VC’s update – Rankings and ARC success

12 September 2016

Hello everyone,

During the past week, the latest QS World University Rankings were released and reinforced our position as Australia's top university. I congratulate all of our hard-working staff and students for the results, which demonstrate our ability to conduct research that is equal to or better than the very best in the world.

Also in the past week, ANU did extremely well in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence funding - being part of eight of the nine successful centres.  

You may have heard our major news item, with the announcement of a new $30 million ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (CAASTRO 3D), which will be led by ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor Lisa Kewley from the ANU Mt Stromlo facilities. As a fellow astronomer, I am extremely excited about the project. This Centre of Excellence will open up many opportunities for us to learn more about the Universe and it will make ANU an even more attractive destination for leading astronomers worldwide to come to undertake research.

ANU will also have lead investigators in seven other Centres of Excellence covering biodiversity and heritage, gravitational wave discovery, climate extremes, low energy electronics technologies, population ageing research, quantum computation and communication and engineered quantum systems. On behalf of the ANU community I would like to congratulate and thank all of those who will be involved in the new Centres of Excellence, and those who have facilitated the process. You are a great credit to all of us.

I was delighted last week to help announce a new $8 million partnership with the ACT Government to improve ways to store renewable energy that can be integrated back into the electricity grid. The new Battery Storage and Integration Research Program will be based at our ANU Energy Change Institute, which is led by Professor Ken Baldwin. This research will be a crucial part of our future as the world moves to curb carbon emissions and relies more on renewable energy.

The final decision on the Bruce Hall redevelopment was announced last week. After extensive consultations with Bruce Hall students and input from alumni over the past nine months, and after close examination all of the options, the University will move ahead with plans to rebuild the Hall into two new state-of-the-art residential communities. Bruce Hall has set the standard for many years in what constitutes the model for Australian student accommodation - its close, tight-knit community, its warm and inviting communal spaces, its outstanding pastoral care and services. Our ambition is to ensure a continuation of the unique Bruce Hall culture, heritage and legacies in the new Bruce Hall. I want to thank all of those who took the time to get involved in the community consultations and planning discussion.

On Friday I gave the keynote speech at the Australian Women in Agriculture conference. It was wonderful to be able to meet so many inspiring people who are making significant contributions to this vibrant and key Australian industry for Australia.

Some time ago we started the recruitment process for a new Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. I am pleased to announce that Professor Michael Wesley of the Coral Bell School has been appointed to lead the college. I would like to extend my congratulations to Professor Wesley and also express my deep gratitude to outgoing Dean Professor Veronica Taylor. Professor Taylor has led the College through a challenging time with great distinction and integrity, and performed the role with extraordinary commitment and vigour.

In closing I would like to invite everyone to support our ANU Giving Day on Wednesday 21 September. ANU Giving Day is a day where we can come together as a community to solve a global problem. This year, the campaign will support the pioneering efforts of Dr Howard Bradbury, who has spent 25 years trying to find a way to prevent the neurological disease konzo that causes irreversible paralysis of the legs in Africa. It affects mainly children and women and is caused by malnutrition and consumption of high levels of a poisonous cyanide compound found in cassava, a staple food for millions in tropical Africa. Thanks to Dr Bradbury's dedicated research, a simple new method was discovered which removes the cyanide compounds from cassava flour.

All funds raised on ANU Giving Day will directly support educational programs that teach villages Howard's 'wetting method' to prevent konzo. Please join me by making a gift or supporting the social media campaign to help raise awareness.

I hope you all have a great week.



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Comment by Johnf656
3.15am 23 Nov 2016

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