VC's Update - accolades for Canberra, name a street in Union Court and more

27 October 2017

Hi everyone,

This week Lonely Planet confirmed what many of us have known for years, that Canberra is a fantastic city and a great place to visit (third in the world this year!). So while Melbourne and Sydney continue to think of Canberra in terms of roundabouts and politicians - we all know that it is really is a place of cultural must-do's, hatted restaurants, fantastic coffee and a great university. Well done Canberra!

The second meeting of ANU Business and Industry Advisory Board (BIAB) chaired by the CEO of Westpac, Brian Hartzer, was held in Sydney last week. We talked about how we could and should engage with SMEs, the future of Engineering, and Cyber security.  There is real excitement about how we work on genuinely interesting problems with industry. The Board includes business leaders from across corporate Australia, with banking, aviation, biomedicine, autonomous vehicles all represented, alongside a tech entrepreneur from Silicon Valley, Anthony Goldbloom, who recently sold his company to Google.

Certainly one of my favourite events of the year - I got to launch the awards and composed music for this year's Australian of the Year Awards - created by our staff and students. The awards (involving Arts and Physics students and staff) and music are spectacular, and are exemplary of how ANU can contribute on the national stage.  You can see pictures of the awards and listen to music here. Congratulations to the School of Art, the School of Music and the MakerSpace at the Research School of Physics and Engineering for their outstanding collaboration with the National Australia Day Council.

Congratulations also to Dr Julie Banfield from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Dr Dave Pasalich from the Research School of Psychology, and Dr Kai Xun Chan from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at the Research School of Biology. They have been named as winners of the Young Tall Poppy science awards for the ACT. Julie, Dave and Kai are excellent young scientists who are conducting research which will have a real impact on Australia. Well done on this achievement.

As many of you know I am a member of the Male Champions of Change (MCC) and this week I put my signature to a piece of work that seeks to understand what everyday sexism looks like in the workplace; its impact on employees, career advancement and productivity. It's an issue that I am passionate about and I am committed to seeing ANU come together to identify approaches so we can put an end to this. I'd also like to thank Professor Margaret Harding for accepting the role of Chair of the SAGE Athena Swan self-assessment team.

Finally, I encourage everyone to get along to watch the pitches of the Grand Challenges finalists next Tuesday 31 October at 5.30pm in the Auditorium of the Australian Centre on China in the World. We have three brilliant research projects to present to you one of which will be chose to receive up to $10 million over a period of five to 10 years. If you are a group that misses out - don't despair. This is just one way we are going to help fund your great ideas.


PS - The Union Court Redevelopment Team are seeking input to help name three streets in the revitalised Union Court. Milky Way has some resonance for me, but it you have a suggestion that recognises the culture and history of the University (especially ANU Women who've made difference) the team want to hear from you.