Energy has been the theme this week.
On Tuesday, we were thrilled, to welcome the Minister for Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, to campus. The Minister came to open the 2016 Energy Update which was hosted by the Energy Change Institute. Later that evening, former ACT Minister for the Environment, Simon Corbell, joined us once again to deliver the annual Solar Oration for the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics.
On Wednesday, I was delighted to participate in the 2016 Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference with Professor Andrew Blakers from the Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems. While there, I spoke about the need to embrace smart technology and energy storage in the solar research space. Upgrading what we use to more energy efficient products is important as we all know, and we must also move towards being greenhouse gas neutral by 2050.
The work that is going on in this field is some of the most important that our research institutes are doing but it is also some of the most exciting. I am so pleased to see so many people who are strongly motivated to work in this area. We're seeing massive advances in innovation and Australia is becoming a world leader both on the fundamentals and also on how the changes are rolled out.
Innovation is also about providing opportunities for all members of our society to show their potential and participate.
At the 70th Anniversary celebrations in August I reaffirmed our aspiration to be the university of choice for Indigenous Australians. To meet this aspiration, I said that we needed to build a substantial Indigenous research and education community capable of generating outstanding Indigenous-led research which informs policy and practice and contributes to our understanding of the world. I announced that ANU would establish an Indigenous Postdoctoral Fellowships Program to attract talented, recent Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctoral graduates across all the academic disciplines of the University. The program would recruit Early Career Academics who have the potential to become academic leaders in their discipline area.
On Monday night ANU hosted a dinner with Indigenous ANU alumni from right around the country. At the dinner, Pro Vice-Chancellor (University Experience) Professor Richard Baker formally launched the Indigenous Postdoctoral Fellowships Program. It was an extraordinary night and I was delighted to hear that the program was well received and there was a very strong commitment from some of our older Indigenous alumni to mentor and support current students.
Applications for the program will open 15 February 2017. Please visit the Indigenous Postdoctoral guidelines page for more information about the program.
On Thursday afternoon I attended the end of year celebrations for the networking group that represents early career academics and researchers. At the event I acknowledged the importance of the role that they play, not just now but in the future of ANU and universities around the world. Universities live and die by their engagement with early career researchers, so I'd like to see ANU do more to support this group in our community, by providing an oasis of opportunity for them to prosper.
This afternoon, ANU officially signed an agreement with the Department of Immigration in a move that further strengthens our resolve to help the nation's policy makers. This MOU will allow the Department to have access to the University's broad expertise and research on issues from migration and population demographics through to cyber and national security.
We are proud to be Australia's national university and I would like to see similar agreements made between ANU and other policy makers both in government and industry.
I would like to congratulate the seven ANU students chosen to head overseas for study next year as part of the Federal Government's New Colombo Plan Scholarships. ANU has traditionally done well in this program, with 28 successful scholars awarded since the program began in 2013. It is great to see our students continue to be among the successful applicants.
I'd also like to congratulate Professor Michael Platow from the Research School of Psychology, and Professor Paul Francis from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics who have received Awards for Teaching Excellence in the 2016 Australian Awards for University Teaching. These awards recognise quality teaching practices and outstanding contributions to student learning and ANU is the only university in the Group of Eight to have won two awards. Well done.
And in some sad news this week, Dr Howard Bradbury has passed away. Dr Bradbury was a much loved member of the ANU community who dedicated much of his life to preventing Konzo, which was the focus of this year's ANU Giving Day campaign. Dr Bradbury recently went through some surgery from which he never fully recovered. Konzo was Dr Bradbury's life's work, and during this year's Giving Day campaign he was able to do a tour of the call centre to see the campaign in action. Dr Bradbury leaves an amazing legacy at ANU which includes his daughters Joanne and Annette who work here as well. He was a remarkable man and will be sadly missed by many here at the University.
As students start to drift back home for their holiday breaks, I'd like to remind you all to be safe on the roads and enjoy spending time with your family and friends.
Have a great weekend.