November/December Update

Dear colleagues,

After a year of challenges, change and achievement it was good to see so many staff, their partners and their children relaxing at a memorable ‘Family Day’ event on November 30. Over 3,000 adults and children enjoyed clowns, pony rides, a petting farm with lambs, a calf and a llama, dancing, face painting and plenty of food. There was a wonderful atmosphere and it was a great way to say thanks to staff who have worked so hard on delivering their part of our 2025 Strategy so successfully.

Many of you will have had the chance to attend one of several other recent events which reflect the UNSW commitment to partnership and community. One example, SPHERE – Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise – held a major meeting in CBD on November 22 / 23. SPHERE brings together three Local Health Districts, seven medical Research Institutes and three universities (WSU, UTS, UNSW) with a shared commitment to improve health care, research and educational outcomes. The meeting featured two days of outstanding talks on innovation, health care delivery, patient perspectives and research advances.  It ended with a surprise – a powerful, moving and challenging play called “Where We Are”, written by Stephen Sewell, NIDA Head of Writing and Performance, and performed by the staff of NIDA, which highlighted the challenges of communication in healthcare.

The first day of the SPHERE meeting coincided with another collaborative event, the UNSW Innovation Summit, featuring talks from UNSW staff, as well as numerous business and academic partners. It culminated with the presentation of the UNSW Innovation Awards to some of our staff and students (see below).

There was a third important collaborative venture last week, the launch of the new strategy for the Centre for Social Impact (CSI), with a memorable discussion involving the CEO Kristy Muir and our Chancellor, David Gonski AC. CSI was founded in 2008 as a collaboration involving three universities including UNSW, with support from government, business and individual donors, to promote social responsibility and innovative collaborative solutions to major social challenges.

Most recently, I attended a dinner to mark the UNSW partnership with the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) along with several other community based, not for profit organisations.  The focus of the event was discussion about how UNSW, ACOSS and others can work together to highlight issues of poverty and inequality in our society and to identify actions and solutions.

These four collaborations are just some of the impressive examples of the commitment of the UNSW community to working in partnership for the benefit of all in society. You will be aware of many others – please do let me know about collaborative ventures you are involved with which illustrate the commitment of our community to generosity in partnership.

In late October, early November I joined a UNSW delegation to Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. We had the opportunity to meet with many UNSW alumni, to secure generous philanthropic funding and to progress a range of exciting projects including our Torch partnership. In my travels, I was particularly struck by the warmth of feeling towards Australia and UNSW. This came from our UNSW alumni of course, but also from industry, other Chinese universities, and from government officials. The final event of the trip was a celebration of the 10th anniversary of our Medical Research Institute partner, the George Institute, in China. It was appropriately marked by a lecture in honour of Dr John Yu who was both a previous chairman of the George Institute and a previous Chancellor of UNSW.  

The time in Shanghai and Beijing gave me an opportunity to reflect on the importance of the relationship with China – both UNSW’s relationship and the broader relationship between our two countries. Some of the recent poorly informed and inflammatory commentary is troubling and risks encouraging violence and bigotry. Racist smears on university campus walls, and the recent attacks on Chinese students in Canberra are shocking and have no place in our society.  Our relationship with China brings economic and social benefits to each country and the importance of fostering mutual understanding, cooperation and partnership has never been greater. China is Australia’s biggest export partner and one of the largest economies in the world. UNSW’s long relationship with China over many years has led to a mutual understanding and respect that is now bringing enormous benefits.  Our Torch partnership, which was a significant focus of the trip to China, has already led to over $80 million of business contracts. These contracts provide a platform to commercialise technology in health, energy and environmental protection, with shared financial and social rewards for Australia and China, and for people across the globe. Of course, as in all international partnerships, we take steps to protect our security, intellectual property and individual freedoms. We will always undertake due diligence to ensure that all trade controls are met, and that we align with our own strict standards. Many of the economic developments between China and Australia are built on our relationships with thousands of Chinese students who studied at UNSW over the last 40 years. That was illustrated by the wonderful atmosphere at our alumni event in Beijing which was a highlight of the trip. Our Chinese alumni have a fondness Australia, an understanding of our culture, are proud of their UNSW connection, and are using their UNSW education in a range of important and influential roles in health, academia, management, business, the arts and government.

I have also had the pleasure of attending the first five Faculty Showcases over the last couple of months – one of the highlights of the year.  I am grateful to the staff and students who demonstrated the quality of their work and achievements. The showcases were varied including talks, exhibitions, films, discussions, tours of facilities, a mock medical emergency and, at the end of the Science showcase, a successful Guinness Book of Records attempt, to get 800+ scientists in a group photo. A commitment to delivery of the 2025 Strategy ran through everything we saw, along with a passion to use the opportunities at UNSW to make positive social change on a global scale. It was wonderful to see the Strategy now incorporated in stellar activities across the University.

The showcase events gave me an opportunity to chat with many staff and students. I heard about the sustained effort and commitment needed to deliver the extensive change process required for the 2025 Strategy and saw evidence of this hard work yielding positive results. My thanks to all who have worked so hard to get us to this point. The benefits are beginning to flow and are exemplified by the achievements and successes which follow in this newsletter. One example is our recent success in research funding. During September and October, 134 competitive grants were awarded to UNSW, totaling $102.95 million as well as 79 research contracts with a total value of $10.89 million. Congratulations to our stellar staff who made that possible.

Finally, I can’t really avoid offering grudging congratulations to Australia on victory over England in the Rugby League World Cup and in the first Ashes test. There is still a long way to go before the final Ashes test in Sydney in January. Should be fun!

Best wishes,


Professor Ian Jacobs

President and Vice-Chancellor

UNSW Sydney



On 18 October we held our annual UNSW Town and Gown dinner, attended by 240 guests, to explore the interdependencies between industry and academia, and to recognise the value each brings to the other. The event was hosted by myself and the Chancellor, David Gonski AC, and provided a platform for Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Professor Nick Fisk to introduce the visionary ‘UNSW Futures’ initiative, as part of broader discussion on how collectively we need to shape our future. I also took the opportunity to announce that UNSW has officially named its new interdisciplinary institute focusing on educational access and excellence, the Gonski Institute for Education in honour of UNSW Chancellor, David Gonski AC.

It was a memorable night and showcased the deep relationship the University has with our local community, with industry, business and government and with all of our wonderful partners.  


I was delighted to welcome Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland and his wife, Sabina, to campus in October.    

This was the first State visit by an Irish president to Australia since Mary McAleese’s visit in 1998. President Higgins gave a thought-provoking address asking us to ‘Share the Task of Ethical Remembering – between Ireland and Australia’. President Higgins' lecture covered some of the more uncomfortable aspects of Australian-Irish history and he challenged us to face our colonial past bravely, openly and inclusively - reminding us that 'healing can surely come from the collective act of remembering'.   


Following the Indian Diwali celebrations, UNSW’s Sydney campus was transformed into Little India for our inaugural ‘India Illuminated Festival’ at the end of October.  Showcasing the country’s rich, cultural offerings – we had a bazaar offering Indian treats, henna tattoos, Bollywood flash mobs and yoga workshops. I’m sure many of you saw the magnificent tricolour of the Indian flag lighting up our library tower during the week.  

The festival highlighted the dynamic ‘new India’ with its impressive developments in innovation, finance, scientific research and economic growth.  We showcased our own academic and innovation partnerships in India with networking events, panel sessions, student workshops, a business start-up showcase for student entrepreneurs, and a research masterclass.  During the Gala Dinner, I was particularly struck by the energy in the room and the power of the community we are building to support our ambitious Indian strategy. 


The Pro Vice-Chancellor, International, Laurie Pearcey led a two week delegation to India between 13 and 25 November, focused on building education, student recruitment, research and knowledge exchange links.

The mission was a major part of the development of UNSW’s India Strategy and included Associate Deans International from across Faculties and 25 senior academics, early career researchers, and doctoral researchers working in a range of areas including Global Health, Energy & Environment, Smart Cities and Social Entrepreneurship.

