PR and Media

Nanoscience Facility is a $150M Investment in Australian Ingenuity

Recently the University of Sydney officially opened the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

Nadia Levin is CEO of Research Australia, the peak group representing 160 members advocating for health and medical research in Australia. In response to requests for comment, she said:

“In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore correctly predicted exponential growth in computing technology, with computer power to double in capacity, and halve in price, every two years.

“Common computers since that time have gone from the size of houses to rooms to watches and beyond, and their capabilities today are at levels considered sci-fi even at the turn of this century.

“So we know three things that are relevant here.

“We know that nanotechnology is the next logical step on a path outlined, and trend identified, more than half a century ago.

“Even in these early years, we know that the implications of, and applications for, nanotechnology in the health and medical research sector are nothing less than revolutionary.

“And, we know that Australia can either choose to dedicate resources to being part of the emerging nanotechnology field, and to invest in the opportunities that go along with that, or not.

“The $150 million Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology includes facilities for start-ups, industry and the public, and demonstrates Australia is choosing the path of technology participation.

“This will no doubt set the University of Sydney, the Australian health and medical research industry, and Australia, up for the future.

“It will bring together University of Sydney ingenuity, Federal Government investment, industry and start-ups, all of which are critical parts of the applied research ecosystem.

“The establishment of this facility will be an event we look back on in not too many years, and we will point to as the engine that drove new research, industry and innovations that improve lives.”

Image: Courtesy of the University of Sydney’s Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.

Federal Budget a Combination of Treatments, Placebos and Nocebos for Health and Medical Research

Research Australia, which represents 160 health and medical research organisations, has described last night’s budget as mixed bag – with some wins, some losses and some more detail required. 

“The Federal Government is making all of the right noises when it comes to innovation, health and research, and it is pleasing that they remain on the agenda,” said CEO Nadia Levin. 

“The budget would be described by my members as a combination of ‘treatments, placebos and nocebos’, and the challenge for government is to back it up with funding.”

Medical Research Future Fund: continued commitment but changed funding levels and timetable

The Government is now anticipating meeting its $20 billion target for the fund in 2020/21, compared to the 2019/20 timeframe outlined in the 2014 budget.

Further, funding in the 2015/16 financial year has been reduced to $0 from $10 million, though it has been increased to a projected $61 million in 2016/17, compared to $53 million last budget.

“The sector will be encouraged by continued commitment to the fund, but disappointed about changes to short term funding and the medium term implementation timetable,” said Ms Levin.

“Every year it is delayed is another year that promising research projects, with potential for new discoveries that saves lives and improve quality of lives, are unfunded and unrealised.

“To keep this in perspective, we are only talking about a $20.5 million shortfall over four years – but a $20 billion program being delivered over, now, six years.

“While there is no doubt that is linked, at least in part, to issues with implementation of the funding measures, it does highlight that we need to keep the pressure on government to deliver.

“When it is fully implemented, the Medical Research Future Fund will deliver around $1 billion a year for new therapies, treatments, drugs and devices that will directly benefit Australians.

Biomedical Translation Fund: an exciting concept we look forward to discussing with government

“Our organisation and members are excited about the prospect of the Biomedical Translation Fund, and look forward to discussing it with government, and seeing the detail released.

“In particular, a key focus of Research Australia is the translation of work in laboratories into results for Australians, and we hope that the fund will provide a vehicle for furthering this.

Australian Research Council funding for Discovery and Linkage Programs: down, not out

The budget for the ARC Discovery Program is down $45.3 million over the three years 2016/17 – 2018/19, compared to last year’s budget.

This program delivers funding for fundamental or pure research – to develop the scientific knowledge that forms the building blocks of applied science.

“The Discovery Program is the equivalent of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for non-medical researchers, but has high relevance to our members,” said Ms Levin.

“Disciplines as diverse as biomedical engineering, psychology, and biology benefit from this programme, which are all important parts of the health and medical research ecosystem.

“While significant funding does remain, I would encourage the government to review this in due course.” 

The budget for the ARC Linkage Program is down $25.9 million from this year, and down $7.8 million over the three years 2016/17 – 18/19, compared to last year’s budget forecast.

