ecology – a blend of traditional marine experimental ecology and natural products chemistry. He is also an expert on the impacts of pollution and climate change on marine organisms, including kelps and corals.
UNCONSCIOUS BIAS ONLINE TRAINING FOR UNSW STAFF
UNSW has been conducting unconscious bias training for senior leaders across the University for several months. This is important training because biases have the potential to influence our attitudes, which can affect the way we respond to situations and how we relate to those around us. By learning more about the basis (conscious and unconscious) of our judgements, and what strategies can be employed to mitigate bias, we can become more attuned to bias and better equipped to minimise its impacts - personally and professionally. Employees have the opportunity to learn about unconscious bias through self-paced online training, which UNSW has licenced. The training takes around two hours to complete in full and can be done in stages. To find out more click here.
HR HELP @ UNSW
Our new HR Shared Service function, HR Help @ UNSW, was launched in May and successfully went live for Divisions and the Faculty of Medicine. This team will manage all generalist HR processing and requests via phone, email, or a new online HR General request form. This is a 2025 Strategy initiative aimed at improving the efficiency, consistency, and flexibility of the professional services provided by our HR team across UNSW. The HR team will continue to improve HR Help @ UNSW’s offering before the service is gradually rolled out university-wide later in 2017.
GRAND CHALLENGES IN AUGUST
Worth noting in the diary: the UNSW Grand Challenges teams have a number of major events coming up in August. On 15th August, the Sydney Opera House will host ‘Breaking the Deadlock: Creating Solutions for Refugees’, providing an opportunity to discuss possible solutions as part of the Grand Challenge on Refugees and Migrants. The panel will feature Australian and international experts working at the forefront of refugee and asylum seeker practice and policy, including Paris Aristotle AO, CEO of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc.; Professor Guy S. Goodwin-Gill, Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College Oxford and Emeritus Professor of International Refugee Law; Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs, former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission; and Huy Truong, who came to Australia by boat from Vietnam in 1978 when he was seven. As part of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Climate Change, on the 16th August the Sydney Opera House will host US climatologist Dr Michael E. Mann, psychologist Professor Stephan Lewandowsky and activist Anna Rose in a talk titled ‘What is Stopping Action on Climate Change’. The panel will consider different perspectives on how to break the stalemate. Tickets to these events are $20 for UNSW Staff. To spur interest, the Grand Challenges team is giving away passes to these events: the first three UNSW Staff to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header of either “Breaking the Deadlock” or “Madhouse Effect” will win a double pass (one double pass per person only.) For more information visit the website - http://grandchallenges.unsw.edu.au/
UNSW INVESTIGATOR AWARDED FOR KIDNEY DISEASE RESEARCH
UNSW PhD student, Dr Adeniyi Borire’s research contributions have been recognised with the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) 2017 Golseth Young Investigator Award. In Dr Borire’s research, neuromuscular ultrasound was used to quantify intraneural blood flow (detectable blood flow within nerves) in 18 patients with end-stage kidney disease. Current ultrasound technology cannot detect blood flow under normal physiological conditions, however blood flow becomes detectable when nerves are diseased, because there is usually an increase in blood flow when tissue injury occurs. The research found even a single session of haemodialysis made significant improvements to blood flow, highlighting the therapeutic effect of dialysis on nerve structure and function. Dr Borire’s research with PhD supervisors, Professors Arun Krishnan and Matthew Kiernan,and Dr Neil Simon and other co-authors, was judged on its scientific merit, methodology, manuscript form, and on Dr Borire’s contributions to the project. He will formally receive his prize in the US later this year, and his abstract will be published in the journal Muscle and Nerve.
UNSW eHEALTH LEADER JOINS INTERNATIONAL FORUM
UNSW Professor of General Practice, Teng Liaw has been named one of 100 inaugural members of the International Academy of Heath Sciences Informatics (IAHSI), and one of only five members from Australia. The new body will serve as an international forum for peers in the field, contributing to national and global eHealth policy, and the adoption of health informatics across all nations to help achieve the WHO Sustainable Development Goals. Health informatics, also called biomedical informatics, is a multidisciplinary field that uses various informatics tools to advance healthcare. Professor Liaw, who is also Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for eHealth, says the group will focus thought leadership in the field, to consolidate it as an academic discipline and a practical, inter-disciplinary science. He is looking forward to robust discourse on ‘the science and art’ of health informatics.