The mission captured meetings, workshops and seminars with a range of partners including the Tata Trusts, Tata Consultancy Services, The Energy & Resources Institute, IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, the LV Prasad Eye Institute, the George Institute for Global Health and a range of incubators and startups located in major science parks across South India. 

A major new agreement was signed between UNSW and the State Government of Maharashtra focused on building capacity in Maharashtra’s education system via PhD scholarships and student exchanges. 

The research and knowledge exchange component of the mission was jointly led by the PVC International and the PVC Research Professor Ana Deletic.


Last week, UNSOMNIA brought together a group of talented UNSW researchers to ask the question: "What needs to change?" Exploring the Grand Challenges that face humanity, and urgent questions that face us as Australians, this thought-provoking evening of talks tackled everything from sex to civility. The evening was hosted by Dr Justine Rogers, a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Law, whose research and teaching looks at professions and professional ethics in a changing world. The talks covered a range of topics, including: Professor Tom Frame on how we can bring civility back into public conversation; Associate Professor Lyria Bennett Moses on how law should respond to technological change; Dr Sarah Walker on the way we think about refugees; Professor Martin Green on reasons to be optimistic about solar energy; and recent UNSW student Solange Cunin, who is transforming STEM education by giving school students access to Space, among many other superb speakers. All of the talks will soon be available online. Some fascinating and fun watching for the holiday break!


Congratulations to Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons who has had the huge honour of being named 2018 NSW Australian of the Year, and is now in the running for the title of Australian of the Year, to be announced in January. Michelle, UNSW Director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology, CQC2T, was awarded the honour at a ceremony in Sydney on 13 November. She is now in the running for the title of Australian of the Year, to be announced on 25 January in Canberra. Michelle was recognised for her work in the "space race of the computing era". She is the leader of a 200-strong team that is working to develop a full-scale quantum ecosystem, including technologies for computing, information storage and communications. They have produced the world’s first single-atom transistor as well as the narrowest conducting wires ever made in silicon, just four atoms of phosphorus wide and one atom high.


Congratulations to UNSW’s Dr Robin Derricourt who has been elected as one of 23 new fellows to the Australian Academy of the Humanities. This is the highest honour for achievement in the humanities in Australia. Dr Derricourt has been recognised for his distinguished scholarship in African archaeology and academic publishing.

The 23 elected Fellows represent the ever-evolving nature of the humanities as a dynamic field of inquiry. They are leaders in their areas of study and come from a range of diverse disciplines including art and ancient history, theatre, literature and literary traditions, media and communications, European languages, religion and politics, Indigenous history and language, Chinese law and cultural politics, archaeology and heritage, linguistics, practical ethics and moral responsibility, and academic publishing. 


Professor Julie Cogin, Director, AGSM and Deputy Dean of the UNSW Business School, has been appointed Dean and Head of Queensland University (QU) Business School. Over the course of her 18-year career at UNSW, Professor Cogin has held a number of senior leadership roles including Head of School (Management), Deputy Dean (Engagement), Associate Dean (Education) and played an influential role on many university level committees, most recently as Director, AGSM and Deputy Dean of the UNSW Business School, 

Julie has led the development and improved performance of the School’s programs and external standing. Over the course of her three-and-a half year tenure, new students into AGSM’s programs have increased by 40%. In the prestigious Financial Times Global MBA rankings, the AGSM Fulltime MBA uplifted by 22 spots and the Online MBA was ranked fourth in the world. Julie has also been active in securing large endowments to the AGSM to be deployed into scholarships and prizes. She was last year named one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence, and recently joined the Board of ASX listed G8 Education. My thanks to Julie for her enormous contribution during her time at UNSW. She will be missed and we wish her all the very best in her new role at UQ.

I am grateful to Professor Clinton Free, for taking on the role of Acting Director of AGSM. An AGSM Fellow, he has received substantial competitive research grants including an ARC Future Fellowship, an ARC Linkage Grant and a major grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in Canada and published widely in prestigious, international academic journals.  Clinton has served on faculties and taught MBA courses at Oxford University and Queen’s School of Business in Canada.  He has also been involved with research training through professional associations such as CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants). Clinton has acted as a consultant and executive educator to a broad range of commercial firms and government bodies across the globe, including Boston Consulting Group, Merck Serono, the Reserve Bank of the UAE, Goldcorp, BMW Canada, and the Red Cross.  Before entering academia, he worked as a solicitor and management consultant at some of Australia’s largest professional service firms. He holds Commerce and Law degrees from UNSW, where he was a University Medallist, and a doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.


In early November, Professor Robyn Richmond from the UNSW School of Public Health led a team of UNSW academic staff (Professor Heather Worth and Dr Terri Foran) and post graduate students to Uganda. The team worked with peers from Gulu University on transforming health provision in the communities surrounding Gulu Town.  The activities of the project comprised undertaking two significant research projects, establishing a consistent and quality service of screening for cervical and breast cancers, capacity building though training and ongoing monitoring of local nurses and teaching of field research skills for both UNSW and Gulu University post graduate public health students. The team were able to survey over 400 participants and screened more than 200 women for instances of cervical and/or breast cancers. The Ugandan Ministry of Health and the District Health services were tremendously excited by the work the two universities were leading. As a result of this partnership two Gulu University Medical Faculty staff members will be undertaking their PhD’s at UNSW under the supervision of Professor Robyn Richmond commencing next year. 


The President & Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Appeal has now drawn to a close. The appeal calls on the support of the UNSW alumni community to raise much needed funds to give disadvantaged students the opportunity to study at UNSW. Since 2009 the appeal has raised over $5M, offered over 100 scholarships to students, 39 of whom have already graduated, and continued to grow the base of support for ASPIRE.

The backbone of the Alumni Appeal is its dedicated student callers, a team of talented current UNSW students who act as ambassadors for UNSW. By reaching out and engaging enthusiastically with alumni, student callers show alumni how they can play a part in helping disadvantaged students achieve their dreams of studying at UNSW.

Many student callers are scholarship recipients themselves, and know first-hand the far-reaching and transformative impact of a scholarship, and the difference that it can make to the chances of successfully completing a degree. This year the Alumni Appeal aims to offer 20 new scholarships to disadvantaged students in 2018.


Nominations for the UNSW Staff Awards, including the People’s Choice Awards, have now officially closed. Over 120 inspiring nominations were received, with representation across Divisions and Faculties, as well as across campuses. Both teams and individuals have been recognised, with 91 individuals and 30 teams put forward for recognition by their colleagues. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to submit a nomination to recognise their peers. Nominees have been posted on the UNSW Staff Awards website and staff have been given the chance to review each nominee’s profile and cast their vote on their favourite nomination. Award recipients will be announced on December 6.


The annual Scientia Circle lunch on Tuesday 17 October was attended by more than 70 guests. Hosted by myself and the Chancellor, the event was held at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre to honour those who have pledged a gift to UNSW Sydney in their Will.

I took the opportunity to update the Scientia Circle members on the 2025 Strategy, and we also held a panel interview of three bequest donors, moderated by the Chancellor and featuring Gaetano Boncardo (UNSW alumnus), Shane Simpson AM (UNSW volunteer) and Professor Mary-Louise McLaws (UNSW staff). It was inspiring to hear the personal stories and motivation behind giving to UNSW through a bequest.  



UNSW Canberra successfully launched its first CubeSat into orbit on 27 November, currently testing the satellite ahead of its full operation next year.

Named Buccaneer, the miniature satellite, developed by Defence Science Technology Group and UNSW, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a Delta-II rocket.

An important milestone for Australia’s space sector, Buccaneer will be used to perform calibration activities for the Jindalee Operational Radar Network, and to predict the orbits of “space junk” and other objects flying over Earth.

Buccaneer’s first mission is to test key technologies in preparation for the main mission in a few years. Over the next few weeks and months the spacecraft will undergo operations to check and commission its systems before undertaking its risk mitigation activities and experiments in early 2018.