The Linkage Program brings together universities and industry, and was singled out in the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) as an important component of Australia’s innovation system.

“Medical research cannot be viewed in isolation, and the achievements and outputs that come from this fund can benefit us all,” said Ms Levin.

“While it was announced that from 1 July 2016 the programme would be open to continuous applications and decision making would be fast tracked, there is no additional funding for it.”

For a copy of Research Australia’s full Budget Policy Alert, go to http://researchaustralia.org

Full copies of the budget papers are available at www.budget.gov.au

Exceeding Expectations: Congratulations Redlands House Cremorne

Redlands House Cremorne Preschool isn’t just celebrating the summer holidays this year, they are also celebrating having achieved the maximum possible rating on their recent ACECQA inspection.

ACECQA, the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority assessed Redlands House Cremorne, and judged it to be deserving of Exceeding Quality Standard for every Standard of the seven Quality Areas and additionally, for every one of the 18 sub-categories.

Redlands Principal, Dr Peter Lennox, congratulated the staff for their achievement in providing an exceptional preschool education and learning environment.

“This is a splendid testimony to the staff’s professional practice and hard work and preparation for this searching external assessment,” said Dr Lennox.

“It is an outstanding achievement and I especially thank Mrs Alexandra Harper, Miss Belinda Oxley and Mrs Deborah Thomas for their guidance and leadership in this process.

“Last year our other preschool, Redlands House North Harbour, also received a perfect ranking, so the entire Redlands community is thrilled that our exceptional staff at Redlands House Cremorne have been acknowledged for the exceptional work they do.”

Located in a renovated historic building formerly known as The Old Hall in Allister St, Redlands House Cremorne is a state-of-the-art centre that blends traditional architecture with purpose-built facilities.

Mrs Alexandra Harper, Head of Early Childhood, said Redlands House Preschools foster children’s natural curiosity andthirst for knowledge by supporting and encouraging them to ask questions and engage in the world around them.

“At Redlands House Preschools we pride ourselves on our shared enthusiasm for learning, and the areas assessed really are the ones we focus on delivering for the child and their family,” said Mrs Harper.

“We build our programs around the children’s innate wonder and curiosity about the world they live in, in order to fully prepare them for school and for the future.

“These are the building blocks for lifelong learning, and to have had that reaffirmed by National Quality Framework is wonderful.”

The seven areas assessed include educational program and practice; children’s health and safety; physical environment; staffing arrangements; relationships with children; collaborative partnerships with families and communities; and leadership and service management.

Redlands House Cremorne is one of two Redlands Pre-Schools for children aged 3 to 5 years of age. The other is located at Balgowlah, on the foreshores of North Harbour reserve.

APA’s Michael Gleeson on The Drum

The Drum Thursday December 3

Host: John Barron Panel: Stephen O’Doherty, Michael Gleeson and Kate Mills. Interview with Prof. Joe Siracusa.

The panel discusses: US gun control laws; the UK’s military campaign in Syria and the end of the Parliamentary sitting year including Ian Macfarlane’s defection.


Central Barangaroo

Back On Track

Developers will be lining up for the new tender to construct the Barangaroo Central area of the $6 billion precinct, which was put back on the table on Thursday by the NSW premier Mike Baird.

The first tender for the 5.2 hectare site was aborted in June when the NSW government revealed it was to construct a new metro station in the area to cater for expected 28,000 visitors a day, being office workers, tourists and residents.

In announcing the new tender process, Mr Baird said the inclusion of a Sydney Metro station demands a bold design: “We are inviting the world’s best to deliver a project of global significance for Sydney.”

Other articles about Central Barangaroo

Inaugural ANSTO Awards in Nuclear Science and Technology

Photo: From left to right – Craig Kelly, Michael Saleh, David Cohen, Warwick Payten, Mayor Cr Pesce and Adi Paterson

Photo: From left to right – Craig Kelly, Michael Saleh, David Cohen, Warwick Payten, Mayor Cr Pesce and Adi Paterson

The inaugural ANSTO Awards in Nuclear Science and Technology were presented last week to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding contributions of some of Australia’s leading researchers who work at ANSTO.