UNSW BOOSTS INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH IN MYANMAR
An international infectious disease research collaboration between The Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney, and Myanmar’s University of Medicine 2 (UM2) has been launched in Yangon. The collaboration was announced by Australia’s Chargé d’Affaires in Myanmar, Nick Cumpston at an event attended by a high-level Australian parliamentary delegation. The collaboration will build research capacity in infectious diseases in Myanmar, with emphasis on HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. Myanmar faces considerable health challenges: the WHO has identified it as one of 13 countries in the world with the most serious TB problem, and an estimated 222,000 people are HIV-positive, with only half receiving antiretroviral treatments. Professor Aye Tun said working with an Australian university would significantly improve the quality of medical education at UM2, particularly in relation to research. ‘This commitment from the Kirby Institute is invaluable to us,’ she said. ‘It will help bring our research capacity to international standards.’ Scientia Professor David Cooper, Director of the Kirby Institute, sees the collaboration with Myanmar as core to the Institute’s efforts to liaise closely with Australia's neighbours to eradicate disease. Dr Josh Hanson from the Kirby Institute will work with colleagues and communities in Myanmar on the collaboration.
FOOTBALL UNITED GOES TO MYANMAR
Still in Myanmar, a ‘well done’ to Dr Anne Bunde-Birouste, founder of Football United at UNSW, who last month signed an agreement with Myanmar Red Cross Society, expanding Football United’s activities into the Myanmar University community. The unique ‘sport for social change’ program will contribute to building the capacity of the emerging nation to promote social inclusion, and youth and community development. Football United programs engage participants through regular football activities for kids in disadvantaged communities, and integrate life skills and leadership education across all activities. With support from a UNSW grant, Football United started working in Myanmar in 2013, and has been steadily growing since. Myanmar Red Cross will introduce the initiative to its more than 100 university Red Cross branches and empower them to lead the program.
EMOTION SENSING CLOTHING WINS NATIONAL YOUNG DESIGN AWARD
UNSW graduates have dominated the 2017 Young Designer of the Year Awards in the prestigious Good Design Awards, Australia’s longest-standing national design award. Lilian Hambling, a UNSW Art & Design graduate, won the coveted Young Designer of the Year Award for E-motion, a clothing range that allows men to communicate non-verbally. Sensors in the garments respond to the wearer’s pulse, muscle tension and proximity, converting the physical information into coloured light animations that emulate different emotions like a pounding heart, rush of adrenaline, and the feeling of ‘butterflies’. Lilian says by enabling men to be more openly expressive, stereotypical expectations of masculinity can change. ‘Instead of hiding them away, feelings – such as love, anger, fear, and sadness – can be displayed as interactive gestures.’ UNSW Industrial Design graduate Era Camilet won the Design Innovation Award for HUG, a self-regulation and early-warning system that lets parents of autistic children know when their child is about to have an aggressive outburst. And Jessi Wilkinson, also an Industrial Design graduate, won the Design Technology Award for Stride: Running Coach, a wearable virtual trainer for beginner to intermediate runners. Stride uses sensor technologies including heart-rate monitoring earbuds, a wearable sensor pod, and muscle-tech running tights to provide real-time audio feedback on running style. As an enthusiastic runner myself, I can’t wait to see this on the market! UNSW Industrial Design Director, Stephen Ward, says the award winners illustrate the high calibre of our graduates. ‘We are delighted to see that five of the twelve finalists, and three of the four winners, in the Awards this year are graduates of UNSW.’ Great news, and congratulations to all.
UNSW ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR FINALIST FOR NSW CREATIVE LAUREATE
Congratulations also to UNSW Art & Design's Associate Dean International and Engagement, Associate Professor Vaughan Rees, who was named among the 2017 finalists for the NSW Creative Laureate. The annual Creative Laureate and the NSW Emerging Creative Talent Awards were initiated by the NSW government to celebrate and reward the outstanding creative achievements of individuals and businesses that have contributed to raising the global profile of the state’s creative industries. Over more than three decades, Associate Professor Rees, a highly experienced design educator and practicing artist, has built a strong and active network across NSW, Australia, and globally, in which design industry mentors, interns, professionals, and academic institutions create a shared experience of best practice, and knowledge exchange. The winner of this year’s NSW Creative Laureate was Plastic Wax, a Sydney-based animation and visual effects company specialising in 3D content for video games, film and television. Some of its notable works include The Hunger Games, Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Tomb Raider.