VC's Update - Hello from Kyoto

10 November 2017

Hello everyone,

It has been another great week to be Vice Chancellor with lots of activity and much to celebrate.

At the start of the week we hosted a large contingent from Indiana University including their esteemed president, and ANU alumnus, Michael McRobbie. In addition to signing an agreement continuing our Pan-Asia institute and student exchange program we discussed advancing our work together in everything from museum studies to cyber security. Indiana is a great partner of ANU and our deep and multifaceted relationship makes both our institutions stronger.

On Wednesday I had the privilege of helping launch Australian Journey at the National Museum of Australia - a 12 part video series co-created by ANU historian Professor Bruce Scates and Dr Susan Carland of Monash University. This wonderful production explores Australia's history and values through 12 objects that are located in the National Museum. Sophisticated, entertaining, edgy, and beautiful - the series will help Australians, and indeed the world, better understand our nation's rich and complex history. Appealing to the Vice Chancellor's visceral love of Big Bang's, I got to start the journey by banging a large Chinese Gong. My ears are still ringing...

On Thursday, at Swinburne University, we launched OzGrav - the ARC Centre for Gravitational Wave Discovery - with Education Minister Simon Birmingham and Australian Research Council CEO Professor Sue Thomas attending. Although directed at Swinburne by ANU Alumnus Professor Matthew Bailes, ANU is a major partner of this center, with Physics'  David McClelland the Centre's deputy director, and Susan Scott, Daniel Shaddock and Bram Slagmolen all Chief Investigators. We were given a whirlwind virtual reality tour of the amazing discoveries already made and video-greeted by this year's Nobel Laureate Barry Barrish, who is on the centre's advisory board. We look forward to many more exciting discoveries from this team who have already 'seen' blackholes for the first time and solved the mystery of where elements like gold are made in the universe.

Today I'm writing to you from Kyoto, where Graham Farquhar is formally being honoured by the Inamori Foundation with the 2017 Kyoto Prize. As the first Australian to ever win this - one of the world's most prestigious prizes - Graham and ANU have lots to celebrate. But Graham is going to have to pace himself, as he was also named ACT Senior Australian of the Year this week. Graham will now go on to represent the ACT for the Senior Australian of the Year Award in the national awards which will be announced ahead of Australia Day in January. Congratulations also to ANU Law student Caitlin Figueiredo and alumna Sian Keys who were both well-deserved finalists for the ACT Young Australian of the Year award.

You've probably noticed my updates often spend a bit of time recognising the achievements of some of the remarkable staff, students, and alumni in our community. These achievements are built on the activities that happen every day on our campus, and represent not just the success of individuals, but rather the whole University. All of us together - academic staff, professional staff, students and our alumni - make this the great community what it is. We are all part of an intellectual community, a national institution and a university of international renown that we should be immensely proud to be part of and one that I feel incredibly honoured to lead.

For those of you taking exams, good luck - and for those of you grading them - you are in the home stretch (I need some sort of reference to the Melbourne Cup this week!). Congratulations to those of you who receive good news from the ARC - and commiserations to those of you who don't.  Whether you get the results you hope for or not, remember, the University is here to play a long game. You are here because we believe in you, and it is my mission to make sure we support you to do your best.