ANSTO is one of Australia’s leading public research organisations and home to more than 235 researchers, many of whom are amongst the best in their field, in the world.

Together, they use nuclear research techniques to advance Australia’s knowledge in areas including human health, climate change and environmental research, which leads to innovations for our industries.

ANSTO is one of the major employers for the Sutherland Shire with over one third of our about 1200 staff living in the local community or nearby in St George.

Local Member for Hughes , Craig Kelly MP, and Mayor Cr Pesce were at the ceremony, to congratulate the winners.

Three awards were presented at Thursday’s ceremony to celebrate what Dr Adi Paterson, ANSTO CEO, said is the organisation’s most valued assets – its people.

“ANSTO is one of the biggest and brightest employers in the region and one of Australia’s leading science organisations,” said Dr Paterson.

“Our understanding of the world at the atomic level starts right here at ANSTO, the work we do benefits industries, companies and individuals trying to answer the big science questions of our time.

“ANSTO and The Shire could not have the enormous scientific impact that we have, without out state-of-the-art infrastructure and leading researchers, and today we acknowledge three.”

Each award had specific criteria that an individual and / or team had to meet, for those whose research contributions have led to meeting Australia’s national research priorities.

In the awards’ first year, the three winners were Professor David Cohen (Sutherland Shire), Michael Saleh (Beverley Park), and Dr Warwick Payten (Oatley).

“The recipient of the Award for Sustained Contribution is David Cohen, who has undertaken more than 20 years of environmental research, specifically focussing on fine particle pollution,” said Dr Paterson.

“He is the source of knowledge for people looking at air particle pollution, and how it moves through the environment and across the globe.

“Michael Saleh was recognised for his concerted research efforts in materials research, and we are very much looking forward to seeing what he will contribute in the future.

“Michael, who is from the Institute of Materials Engineering at ANSTO, is part of a team working on a project in armour applications, which is designed to help keep Australian troops safe.”

The third award was the George Collins Award for Innovation. George dedicated 28 years of research to ANSTO in numerous roles, before his unexpected passing in 2014, and the award is named in his memory.

This award acknowledges extraordinary contribution on a domestic or international scale to the Australian community, especially in areas key to ANSTO’s mission – nuclear, health, environment/sustainability or industry.

“The inaugural George Collins Award went to Dr Warwick Payten for his inspired efforts on the Remlife software project, to assess the remaining life of high temperature infrastructure like power stations,” said Dr Paterson.

“It is also important to acknowledge all of our finalists who have each contributed endless hours and brain-power to advance science and research in many important fields, ultimately to benefit the wider community.”

Exam time is near – Whether the HSC or IB

It is crunch time for Year 12 students with only days to go until final exams begin.

For many that means the finish line is finally in sight for the Higher School Certificate.

But for a growing number of students on the lower north shore, the International Baccalaureate is the focus.

Redlands, which was the first school in NSW to offer the IB, has about 50 per cent of Year 12 students studying the global course this year.

“We offer both the HSC and IB because we believe it is important for students to have the choice and flexibility to select between the two rather different courses,” Redlands principal Peter Lennox said.

Indicative of Redlands’ numbers, one school captain has chosen the IB, while the other has opted to complete the HSC.

“It’s friendly competition,” Madeleine SarichPrince said.

She said the IB was the “obvious choice” because it suited her style of learning.

“I’ve got a wide range of interests so it keeps all my doors open but it also has the international element which I really enjoy,” she said.

William Gleeson chose to stick with the HSC as he could tailor it to what he was really passionate about.

While Redlands has the largest percentage of students choosing the IB in the area, other schools have seen numbers swell.

Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College has 20 per cent of Year 12 students studying the IB this year and next year it will be 32 per cent.

At Queenwood there are 14 Year 12 students completing the IB, with that number set to double.

“We have seen a strong increase in interest in the IB, not least because it incorporates a global perspective into every aspect of the program,” Queenwood principal Elizabeth Stone said.