A student-designed DNA scaffolding nanostructure that provides new insights into self-assembling biological systems has taken out the grand prize at Harvard University’s annual biomolecular design competition.

The team of UNSW undergraduates, called Capsid Constructors, defeated 22 other teams from around the world in the BIOMOD competition, which was held this year at the University of California San Francisco.

The interdisciplinary team was drawn from the UNSW Faculties of Science, Engineering, Law, and Arts & Social Sciences. The students were mentored by members of the laboratory of Dr Lawrence Lee from UNSW's School of Medical Sciences, including PhD and honours students from the UNSW EMBL Node for Single Molecule Sciences.

This year’s win caps a great record for Australia and UNSW in the BIOMOD competition. An Australian team has competed every year since 2014, winning the Grand Prize in 2014, 2016 and 2017. The team included UNSW students in 2014, and has been made up entirely of UNSW students in the past three years.

The members of Capsid Constructors are Thilina De Silva (Chemical Engineering), Hugh Allison (Chemical Engineering), Jacob Silove (Physics/Law), Madeline Wainwright (Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences/Law), Lucien Alperstein (Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences) and Brian Ee (Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences/Music).

The team investigated the spontaneous construction of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in living systems. They constructed nanoscale scaffolds made from DNA to try to artificially construct the HIV capsid, or protein shell surrounding the virus.

The aim was to learn how the virus and biological systems in general can self-assemble complex, dynamic and robust structures spontaneously, and to potentially create a new platform to screen for anti-HIV therapies.

Capsid Constructors also placed first for their YouTube video, second for their project website and presentation, and third in the audience choice award.


30under30 is an initiative by Anthill Magazine that was launched in early 2008 to encourage entrepreneurship among young Australians. The program provides recognition to 30 outstanding entrepreneurs under the age of 30 for their achievements.

In the 2017 30under30 list, four of the 30 entrepreneurs selected are UNSW student and graduate entrepreneurs who have been supported through programs offered by the Division of Enterprise, including: UNSW FounderLab program graduate, Christina Chun, founder of; Riad Chikhani, founder of GAMURS and a graduate of the Coach & Connect program; and Daniel Liang and Ryan Chen, co-founders of Qnect and also graduates of the Coach & Connect program.

UNSW is proud to be supporting such entrepreneurs and the recognition they are receiving as innovators in the global startup ecosystem.


The Michael Crouch Innovation Centre (MCIC) has been approached by International Grammar School to help kick-start a new technology stream designed to replace the tired TAS unit, (technology and applied studies). They are calling it Digital Innovation High, DI High. Graham Clarkson, Director of ICT & Digital Innovation at IGS is the brains behind the initiative and through MCIC’s introduction will be partnering with Matraville Sports High to run the first pilot program at the MCIC.

On 9 November, 15 students from each school came together to participate in a UNSW SunSprint workshop sponsored by UNSW Engineering and UNSW Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics.

The UNSW SunSprint workshop is a school outreach program designed to introduce children to the magic of solar power. Open to students from Kindergarten to Year 12, SunSprint challenges students to design, build and race their own solar-powered model car or boat. Working to specific design rules and technical standards, participants attain a greater knowledge of solar cells, motors, gears, electricity and the power of the sun, while honing their racing skills to achieve peak performance for their cars.

UNSW will be hosting a gala race day in early December where all workshop participants will be able to race their cars against other students from all over NSW.


Four members of the UNSW Sydney community have been appointed as Sydney Ambassadors, joining a group of influential Australians charged with promoting the city as a premier business events destination.

UNSW Chancellor David Gonski AC, Dean of UNSW Science Professor Emma Johnston, Head of the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering Scientia Professor Nigel Lovell, and Professor Bill Ledger, Senior Vice-Dean of Medicine and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UNSW and Royal Hospital for Women, were among seven new ambassadors revealed at the annual Business Events Sydney (BESydney) Ambassador Dinner in Sydney on 1 November.

UNSW ambassadors appointed previously include Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Professor Ken Maher, Scientia Professor Deo Prassad and myself.

The Business Events Sydney (BES) Ambassadors Program was launched in 2009 to help bring major global events to Sydney across priority sectors including infrastructure, information and communications technology, professional services, medical research and education.


UNSW Engineering student Sam Mitchell is the Australian Geographic Society's 2017 Young Adventurer of the Year after his epic journey along the Canning Stock Route on a solar-powered bike. 

Last year, the UNSW Engineering student became the first person to traverse Australia’s most challenging four-wheel-drive track, the 1850 km Canning Stock Route in Western Australia, on an electric bike powered in part by solar energy.

In recognition of his epic journey, Sam has been named Australian Geographic's 2017 Young Adventurer of the Year. He received his award at a ceremony in Sydney on 1 November.

Sam, who is in his fourth year of a Bachelor of Renewable Energy Engineering, towed a trailer he had made from old trampoline parts on which he mounted solar panels and a battery. The trailer held all the gear he needed for the 50-day expedition.

The Australian Geographic Society Awards are Australia's longest running awards for adventure. Along with conservation awards added in the early 1990s, the AG Awards annually celebrate the best of Australian endeavour.

Watch Sam on his journey here.


A successful bid for a new cooperative research centre (CRC) will put UNSW Engineering at the forefront of Australia’s cyber security future.

The university is a founding member of the newly-announced Cyber Security CRC (CyberCRC), which recently received $50 million in government funding and almost $90 million in cash and in-kind industry contributions to build Australia’s cyber security capabilities. UNSW is expected to receive $11.5 million in funding support over seven years.

Research within the CRC will be divided into two key themes: Critical Infrastructure Protection, which will deliver new solutions to safeguard key infrastructure like energy, water and financial systems; and Cyber Security Solutions as a Service, which is focused on the development of cyber security frameworks that allow business to be conducted in a safe and secure manner.

Within these streams, researchers will work on a range of issues that are critical to the ongoing security of Australia systems and services, including configuration management of the Internet of Things, next generation authentication technologies, data privacy, and blockchain security.

The CyberCRC is comprised of six universities and research institutes, eight industry organisations, and nine government agencies.  Professor Sanjay Jha will lead UNSW’s contribution, which brings together a multi-disciplinary team from across the Faculties of Engineering, Business and UNSW Canberra.

CyberCRC will be formally launched in January 2018.


The first Indigenous-inspired jersey worn by a national rugby team of any code has been designed by Dennis Golding, a UNSW Fine Arts student.

UNSW Art & Design honours student, Dennis Golding, designed Australia’s first Indigenous national rugby jersey worn by the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Test.

The third year Fine Arts student, a Kamilario/Gamilaraay artist, was chosen to design the historic jersey after winning an Australia Rugby Union (ARU) tender in 2015.

The green and gold uniform features an image of a wallaby on the front and shows Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities joining together, with symbols for the 14 Indigenous players who have represented Australia - Cecil Ramalli, Lloyd McDermott, Mark Ella, Glen Ella, Gary Ella, Lloyd Walker, Andrew Walker, Jim Williams, Wendell Sailor, Timana Tahu, Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Beale Hodgson, and Matt Hodgson.

The Indigenous jersey was unveiled by Wallabies player Kurtley Beale in July, but was worn by the players for the first time when Brisbane hosted the final of the Bledisloe Test.

Beale has campaigned the ARU for an Indigenous jersey for years and is now urging the team to wear it annually.


Professor Klaus Regenauer-Lieb, Head of the School of Petroleum Engineering was selected as a finalist in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) US$1M grant "Powering the Future We Want".

His Fiji Geothermal Cities Project (movie link) aims to provide geothermal power for pacific island nations to relieve hunger, disease and poverty in these developing communities. The project has won seed grant support from the UNSW Institute for Global Development amongst a growing portfolio of UNSW development support for the Pacific region.

Professor Regenauer-Liebattended the UN DESA Energy Grant Award Ceremony 2017 and Capacity Development Seminar in New York from 20-23 November. 


