The Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility (HIAF) Career Advancement Endowment was created in 2012 by Professor David Hinde, Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics; Professor Keith Fifield, Director of the Heavy Ion Accelerator; and Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, an Australian Laureate Fellow.
Through their endowment the three researchers wanted to offer technical staff at the Department of Nuclear Physics career advancement opportunities that would not otherwise be available.
"As an academic I get a buzz from the results, and the positive feedback I get at conferences, but the technical staff do not get to see that. I felt we needed to give them an opportunity to go to their own conferences and develop themselves"
The HIAF is one of the most important pieces of research infrastructure at ANU, supporting Australia's only experimental nuclear physics program, as well as a broad spectrum of other work including creating and characterising innovative materials, resource and energy exploration, investigating climate change, and archaeological and heritage studies.
“It is crucial to everything we do because it’s the only accelerator in Australia that can do cutting edge nuclear physics research,” explains David. The technical staff who support the HIAF are critical to its success. Mahananda is passionate about the role they play in developing the techniques that generate the Facility’s research.
“We can have an idea but someone has to make it a reality. This is where the technical staff are amazing. They are innovative, creative and passionate and because of this we have been able to think of and create the instruments that allow us to make cutting-edge measurements. We created this endowment to recognise their amazing work,” says Mahananda.
In making his gift Keith hopes to leave something behind to help the Department and the technical staff that helped him with his research.
“The ultimate reason was to give something back to the Department and the University that for 30 years supported my research and my life. I’m also trying to encourage people who have just retired or about to retire that they might think about contributing, as it doesn’t hurt too much,” he says.
Mahananda, David and Keith are looking forward to watching the endowment grow and broaden the funds’s scope to support other initiatives of the department. They also hope that their “endowment is a little move towards establishing a stronger staff giving culture within ANU.”