VC’s Update – NCIS Director and ARC Grant

18 October 2019

Hi everyone,

After a long search, I am very pleased to announce that our Council Member, Mr Peter Yu, has been appointed as the new Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS). Peter brings over 35 years' experience in Indigenous development and advocacy at a national and international level, and his appointment will mark the next chapter for NCIS. Professor Mick Dodson retired last year after almost two decades at the helm where he made an extraordinary difference to ANU and the Indigenous research landscape. I'd also like to thank Professor Asmi Wood who has been acting as interim NCIS Director. Asmi has done a terrific job and will continue to lead the Centre until Peter commences in July 2020.

Last week, I returned from my trip to Japan and was lucky to have missed the typhoon. I was at the Science Technology forum in Kyoto and got to give one of the final talks. I made a call to action around the key areas of global sustainability, and I am thinking about how we can better do our part here at ANU. I got to meet our dual degree students at Ritsumeikan University, followed by a great alumni event with the Governor of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda, in attendance along with nearly a 100 other guests.

While I was away, it was announced that ANU has received a $34.9 million ARC grant to establish the Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems. This funding will enable monitoring systems for safer driving, moving holograms on your phone and making super-fast light based Wi-Fi a reality in the near future. This is a huge achievement and I'd like to congratulate Professor Dragomir Neshev who is leading this project and everyone who has helped secure this grant.

The Indigenous Post-doctoral Fellowship Program for 2019 is now open! We want to build our Indigenous academic community, and this program aims to bring recent doctoral graduates across all academic disciplines to ANU.  Recipients get a five-year fellowship followed by the chance to become a continuing staff member at ANU. You can read more about the application process and guidelines here. And please share with anyone you know who might be interested.

Innovation ACT held their 'Innovation ACT Pitch Night' in Kambri for the top 10 finalists. This great initiative foster's Canberra's next generation of entrepreneurs, and I am very pleased that over 70 teams from ANU participated! The winners will be announced this coming Saturday and I wish all the finalists good luck.

Next week on Tuesday evening, Professor Ed Byrne, President and Principal of King's College London, will be visiting ANU from the UK to deliver a public lecture on The University Challenge - changing universities in a changing world. Professor Byrne will discuss how universities must change to meet the evolving needs of society during these challenging times. This is important stuff to think about - come along and be part of the conversation. You can register here.

Part of this conversation is about academic freedom and expression. The Chair of the Academic Board Professor Jacqueline Lo will be hosting a town hall meeting next week on Friday 25 October lunchtime for ANU staff and students to contribute to the development of an ANU statement about freedom of expression and academic freedom. Please register your interest to attend here if you would like to contribute.

Finally, keep an eye out for our little guest on campus who's been doing the rounds on Twitter. We seem to be home to a baby echidna who has made a few friends around the Chancelry building. We are not sure if we should call the echidna Prickles, Spike or Scratchy...

Have a great weekend everyone.