VC’s update – Ukraine relief concert and staff survey

20 May 2022

Hello everyone

It seems we are in for a nasty flu season this year so I would encourage you all to go out and get your flu vaccination. I had mine done this last week. If you are an ANU staff member or ANU student you can access a free flu shot. They are quick and easy!

I had the pleasure of attending the First Nations Forum Marramarra Murumbang Mawambul (the Ngambri, Ngunnawal and Wiradjuri term that describes creating good together) last week in Melbourne with Peter Yu, Michelle Jasper, Azure Hermes, Ray Lovett and Frank Gafa. There were some great discussions, and it was a good opportunity for ANU to showcase the work we are doing in the space of First Nations research and education; and a chance for us to thank external organisations who continue to support our initiatives. ANU is increasing its programs across campus to support First Nations students and research on campus - including the work of the First Nations Portfolio, Mayi Kuwayu, the Kambri Scholarships and the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics.

Professor Anna Moore and her team at the ANU Institute for Space will be at the forefront of building Australia's space sector research and manufacturing. The team is a key partner in the University of Southern Queensland's Innovative Launch, Automation, Novel Materials, Communications and Hypersonics (iLAuNCH) Hub. The new Hub will accelerate Australia's space manufacturing capabilities and has been awarded $50 million in Federal Government funding under the Trailblazer initiative. Australia has plenty to offer the global space industry and this program will support research and infrastructure, and communications. Well done to the InSpace team.

Last week the Tech Policy Design Centre, led by Dr Johanna Weaver, launched a new report on the future of tech regulation in Australia.  It was a great event attended by the most interesting tech companies operating in Australia, government officials, and even a keen politician who took a break from the campaign to attend (Tim Watts). The report calls on a new model of tech regulation and is a timely and robust contribution at a time when governments all over the world face critical challenges in this important area - including measures to protect children online, address the spread of mis- and disinformation and strengthen cybersecurity.  Johanna and her team will now take the report's findings - informed by interviews with some of the most senior players in the tech space across government, industry and civil society - to build a proposed new regulation model for the sector.

It's been almost three months since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It has been terrible to see the devastation and loss of life caused by this unnecessary war. Here at ANU we are taking steps to assist those who have been impacted by the conflict, and one of these ways is a relief concert, Music for Ukraine. The fundraising concert is a partnership between the ANU School of Music, the Canberra International Music Festival and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, with all proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal and Doctors Without Borders. You can see more details online.           

Next week the Semester 1 2022 Pulse Staff Survey will be live on Tuesday 24 May.  I implore everyone  to participate - it is anonymous and shouldn't take any more than 5-10 minutes of your time.  Its your feedback, good and bad, that helps us to improve as a University.  I personally look at these surveys and they directly help steer us in the right direction. If you have any questions, contact Planning and Service Performance Otherwise, keep an eye out for it next week in On Campus.

This Tuesday we recognised International Day Against LGBTIQA+ Discrimination (or IDAHOBIT) and the incredible work of our communities to ensure ANU is an inclusive space to work, learn and live. The independent assessment of the Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy indicates that ANU has seen significant progress in this space, but there is so much more to do. For example, we need to better understand and address the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination experienced by diverse individuals, including LGBTIQA+ students and staff. 

So I thank you all of our staff and students who continue to drive change in this area.

But on a less positive note, we've been witnessing a spike in transphobic behaviours, probably exacerbated by the federal election campaign. To our trans and gender diverse communities - we send our unwavering solidarity and support. The University is committed to making sure that our community is safe, friendly, and enriching for everyone.

If you are experience ongoing distress because of these incidents or for any other reason, please reach out to the team at who can help you find appropriate care and support.

I am off for my first trip in 29 months,  to visit Cambridge University,  to meet the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) partners and their Vice-Chancellor/Presidents. In addition to Cambridge, I will join the Chancellor at the World Economic Forum (WEF) to help host our Australia in Davos event, and be part of several alumni events in the UK and Switzerland. On my last international trip, the Campus got hit by the 2020 hail storm on my wait out, and the COVID pandemic went global on my way back. Let's hope this trip is less eventful.

I have been staying with my oldest son in Watson this week, because we are getting all of the floorboards of our house sanded and polished. Unfortunately, this process has revealed white-ant damage in the floor, and created chaos in our plans. Of course I am on my way overseas, and Jenny, my wife, is stuck trying to sort the mess out.  I am feeling a bit guilty, and hoping the re-construct job on the house isn't too extensive.

A reminder to go out and vote this weekend if you are eligible - I will be voting on the way to the airport tomorrow at my son's old public primary school in Sutton. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has more information on their web on how to vote here, including what to do if you get COVID and are unable to leave the house.  I'm hoping we will have a clear answer when I land in London.