The story behind the Yolngu people’s fight for recognition of Indigenous Sea Rights and the Blue Mud Bay Legal Case has been uniquely displayed in a powerful new exhibition featuring the historic collection of Yirrkala Bark Paintings of Sea Country.

The Australian National Maritime Museum showcased Gapu-Monuk Saltwater: Journey to Sea Country -  an acknowledgement of the significant and stunning story about the landmark case and triumphant win. 

Indigenous objects include Mokuy (spirit) carvings and Larrakitj (mortuary pole paintings on hollowed trees) which are combined with interactives, maps and video footage to give visitors an insight into the beliefs, languages and traditions of the communities as well as the unique landscape of north-east Arnhem Land.

Exhibition curators Helen Anu and Beau James from the museum’s Indigenous Programmes Unit have been working closely with the Yolngu community in Arnhem Land to develop the exhibition, which UNSW has proudly sponsored.



My congratulations to all of the staff who were successful in this year’s promotion round.  A total of 195 staff were successful across all grades (62% male and 38% female). I was pleased to note a higher number of women applying for and obtaining promotion at Associate Professor and Professor levels than in previous years as well as an increase in the number of Education Focussed staff applying for and being promoted, particularly at both Level B and Level C. The numbers promoted at each grade were: Level E (Professor) 38; Level D (Associate Professor) 54; Level C (Senior Lecturer) 67; Level B (Lecturer) 36. I am grateful to all of those on the Faculty committees and the University committee who gave time to the rigorous and carefully conducted promotion selection process.


UNSW is offering a large suite of new Equity and Indigenous scholarships, for students commencing study in 2018.Support will include 30 Access Assist scholarships valued at $10,000 pa and 120 Vice-Chancellor’s Equity Scholarships valued at $5,000 pa for duration of program, for full-time students.

Investment of $31.8m has been approved to fully fund the Equity and Indigenous Scholarships Program between 2018 and 2025. This investment will increase total funding for the programs to $49.8m. The immediate release of $4.3m will fund the Equity Scholarship Program for 2018 ($1.4m) and 2019 ($2.9m).


Nura Gili has launched its first PHD program at the UNSW HDR Indigenous Forum. Nura Gili announced that the applications are now open for the new PhD by Research (Indigenous Studies) program. This is the first time in UNSW history that a PhD program will be dedicated to researching Indigenous Australia and is a great opportunity for Nura Gili and UNSW to play an even bigger role in indigenous studies in Australia. 



Creative Cluster: Sydney Culture Network Launches

Leaders from Sydney’s top arts and cultural organisations met on 18 October for the launch of the Sydney Culture Network. This is an initiative driven by UNSW and chaired by professor Ross Harley that will link Sydney’s artistic hubs – galleries, libraries and museums – to boost collaboration and public engagement.

The event, held at the Calyx in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, is the culmination of almost two years of discussions between 24 organisations, including the Art Gallery of NSW, Carriageworks, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) and National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA).

The network – the first of its kind in Australia – aims to bring new cultural offerings to the public, build opportunities for creation, programming, research, data sharing, ways to simplify visitors moving between museums and cultural spaces and to open up collections and archives.

More than 100 people attended the business-to-business event. The alliance will be publicly launched in mid 2018. Read more here.

Big Anxiety Festival wraps up

The Big Anxiety festival 2017 came to a close on 11 November after seven wonderful weeks. The festival culminated in a successful theatre season at Seymour Centre with two well reviewed plays on the topics of PTSD and the mental health and wellbeing of junior doctors and nurses, respectively. On 29 October a panel of Australia’s foremost artists and performers joined the editor of The Lancet Psychiatry at the Art Gallery of NSW to discuss “Is Art Good for Our Mental Health?”. To find answers to this question, check out the Lancet Psychiatry podcast with festival director, Professor Jill Bennett.

On 2 November, Professors Eileen Baldry and Jill Bennett hosted a Big Anxiety breakfast with the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, focused on diversity and LGBTQI mental health. Two of our team of festival volunteers, Marnie Cooper (Fine Arts) and Stefanie Orlick (a psychiatric registrar) spoke eloquently of their experience as Queer women, and of the mental health sector, explaining how the festival itself has "challenged the status quo of healthcare”. Tanya Plibersek also visited the stunning immersive cinema production, Parragirls Past, Present, and spoke passionately about the need to ensure that no abused child is ever again not believed. 

Sculpture by the Sea

UNSW Art & Design graduate Harrie Fasher has won one of Australia’s richest annual prizes for sculptors, the 2017 Helen Lempriere Scholarship. The $30,000 award is presented every year as part of Sculpture by the Sea, and Fasher’s latest installation, The Last Charge, is a key piece in this year’s Bondi to Tamarama sculptural walk.

The Oberon-based artist, one of three winners of the 2017 scholarship, was chosen from the 300 Australian sculptors who applied to exhibit. The purpose of the prize is to allow artists to undertake travel, study and other opportunities to further their artistic development, with winners selected by the exhibition’s curatorial panel.

Five other works by UNSW graduates are part of the public art event, which includes 104 installations across the two-kilometre walk. They include Sally Adair, Karl de Waal, Fiona Kemp, Jeremy Sheehan and Charlie Trivers.

As a significant partner of Sculpture by the Sea, UNSW this year provided a $10,000 subsidy to the UNSW Art & Design graduate artists, presented by the Director Student Life and Community Engagement, Neil Morris, at the exhibition’s opening night.


Arts & Social Sciences presents FASStival on Monday 20 November

As part of the Faculty Showcase, UNSW Arts & Social Sciences presented FASStival – an interactive multi-media exhibition featuring thought-provoking presentations from the Faculty on today’s pressing global issues. Staff at the Showcase engaged with issues as diverse as cyberhate, peacebuilding, political assassinations in Kenya, community engagement in research for Indigenous populations, renewable energy in West Africa, and Chinese social policy and urbanisation. Through their world-leading research, UNSW Arts & Social Sciences enhances understanding of the human condition, addressing and debating global issues. This focus on humanity brings to life UNSW’s 2025 Strategy across a diverse range of disciplines, determining UNSW as Australia’s Global University.

Education experts debate Education & Equality at UNSW Arts & Social Sciences panel discussion

On Monday 30 October, the Education & Equality - Says Who? panel discussion delivered a stimulating and robust discussion on the challenges associated with achieving equality in education. The panel featured the Hon Adrian Piccoli – Professor of Practice, UNSW School of Education and Director, UNSW Gonski Institute for Education, Arts & Social Sciences' alumnus Jihad Dib MP – Shadow Minister for Education, Liliana Mularczyk, OAM – Director of Secondary Education, NSW Department of Education, and Professor Mary O’Kane, AC – NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer.

Facilitated by Alexandra Smith, Education Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, the panel incorporated a lively Audience Q&A with diverse questions around excellence, access and equity in education at a local and international level. This event was part of the UNSW Arts & Social Sciences’ Faculty Showcase.

Australian Social Policy Conference examines issues within local and international social policy

Hosted by SPRC, the 16th Australian Social Policy Conference (ASPC) created a space for deep and critical thinking about some of society's major challenges. Over 300 leading researchers, practitioners and policy makers came together across the three days with a view to influencing debate and practice. Read the highlights.

Global Development Week promotes partnerships for peace-building and development

In partnership with the Institute for Global Development, the Globalisation and Governance Research Network hosted Global Development Week in September, featuring high-profile academics and practitioners in the field. Coordinated by Dr Susanne Schmeidl and Associate Professor Laura Shepherd (from SOSS), this week-long event generated lively and productive discussions as well as valuable insights into peace-building and development. 

The event series was an important step in bringing together Sydney’s nascent peace and development community, establishing partnerships for continuing work, including a one-day symposium in March 2018 aligned with the Rotary International Presidential Peace Conference.