Inspiring Australians: Compelling New Book of Churchillian Proportions

Acclaimed author Dr Penelope Hanley has written a compelling book profiling some of the extraordinary Fellows who have become part of Churchill’s living legacy in Australia, to be launched this Saturday at NSW Parliament House by award-winning journalist and Churchill Fellow, Geraldine Doogue.

Inspiring Australians: The First Fifty Years of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, tells the story of some of the 4000 Churchill Fellows who have been awarded over the fifty year history of the Churchill Trust.

The introductory chapter has been written by Graham Freudenberg, the acknowledged expert on Churchill and Australia.

“A Churchill Fellowship is the research and travel opportunity of a lifetime, and serves to both improve both an individual and their community,” said Trust CEO, Paul Tys.

“The Trust was established after a groundswell of gratitude and remarkable generosity by Australians that followed after the death of Sir Winston Churchill. The Trust awards more than one hundred fellowships to Australians every year”.

“This book catalogues some of these extraordinary people and their achievements, to raise Australia’s awareness of the vast achievements and opportunities a Churchill Fellowship offers and continues to provide to our country.”

The book launch is the centrepiece of a wider celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

“This weekend a cross section of our most innovative and inspiring Fellows are converging on Sydney to take part in this National Convention of Churchill Fellows,” said Mr Tys.

From 9–11 October, Fellows are marking the Anniversary in Churchillian style. The activities include:

  • 9 October, 2-4pm, NSW Parliament House, Strangers Dining Room: Fellows in Conversation moderated by ABC Radio “Conversations” host Mr Richard Fidler, where some prominent Fellows reveal whattheir Fellowships have enabled them to achieve, how the knowledge gained through their research positioned them for success and why it continues to influence their ongoing aspirations.
  • 10 October, 3 – 4.30pm, Alexandria Fire and Rescue NSW Training Centre: An Emergency Services Demonstration will showcase Fellows research into difficult passenger extraction from cars, how to use search dogs to find survivors in building collapses, and what an evacuation of Sydney would look like.
  • 10 October, 6.30pm, NSW Parliament House, Strangers Dining Room: The official Convention Dinner, where renowned journalist and Churchill Fellow Geraldine Doogue will launch the book Inspiring Australians: The First Fifty Years of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

For more information about the Churchill Trust, www.churchilltrust.com.au

Sydney Schoolgirl Rocks Elite Science Comp

The stadia are far from ready, but a Sydney schoolgirl has already claimed gold in Brazil.

This year Australia participated for the first time at the International Earth Science Olympiad, in which nearly 100 top high school students from 22 nations compete.

Redlands student Zoe Thompson was the only girl to make the top 10 at the competition, held in Pocos de Caldas, and earned a gold medal by taking fifth place overall.

“It didn’t really quite sink in … I didn’t really expect my name to be called,” Thompson said.

The year 11 student was one of four competitors selected to represent Australia in Brazil after outperforming nearly 4000 other geology students from across the country.

From examining rocks and geological features in the field to gruelling theory exams that covered all areas of earth sciences, the competition was fierce.

Seventeen-year-old Zoe described her experience in Brazil as a small step toward a career in science – one she hopes more girls will make.

“Don’t feel like it is only guys who can do it, if it is what you are passionate about and it’s what you enjoy try as hard as you can to be successful in that area,” she said.

Two other members of the Australian contingent, Victorian students Sacha Mann and Tim Hume, took home silver medals.

Earth and Environmental Science Program Director at Australian Science Innovations Greg McNamara, who travelled with the team, said the students’ achievements were a good sign for science in Australia.

“I think the other nations were a bit stunned that as newcomers we did so well,” he said.

“Our team’s achievement is inspirational, and I hope it will encourage many other students to look at earth and environmental science with new eyes.”

Barangaroo Remediation

Two remediation projects are to be undertaken in Sydney to clean up contamination from the former Millers Point Gasworks, which closed almost a century ago.

APA were commissioned to produce a project video on behalf of Barangaroo Delivery Authority.

Excelsia College – A New Force In Christian Higher Education

A new force in Christian higher education has relocated to Macquarie Park as the College continues its expansion and moves towards its goal of becoming Australia’s first global Christian university.

