VC's update – Liquid Instruments and staff study discounts

18 June 2021

Hi everyone

Winter has truly arrived! I like winter except for the short days.  I do hope everyone managed to get a break over the long weekend since it's the last public holiday until October. I am definitely taking some time off between now and then, and I  hope the borders will be open so I can visit my relatives.

I'm very pleased that several of our academics were recognised on Monday in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours for their outstanding contributions to Australia. Emeritus Professor Kurt Lambeck was appointed the highest honour for his contribution to science - named as Companion of the Order of Australia (AC). Our ANU recipients also included First Nations Portfolio Vice-President Professor Peter Yu AM, University Librarian Roxanne Missingham OAM and Honorary Professor Jennifer Firman AM. I'd like to congratulate all members of the ANU community who have been recognised for their service. You can read our full list of Queen's birthday honours here.

We want ANU to be the best place to work and study in the world. It is a work in progress, but I am pleased to announce that ANU staff will now be eligible to apply for the ANU Staff and Family Tuition Fee Discount. We all know that education is essential to support each of our professional and personal development, and I hope that this commitment to our staff will be useful for many of us and our families. The discount will commence in Semester 2, 2021 for staff, their immediate family, former staff and ANU PhD graduates. Currently as it stands, the discount will be open to applicants who are eligible to apply as a domestic student. We are looking to expand the scheme to our international staff from 2022, and I am sorry for the delay for those staff. If you are interested in pursuing education through our program, I would encourage you to read more about it.  

Next month marks the third anniversary of our partnership with the Australian Signals Directorate collaboration (The Co-Lab). We have seen that cyber is a global issue; it is also a national and personal issue. This important initiative helps us fulfil our mission as the national university, working with our country's leading agency to focus on cybersecurity research, as well as developing the future workforce requirements of the nation. There's plenty of opportunities for high school students, undergraduate and postgraduates students, and researchers, to connect with academic and technical experts. You can read more about the Co-Lab here.

Back in 2016, Canberra-based company Liquid Instruments, started by a team of ANU physicists and scientists, launched its first product, Moku:Lab - an advanced electrical test platform for scientists and engineers. The technology behind the Moku:Lab was initially developed for gravitational wave detectors and is now orbiting the Earth on NASA's climate monitoring mission, the GRACE Follow-on. Moku:Lab now has more than 1,000 users in 30 countries with over 50 employees and the company has raised more than $25 million in investment. It's a great example of how our foundational work on campus  can translate into revolutionary new products and companies.  On Wednesday 23 June at 12:30pm at Llewellyn Hall, the Liquid Instruments team, headed by Professor Daniel Shaddock, will share their story and celebrate the release of two revolutionary new products that will help students, engineers and scientists learn, create and discover. Be part of one of our first silicon valley like product launch! You can register here.

Most of you may have already heard about the NSW Government's plan for the safe return of international students. ANU, along with other ACT universities, are partners in the plan and we have helped to develop it. I am hopeful that we will be able to welcome a small cohort of students once the initial phase has been successfully completed. We are ready to act as soon as we get the green light to do so. It may take some time but the safe return of our students is our priority. I should also say we continue to explore a whole range of other ways we might get our students back to campus.

You may have also read that we are currently housing a small group of returning Australian travellers who were part of the G7  delegation in Davey lodge. They are actually not the first people to quarantine on our campus (we have safely hosted returning interstate and international students in the past), and I'm very pleased we can play our part to help return travellers safely to Australia. This is all happening under the supervision of ACT Health and ACT Policing. If you're reading this from ANU quarantine: welcome to the University, and have a great stay.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend. I am going to make an apple strudel (apples from our trees) for the office on Monday. There are few things more satisfying than taking an orange-sized piece of dough and spreading it into something larger than a meter on one side. I also think it tastes pretty good too!