SPRC delivers high-impact policy evaluation training for DRC think-tank in China

The Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) ran its first high-ranking think-tank training on policy evaluation for 29 researchers from the Development Research Centre of the State Council in China (DRC) in September.

Professor Karen FisherAssociate Professor Bruce Bradbury and Professor Ilan Katz gave workshops on research methodology for policy evaluation and consultancies, consulting for the government, and Australian social policy in a comparative context. Warwick Dawson from Torch Innovation Precinct at UNSW gave an opening speech. SHARP hire Associate Professor Bingqin Li is coordinating the program. 

The DRC is the most important think-tank for the State Council (the Cabinet) in China and plays a crucial role in policy-setting in China through its collaborations with leading global public policy schools, international organisations and governments.

Given the DRC’s network and influence, the training provides an efficient way to promote research findings, effect direct policy impact, and establish UNSW’s SPRC as a world-leading social research unit. 

Japanese Speech Contest

UNSW has had continued success in the Japanese Speech Contest, picking up second place at the Australian National Final in October. Following UNSW’s success at the Japanese Speech Contest NSW State Final in September, UNSW's Cassandra (Cathy) Kwok, representing the state of NSW, was awarded the 2nd prize in the Open Beginners Division for her speech, ‘Can you eat spicy food?’. The contest was sponsored by the Embassy of Japan, Japan Airlines and others.

New Strategic Appointments

Professor Tim Rhodes has accepted his SHARP appointment to the Centre for Social Research in Health. Professor Rhodes is a world-leading sociologist in addictions and health. He is currently Professor of Public Health Sociology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine at UCL in London. Read more.

Dr Kari Lancaster will be joining CSRH in November as a Scientia Fellow to work with Professor Rhodes as well as developing her own program of work from the Drug Policy Modelling Project at NDARC.

Dr Zhiming Cheng will also be joining SPRC as a Scientia Fellow with expertise in applied economics, mixed methods research and policy evaluation, interdisciplinary areas of labour, employment, working life, and their relationships with health and subjective wellbeing.

Dr Rebecca Collie will be joining the School of Education as a Scientia Fellow focusing on educational psychology, particularly teachers’ and students’ academic/occupational and personal wellbeing, how this is impacted by contextual characteristics, and the resulting educational and occupational outcomes.

School of the Arts & Media's Inaugural PitchFest proves a resounding success!

With a smashed avo in one hand and a Snapchat filter addiction in the other, UNSW Arts & Social Sciences’ stellar PR & Advertising and Journalism students battled it out in October for the inaugural 2017 SAM PitchFest.

Judges including media rock stars Osher Gunsberg and Annabel Crabb alongside UNSW greats crowned Lucy Karsai for the win with Iain Salvador (SAM) coming in as runner-up. Congratulations to all participants and to Dr Emma A. Jane and SAM for hosting this fantastic event.

Arts & Social Sciences students experience South Korean culture first-hand courtesy of New Colombo Plan

As part of the New Colombo Plan 2017, five UNSW Korean Studies students were placed at partner universities for a semester of study and a one-week field trip to industrial and cultural sites. This was a great opportunity for the students to deepen their understanding of South Korea's cultural, historical and industrial developments.

They visited cultural sites such as the Korea National Museum and the old capital city of one of Korea's kingdoms, historical places such as Independence Hall, and industrial sites such as Samsung Electronics complex, Hyundai Heavy Industries (with the world's largest shipyard) and POSCO (one of the world's largest steel maker, importing 76% of their iron ore from Australia). 


RAISE project win

The RAISE project, a UNSW, QUT and industry initiative has won at theCommittee for Sydney, Smart City Awards on 19 October. The RAISE project won in the industry-led initiative category which saw partners come together to tackle a problem unable to be solved by one entity alone. The Built Environment team were the outright winners in their category for their rapid analytics interactive scenario explorer (RAISE) which was demonstrated at the Faculty Showcase. The project team includes: Professor Chris Pettit and his colleagues, Associate Professor Hoon Han, Ryan van den Nouwelant, Dr. Simone Zarpelon Leao, Vivien Ye Shi, Carmela Ticzon, and Professor Bill Randolph.

Co.Lab at the Australian Technology Park with Landcom (former Urbangrowth)

Professor Chris Pettit and Jonathan Doig from City Futures, Laurence Kimmel and Lisa Zamberlan from Interior Architecture, Associate Professor Hank Haeusler from Computational Design, Dr Lan Ding, Dr Henry Petersen and William Craft from High Performance Architecture, as well as the Landscape Architecture Program and Dr Alessandra Fabbri from the Design Futures Lab presented their research and collaboration with Landcom (former Urbangrowth) at Co.Lab at Australian Technology Park. UNSW Built Environment showcased courses to prospective students, the award-winning RAISE interactive map table, a robotic arm, Cobot Future lab, Urban Pinboard, as well as a range of CRC for Low Carbon Living projects. “UNSW’s exhibitions and showcases at Co.Lab are the best”, said the Landcom organiser. 

The 3RD City - Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture International Conference

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture International Conference, The 3RD City, was held in the middle of October in Sydney. Our UNSW Built Environment Creative Directorate posed the question to the conference: “What is necessary and what is possible for future cities their ecologies, places, people?” Over two days we heard through critical, conscious and considered discourse, speakers questioning -  imperialist and neo-liberalist paradigms, the absence of Indigenous narrative and urban transformation dislocated from natural systems.

There were significant contributions to the conference from the UNSW Built Environment team, including: Professor James Weirick’s compelling introduction to the geography of Sydney; Professor Rob Freestone, who cautioned us against adopting imported urban paradigms, such as the aerotroplis and accepted orthodoxies with a clear end state in mind; and Dr Libby Gallagher presented the energy benefits of her street tree research and approach to collaborative consultation. The UNSW creative directorate team included Professor Helen Lochhead, Mark Tyrell, Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard, Mike Harris, Catherine Evans and Saneia Norton who put in an extraordinary amount of work curating this event to ensure it was both provocative and engaging. 


Business School Showcase on Friday 10 November

The Business Faculty Showcase, held on 10 November, started with an engaging alumni breakfast event at Westpac Barangaroo and a panel discussion on the Business of Wellbeing. Back on campus, further activities included a special public debate with two interactive panel discussions on Indigenous Education, and Contemporary Issues in Higher Education. The forum was followed by Professor Jenny Buchan’s inaugural professorial lecture where she talked about her research on international franchising.

Click-on mentoring program

The Business School’s senior executive team visited Condobolin, near Parkes in north-west NSW, to wrap up the latest ASPIRE “Click-on mentoring program”. Dean Professor Chris Styles, shared his own mentoring experience with Year 9 students from ASPIRE’s regional partner schools: Ungarie Central School, and Condobolin High School – just two of the 54 schools in the program.

Business of the Future

China’s HNA Group recently sent more than 70 of its executives from Haikou Meilan International Airport to Sydney for a 10-day “Business of the Future” leadership program – a collaboration between AGSM and the UNSW School of Aviation. The program aimed to give HNA’s China-based executives greater knowledge and skills in global aviation theory and practice, and help them develop a better understanding of leadership styles and business operations in Western cultures. Two groups took part in the program, which was based at the AGSM Building in UNSW’s Kensington campus.

Indigenous Business Education Program

Indigenous students and graduates were invited to attend the inaugural AFOA Canada International Conference last month as part of an Australian delegation. Indigenous Business Education Program Manager Rebecca Harcourt and alumni spoke on the challenges and opportunities within the intersectionality of Indigenous culture(s) education and business; and innovative approaches to Indigenous Business education, leadership and entrepreneurship. 

The Pelvic Expert

A husband and wife team who designed an online program to improve pelvic health have won the 2017 Peter Farrell Cup. The $15,000 prize was awarded to The Pelvic Expert founders UNSW MBA student, Nabeil Allam, and his wife Heba Shaheed (a physiotherapist). The Cup celebrates entrepreneurial students, giving them practical skills, industry mentors – and, for the lucky few, prize money to make their dreams of innovation a reality by kick-starting their business ideas.