The 5,000m2 purpose-built campus is located at 69-71 Waterloo Road, Macquarie Park – with large numbers of potential students expected to show for the Open Day on Saturday 29 August 2015.

The new campus is a five minute walk from Macquarie Park railway station, with numerous bus routes available to the area, is easily accessed by car and within walking distance of one of Sydney’s foremost shopping precincts – Macquarie Centre.  It is ideal for students across Sydney. Excelsia College (previously Wesley Institute) is in joint collaboration with Indiana Wesleyan University to create a new force in Christian higher education in Australia.

“The physical campus is a clear demonstration of our momentum.  We continue to offer postgraduate degrees in teacher education, counselling and music as well as Bachelor degrees in drama and music.

“Over the coming years we plan to expand the course offerings to new fields of study including business, arts, communications and behavioural science, all taught within a Christian framework and environment,” said Vice Chancellor for Asia-Pacific, Professor Bridget Aitchison.

“Australia is an excellent site for a global Christian university for many reasons including high standards in higher education. Another reason was the growth in demand for Christian schooling and the lack of a Protestant Christian university to allow continued study within a broad Christian framework and environment.

“The level of enquiries and interest has been heart-warming,” said Professor Aitchison.

“I invite everyone to drop in on Saturday 29 August and learn more about us and what we have to offer.”

Stunning Success on the Slopes for Snowsports Superstars!

Redlands achieved stunning success at the National Interschools Snowsports Championships, with the team bringing home eight Gold, two Silver and four Bronze medals, and a total of 39 Top 10 places.

The spectacular result was delivered by a 55-strong Redlands contingent, in a competition that concluded on Sunday and spanned five days of skiing and snowboarding activities on the slopes of Mount Buller.

“Redlands has a very strong record of achievement when it comes to skiing and snowboarding, but even by our standards, this was an extraordinary result,” said Redlands Principal Dr Peter Lennox.

“It is always wonderful to see great skill, intense training and expert tuition translate into results, and I congratulate all of the students who participated.”

The Captain of Skiing, Year 12 student Zoe Spanos, led the School to victory and claimed a number of medals for herself along the way.

In total she won Gold in the Division 1 Girls Alpine and Division 1 Girls Skier Cross, and also led her team to Gold in the Division 1 Girls Alpine and Silver in Division 1 Girls Skier Cross.

In the Division 1 Girls Alpine, Zoe set a blistering pace with her first run which was 1.25 seconds faster than the Division 1 Boys winner. 

Following this, her time for both runs was the fastest time across all students in the competition, both boys and girls.

“Over the years Zoe has earned a formidable reputation in Snowsports, and her results here are a splendid culmination of those efforts. Zoe has done herself and her School proud,” said Dr Lennox.

Also of note, a number of Redlands up-and-comers continued to establish their prowess on the slopes, taking out Gold medals in younger age categories.

Twelve-year-old George Murphy, who is in Year 6, won Gold in the Division 4 Boys Moguls, and Daisy Thomas, who is in Year 3 and aged just 8, brought home Gold in the Division 5 Girls Moguls.

“A combination of skill and training saw these two young people bring home Gold, which is just wonderful. They have certainly established themselves as ‘ones to watch’ in the future,” said Dr Lennox.

In addition to the four individual Gold medals, Redlands teams also won the Division 1 Girls Alpine, Division 5 Girls Alpine, Division 4 Boys Moguls and Division 5 Girls Moguls.

The achievements all follow on from Redlands’ success at the recent NSW Interschools where they achieved 23 podium finishes – 14 team and 9 individual.

The Division 1 Girls Team won Gold in both the Alpine and Skier Cross events and, for the fifth year out of the last six, were awarded the Amelia McGuinness Trophy for being the fastest girls team on the slopes.

Hugos Lounge Closes

Kings Cross night club owners have launched a campaign for fair treatment by the NSW Government.

The campaign was joined today by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm.

In a two week period Hugo’s has received 6 print articles, undertaken 14 radio interviews, had 37 online news and industry pieces published and appeared in 4 TV stories.