It's hard to believe that we are already halfway through 2017. Where has the year gone?
Some great research news this week with a team from the ANU Research School of Biology announcing they have found a new way to help plants better survive drought. This work could have long-term benefits for crops such as barley, rice and wheat - all crucial to world food supplies. Huge congratulations to the team, led by Dr Wannarat Pornsiriwong, Dr Gonzalo Estavillo, Dr Kai Chan and Dr Barry Pogson.
Last week I was pleased to attend the first ever Future Shapers Forum 2017 run by the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation. This event follows the model of the Crawford Leadership Forum and is all about helping next generation of Australian leaders connect, learn and create their future. It was the University's first 'no-waste' conference - printed programs were replaced by a personalised app, keep cups were given out to participants and even name tags were printed on biodegradable paper that can be planted in a garden after they're used.
By all reports the conference was a resounding success and congratulations are due for Forum organisers Sung Lee and Lauren Bartsch. Well done.
It was great to join colleagues from the ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance's (REGNET) as they launched the school's new book Regulatory Theory: Foundations and Applications (ANU Press 2017). Officially launched by Former President of the Republic of Kiribati, His Excellency Anote Tong, the book looks at regulation and governance based on principles of social justice, environmental sustainability and human wellbeing. Well done to the School on producing this valuable resource.
Earlier this week, I joined the presidents of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) at their annual meeting at UNSW. APRU are a group of more than 30 universities from around the region who look at how we can work together to address global challenges. The group is an important one for ANU given our strengths in Asia and Pacific studies. One of the key areas we focused on was the health of our oceans. Member universities have agreed to work together to address the science and policy challenges to ensure the long-term wellbeing of one of our most important resources.
This coming Monday the Pop-Up Reunion Village will start to come alive as retailers move into the space. Over the next week or so we'll see the Student Commons, the Molo Live Bar, Sushi Smith, Zambrero, our two coffee vendors the Red Brick Espresso and Coffee Lab, and Zambrero all come online in the new space. The Pop-Up will also be home to four food trucks - Mr Papa, Brod Dogs, What the Pho and Mikebabz. I encourage you all to have a sticky-beak and check out this exciting new space.
And finally, I received with great joy a vest made by the wife of one of my astronomy colleagues. For those who know Paul Francis and his famous vest, we did 36 hours of MOOCs courses with that vest on. Paul - it's time to get the band together again.