Marketing in Asia Speaker Series

The annual Marketing in Asia Speaker Series on 19 October featured Riny Novitriyanti, who doubled Telkomsel's predicted digital app downloads in 2016. She outlined her business strategy for that amazing feat during a presentation for staff, students, alumni and industry guests. The Marketing in Asia Speaker Series is organised by the School of Marketing’s Professor Paul Patterson.


Engineering Showcase on Monday 13 November

The Engineering festival provided a great opportunity to showcase the faculty in action and the hands on nature of engineering. Leading researchers and students came together to demonstrate student centred projects and initiatives. A range of researchers, students and leaders across the faculty gave talks about their work and their experiences in the faculty and covered issues as wide ranging as the student experience, women in engineering, and engineering for social impact. The showcase finished with the inspiring Ada Lovelace Medal and Oration event with the oration delivered by Professor Mary O’Kane, NSW’s Chief Scientist and Engineer.     

Myanmar Engineering Council – First Engineering Accreditation At Mandalay Technological University (Mtu), Myanmar

The President of the Myanmar Engineering Council (MEngC), Dr Charlie Than, invited Professor Eliathamby Ambikairajah, Head of School, Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, and Dr Ray Eaton, Associate Dean, Education, Faculty of Engineering, to observe and advise on the first accreditation of Engineering program at MTU. Professor Ambikairajah has been supporting and assisting the MEngC in how to undertake accreditation for the past two years, including running many workshops for more than fifty accreditation evaluators. This initiative has been fully supported by Professor Mark Hoffman, the Dean of Engineering as part of the UNSW 2025 Strategy under Global Development.

Professor Ambikairajah and Dr Eaton spent four days in Mandalay from 29 October - 1 November, observing twenty MEngC accreditation evaluators, guiding them throughout the accreditation process, giving continual feedback on their process, as well as providing constructive feedback to MTU on their Engineering programs. Also in attendance, and observing the accreditation, were three past Ministers of Myanmar parliament. The visit was very successful and our presence and feedback has been valuable in building confidence among the evaluators for future accreditation visits. Detailed reports were provided to the MEngC regarding improvement for future quality control of the accreditation process.

Dr Charlie Than was very appreciative of the input provided by UNSW staff, and acknowledged that this input was critical to achieve the quality required for this accreditation.

This follows UNSW Engineering similarly assisting with the first ever accreditation visit to Yangon Technological University in 2015. Myanmar’s engineers and universities are slowly re-engaging with the global community, as the country undergoes many rapid changes.  Working with them to develop its engineering education is an ongoing project.   

INGENUITY magazine

The Quantum Gamble”, the cover story in UNSW Engineering's new research magazine, INGENUITY, has just won Single Article of the Year at the 2017 Publish Awards. The magazine itself was also a finalist for Launch of the Year. Find out more information on the magazine here.


The Sunswift Solar Racing Team was forced to withdraw from the World Solar Challenge in October after a rear suspension failure with its new car,  Sunswift Violet, a sleek four-seat sedan designed and built by engineering students at UNSW. More news of the withdrawal here.

The Maker Games

The Maker Games, a rapid prototyping competition which began in July, culminated with the finals in mid-October. Almost 1,000 students signed up to develop ideas for our industry partners, and 86 students in 17 teams battled it out in the finals for the $25,000 prize of all-expenses-paid trip to Silicon Valley. For more information on the winner see here.

Off-Earth Mining Forum

The 3rd Off-Earth Mining Forum was held at UNSW, bringing international space experts and entrepreneurs to campus to discuss the new age of space commerce, including  low-cost space platforms and the mining of asteroids, the Moon and other planets. Topics included upcoming space missions, designs for space resource extraction, mining technologies, robotics, automation, instrumentation, legal impediments, business risks and ethical considerations. There were more than 300 attendants, including NASA astronauts, entrepreneurs, technologists and researchers from around the world. It was jointly organised by UNSW’s School of Mining Engineering and UNSW’s ACSER (Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research, whose engineers  built Australia’s first satellite in 15 years). Mining Engineering’s Associate Professor Serkan Saydam was interviewed on BBC TV about the meeting, and ACSER’s Professor Andrew Dempster appeared across radio, TV and print and online talking about the forum and space commercialisation in general.

New Fellows for 2017

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering has elected 25 new fellows, including UNSW’s Professor Laura Poole-Warren, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research Training.

Professor Laura Poole-Warren has made outstanding, sustained contributions to the field of biomedical engineering, both nationally and internationally, for more than 25 years. She is an exceptional innovator, mentor and role model for young researchers in science and engineering and holds a string of senior appointments and influential roles. She is on the Board of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, serves on the IFMBE Women in Biomedical Engineering Committee and serves on the Executive Committee of the International College of Fellows Biomaterials Science and Engineering, the ICF-BSE. Laura has also played a key role in development of our Scientia Fellowship and PhD Studentship schemes.

The new Fellows include nine women – meeting the Academy’s target of electing one-third of its new Fellows from female candidates. The Academy has additionally elected a Foreign Fellow, Dr Ya-Qin Zhang, a world-renowned scientist and innovation leader in digital video and internet technology. 


UNSW Law students use technology to provide greater access to justice

An app providing information about fines has been named the winner of a showcase featuring students of UNSW Law's new course using state-of-the-art legal technology. 

The winning team of Jelena Ardelic, Clare Cullen, Jessica Liang and Leon Louie created an app to help the University’s Kingsford Legal Centre support its clients. The app can quickly and easily provide those working in a community legal centre with legal information about the payment of parking and other fines.

The students were among the first cohort in the Faculty’s “Designing Technology Solutions for Access to Justice” course.

Thanks to sponsorship from law firm Gilbert + Tobin, and using software created by Neota Logic Inc., UNSW Law designed the new course to provide its students with practical experience in using state-of-the-art legal technology.  The course, modelled on a program developed in the US by Georgetown University Law School and Neota Logic, involves students working with a variety of not-for-profit centres to build apps that deliver access to justice.

Participating not-for-profits include the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, Australian Pro Bono Centre, Kingsford Legal Centre and the Diplomacy Training Program.

UNSW Law graduation in Yagon, Myanmar receives national coverage

On 29 August, UNSW Law hosted the graduation ceremony in Yangon for 36 lawyers who completed the UNSW/ADB Professional Legal Education in Commercial and Corporate Law Training Program. The ceremony in Yangon recently featured on national television in Myanmar (MiTV). 


Medicine Faculty Showcase on Friday 17 November

The UNSW Medicine faculty was organised around a tour which the Faculty’s partners presented in three parts – a visit to Liverpool Hospital and the UNSW Clinical school located within called the Ingham Clinical Skills & Simulation Centre; then onto the George Institute for Global Health; and back to UNSW Kensington campus for the 6th year medical students’ awards ceremony. Upon arrival at Liverpool Hospital, guests visited the Molecular Science Cyclotron Facility, a state-of-the-art facility comprising of latest cyclotron technology and radiopharmaceutical production laboratories. Next up was a tour of the impressive teaching facilities, including a $2.1 million microscopy facility – a partnership between NSW Health, UNSW Sydney and the Cancer Institute NSW - then onto a scenario based medical exercise with 6th year students in the Simulation Centre. Students were put on the spot to put their education and training into practice in an unplanned medical situation with actors. The showcase bus then headed to the George Institute for Global Health in Newtown. Desk presentations were given by senior clinical research associates followed by a series of presentations on current projects and activities at the George.  Guests returned to UNSW Kensington campus to close out the showcase with the Annual Year 6 Medical Students Awards and moving recital of the Hippocratic oath, followed by a special farewell celebration.

The Health-Science Alliance (HSA) Symposium

The Health-Science Alliance (HSA) Symposium was held on Friday 20 October, convened by Professor Bill Ledger, Senior Vice-Dean, Clinical Affairs at UNSW Medicine. Over 150 delegates from both academic and health sectors spend a day discussing “The Future of the Clinical Academic”. A feature of the day was the sense of collaboration and improved communication between the various parties represented. The symposium explored the future of the relationship between academic medical sciences and clinical practice as encapsulated in the role of the clinical academic, who has to work within both systems and hit the various and increasingly more complex targets defined as necessary requirements by both health and academic employers.

There has been much positive feedback following the day, and a number of senior representatives from the various institutions represented have agreed to sign a communique derived from the concepts explored at the symposium to endorse their commitment to the future of clinical academic medicine at UNSW and within the Sydney Healthcare system.

It is hoped that the legacy of the meeting will be seen as a further step to harmonise the plans and aspirations of the Health Districts, and academic institutions to facilitate collaboration to improve the academic output and hence quality of patient care across Sydney, New South Wales and Australia.

A Changing Funding Landscape

On 13 September, UNSW Medicine and the Division of Research held the first of a seminar series to inform all UNSW researchers about the changing landscape of acquiring research funding. Entitled “Shifting Landscapes in Medical Research Funding – recent policy developments”,  the workshop aimed to inform and encourage researchers to start planning their research strategies in light of the NHMRC restructure, MRFF introduction and changes to HERDC funding that extend its focus to industry and end user funding. Professors Nicholas Fisk (DVCR), Anthony Kelleher (Acting Dean of Medicine), Phoebe Phillips (NHMRC Structural Review Expert Advisory Group), Louisa Jorm (CBDRH), Chris Levi (Executive Director SPHERE) and Michael Farrell (NDARC) as well as Warwick Dawson (Director RSPO)  discussed the changes and opportunities and what they mean for research at UNSW into the future. Approximately 300 researchers attended the event, with a further 200 watching online.

Presentations from the event are available to UNSW staff online.

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science (AAHMS welcomed 49 new Fellows from around Australia with 6 from UNSW, including Professor Louisa Degenhardt (NDARC) researches illicit drug use and its health effects. She has shaped policy at a global level via advice to WHO, UNAIDS, and UNODC; Professor Andrew Lloyd AM (Kirby Institute) is a distinguished infectious diseases physician‐scientist. He has made major contributions to clinical practice in hepatitis C infection, particularly amongst the prisoner population; Professor Lisa Maher AM (Kirby Institute) is a renowned public health scientist who applies both epidemiological and anthropological approaches to important public health problems ‐ in particular hepatitis C virus infection – including leading the first ever HCV vaccine preparedness study; Professor Glenn Marshall AM (Children’s Cancer Institute, Sydney Children’s Hospital) is a renowned clinician and researcher in the field of paediatric oncology, having made breakthrough discoveries in both childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and neuroblastoma; Scientia Professor Philip Mitchell (UNSW School of Psychiatry) is an international authority in the fields of bipolar disorder and depression, with his major achievements spanning the breadth of genetics, phenomenology, treatment and epidemiology of these conditions; and Scientia Professor Gordon Parker AO (UNSW School of Psychiatry) has received international recognition for his pioneering work in psychopathology, in particular research models to differentiate principal mood disorders (melancholia and bipolar II disorder) with diagnostic precision.


Science Faculty Showcase on Monday 27 November

As part of the Science Faculty Showcase, UNSW Science held a fun attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as scientists. More than 900 people took part, which could be enough to break the record, with the event also aiming to break a stereotype about scientists, and show they are a diverse group.

The Faculty Showcase also included an interactive tour of the newly constructed $125 million Biosciences Building. Professor Martin Van Kranendonk from the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES) led guests through some of the state-of-the-art teaching labs, and presented on the achievements of the BEES School over the past year, along with insightful presentations from researchers. Professor Andrew Brown from the School of Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences then took guests through the new state-of-the-art molecular biology laboratory and its leading-edge technology, and onto the new PC2 certified research laboratory. 

Dean of Science Professor Emma Johnston then provided an overview of the Science faculty’s achievements for 2017 and launched the new Science Strategic Plan under the auspices of the UNSW 2025 Strategy. The showcase program continued with a series of researcher talks from each of the nine schools in Science, providing a brief snapshot on key research projects.

Dean Of Science Hosts Catalyst Episode

In a major contribution to thought leadership, Dean of Science, Professor Emma Johnston, hosted an episode of the Catalyst program on ABC TV called “Can We Save the Reef”, about the threat that climate change poses to this great natural wonder. As a leading marine biologist, keen diver, and board member of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Emma is passionate about finding ways to prevent its destruction. For the program, she highlighted new approaches being undertaken by scientists around the world to try and save it, including breeding corals and algae that can withstand higher temperatures. Emma also wrote an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald saying scientists are angry their predictions of widespread bleaching have largely been ignored. “The only good news is that when scientists get angry, we get active,” she said.

Launch Of The Best Australian Science Writing 2017

I was pleased to attend the award event for the $7000 Bragg UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing to space archaeologist Dr Alice Gorman for her essay on Woomera and the Nullabor Plain, which explored the space race, climate change, nuclear war, Indigenous repression and early fossil life. The essay is included in “The Best Australian Science Writing 2017”, which waslaunched by acclaimed science writer and artist Margaret Wertheim at a very enjoyable special event at the Australian Museum, hosted by UNSW Science and UNSW Press. Margaret was also awarded the 2017 UNSW Scientia Medal for Science Communication by UNSW's Dean of Science, Professor Emma Johnston, who thanked Margaret for “her vital contribution to a better-informed society”. “The Best Australian Science Writing” anthology is an important component of UNSW’s 2025 Strategy and Grand Challenges initiative, which aims to place the University at the forefront of debate on the greatest issues facing humanity and help bring about a just, informed, tolerant and progressive society.

Dirac Medal For The Advancement Of Theoretical Physics

World-renowned expert in theoretical condensed matter physics, Professor Boris Altschuler of  Columbia University, received the 2017 Dirac Medal and gave the Dirac lecture at an event at UNSW hosted by UNSW Science, the Royal Society of NSW and the Australian Institute of Physics NSW Branch. The Medal and Lecture commemorate the visit to UNSW in 1975 by the British Nobel laurate Professor Paul Dirac, who was one of the greatest theoretical physicists of the 20th Century. Professor Altschuler’s scientific interests focus on a theoretical understanding of material where electron-electron correlations, or interactions, are important.  “This work provides fundamental insights into the physical properties of materials and is essential for the design and development of new ones,” said UNSW Dean of Science Professor Emma Johnston when presenting the award.

L’oréal-Unesco Girls In Science Forum

More than 280 female high school students from 33 different schools across Sydney attended a special forum on campus where they heard from the five newly announced L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Australia & New Zealand Fellows. At this inspiring and popular event, the five female scientists from around the country and New Zealand shared their career stories with the girls. The students then undertook a range of activities organised by the Faculty of Science as part of its commitment to encourage more girls to study science

NSW Premier’s Prizes

For their work in childhood cancer, oceanography, solar cell technology and birth defects, UNSW researchers have won prestigious NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science and Engineering. The annual prizes, awarded in nine categories, reward leading researchers, innovators and educators for cutting-edge work that has led to economic, environmental, health, social or technological benefits for New South Wales.  Scientia Professor Trevor McDougall from UNSW Science, Professor Maria Kavallaris from UNSW Medicine and the Children’s Cancer Institute, Dr Brett Hallam from UNSW Engineering, and Professor Sally Dunwoodie, of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and UNSW Medicine,  were presented with their awards by Premier Gladys Berejiklian at a ceremony at Government House.

World-Leading Dementia Scientist To Join Unsw And NeuRA

Welcome to Professor Kaarin Anstey who will join UNSW Sydney and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) to lead an innovative multi-disciplinary team addressing ageing research, with a focus on vital community lifestyle solutions around dementia in the Australian community.  Professor Anstey will take up a Chair in the School of Psychology, Faculty of Science, and a position of NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at NeuRA. She will begin her new position in January 2018, based at NeuRA in Randwick. This landmark joint appointment between UNSW and NeuRA has been facilitated by strategic recruitment programs: UNSW's SHARP (Strategic Hires and Retention Program) and the NeuRA Discovery Fund. “Professor Anstey brings a unique breadth of research expertise applied to real world problems. Ranging from dementia risk reduction programs through to helping to define the parameters required for safe driving in older Australians, her ability to provide intellectual leadership is critical for our success,” said UNSW Dean of Science Professor Emma Johnston.



The University is committed to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion in education, employment and research. This afternoon I look forward to joining Professor Eileen Baldry, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Inclusion and Diversity and Edward Bartolo, Student Representative and Chair of the Arc Board, to launch UNSW’s EDI policy.

UNSW’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is underpinned by a range of policies and processes that foster a fair and respectful culture and support equal opportunity for all staff and students. The dates for the consultation period for the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure will also be announced at the event. If you would like to join us for the launch you can register to attend the event here.


UNSW is partnering with Woollahra Council in an exciting new community engagement initiative called The Woollahra School of Philosophy. This will be a regular Q&A style public community event featuring a panel of expert speakers drawn from UNSW staff and students, focusing on issues of importance for the local community.   Created to be an inclusive and accessible forum for diverse voices, this project seeks to build public discussion at the local level. 

Panellists will be sought from within the local community as well as academic institutions. After presentations by the panellist/s, the forum is thrown open to the floor for discussion and Q&A, inviting a lively interchange between speakers and audience.

The launch event was held on Thursday 16 November in the Woollahra Library. Panellists included Professor Jeremy Moss, School of Humanities and Languages. 

For more information, or to book visit or call 9391 7166.


In September MCIC in collaboration with UNSW's School of Chemical Engineering ran a four-day hack seeking to develop tangible and sustainable solutions to the problem of water quality in the developing world.

Based on technology developed by PhD researchers in the UNSW Chemical Engineering faculty around a mobile desalination system to achieve sustainable potable water in rural communities in the developing world, where the consumption of groundwater is leading to high levels of renal failure and morbidity.

Based on this technology cross-disciplinary student teams over the four days explored solutions to develop new sustainable social enterprises and engineering solutions that create income for the poor and deliver essential products and services which will eradicate many easily preventable diseases.

Teams worked on designing and developing solutions to be installed as a mobile filtration bladder within a commonly owned transport vehicle, while at the same time developing a sustainable social enterprise that would mean this project lived on well into the future and had real world impact.

Team Impact Engineers were judged the winners by a panel of expert judges in the Global Water Hack. The hack brought together students from Engineering, Business and Arts & Social Sciences.

The winning team will now have the opportunity to work on the project with lead researchers as this project is implemented as a prototype in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and also the case-study area of Gujarat, India.


The future of polymers in cancer drug delivery and the global shift in how we use the internet were the subjects of the latest 2017 UNSW Professorial Inaugural Lectures.

Ten newly promoted and recruited professors took part in last month’s lectures to mark their achievement, extend topics being taught in courses and showcase their specialist knowledge to colleagues, students, alumni, staff and the public.

This year new professors from UNSW faculties including Science, Engineering, Business, Art & Design and Medicine presented on topics such as forensic psychology, genetics, franchising and the future of ophthalmology. All lectures were free.


An impressive list of students, including a record 28 indigenous students, were celebrated at the 5th annual UNSW Indigenous Awards presentation night.

Ten undergraduate students received an Excellence Award for academic merit and 11 undergraduate students received a Spirit Award, in recognition of persistence, resilience, academic growth and attitude.

Two were awarded the Rising Star Award, and two were presented with the Aurora High Achiever Awards. Other awards included the Shalom College Spirit Award, the UNSW Colleges Award and private donor awards.

This year eight Indigenous doctors graduated from UNSW Medicine, matching the 2015 record, with two receiving Excellence and Spirit awards.

A record five mature age students were recognised at the Awards, from faculties including Art & Design, Science, and Arts & Social Sciences.

It was also the first time the Scott Parlett Encouragement Award was presented, established to celebrate the ongoing success of Indigenous students at UNSW. It was awarded to exercise physiology student Murrie Kemp who was honoured for significant contributions to the University and Nura Gili communities.

There are currently 366 Indigenous students enrolled at UNSW. The UNSW Indigenous Awards began in 2012 with the goal to support and inspire Indigenous students and the contribution they make to the UNSW community.


To help staff and students who are affected by sexual misconduct, UNSW has appointed a number of First Responders. The first handful of First Responders have completed all the requisite training and their information is available online. 

First Responders are staff and students of UNSW who have been trained in acting as first responders to help staff or students who are affected by sexual misconduct to navigate support services and reporting options. First Responders understand that reporting sexual misconduct can be difficult. They are not counsellors but they are trained to provide an appropriate initial response to your concerns and guide you to the right services. For support, please visit


UNSW’s new Division of External Relations is forging a new partnership with Globelynx (a subsidiary of the UK press association) to provide a better platform for UNSW academics to access media opportunities across the globe. Globelynx helps broadcasters, such as BBC, Sky, Bloomberg and CNN, connect easily with live ‘experts’ from a variety of sectors. Globelynx maintains and markets a directory of experts and provides technical equipment for partners’ offices to facilitate live broadcasts. Globelynx is directly connected to all major global broadcasters via fibre hubs and satellites, delivering thousands of broadcasts every year. UNSW will be the first Australian institution to gain access to the network and will help to profile UNSW and UNSW experts globally.  


UNSW’s Unisearch has sponsored the 2017 Australian Young Lawyer’s National Conference and National Golden Gavel Awards. The day was action-packed with a series of esteemed and engaging speakers. Dr Kristy Martire, Senior Lecturer UNSW, delivered an interesting review on the disconnection between legal and scientific definitions of expertise in the context of forensic science expert evidence.  Click here to view the event line up.

Unisearch Expert Opinion Services is Australia’s leading provider of expert opinion services and expert witnesses and you can read the latest Expert Opinion Intel from Unisearch here. This informative publication contains news and analysis for practitioners and Experts to stay abreast of recent developments about the use of expert evidence in legal proceedings. It also profiles selected experts who provide unique technical insights regarding their discipline.


Congratulations to Russian-born Galina Lazareva from UNSW School of Women and Children’s Health who has won the Grand Prix of the 15th ‘Pushkin in Britain’ International Festival of Russian Poetry, an annual competition open to Russian-speaking poets residing abroad. The competition took place in London on 18-22 October 2017.

Galina is currently Executive Assistant to Professor Bill Ledger, Senior Vice Dean of Medicine and Head of the Discipline of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. She won all four main prizes associated with the Festival, including one for the slam performance in Cambridge hosted by the Cambridge University Russian Society and judged by Russian-speaking students. Named after Alexander Pushkin, Russia’s most beloved and cherished poet, ‘Pushkin in Britain’ has evolved since 2003 into the world’s largest forum for Russian overseas poets, attracting hundreds of participants every year.

Contestants are required to submit nine poems of their choice and one written specially for the festival beginning with a line from Pushkin’s poetry selected by the organisers. Along with receiving a bronze statuette of Pushkin, as this year’s winner Galina will be attending the largest literary forum in the word - the Jaipur Literary Festival in India, in January 2018 - to recite her poetry and talk about the traditions of Russian literature and modern tendencies in poetry.

Galina is also an internationally recognised poetry translator, a winner of several major poetry translation awards and an author of “Eternity Can Wait” (2010), a book of translations from the Australian poet A.D.Hope.


New food waste bins have made it to UNSW's Kensington campus. This new initiative was encouraged by the UNSW Environment Collective, championed by Breana Macpherson-Rice and supported by UNSW Sydney. 

I would encourage people to use these bins and remember that they are for food waste only and includes meats, dairy, fruit and vegetables.

The bins are NOT for coffee cups, plastics or cans.

The UNSW Environment Collective will be conducting audits of the bins to determine whether they are being used correctly.