VC's Update - Open Day, CEAT funding announcement and more

24 August 2018

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for those who have been working hard in our final preparations for Open Day. From our grounds team sprucing up the gardens, to music students rehearsing; our campus - construction and all -  is ready to showcase who and what we are to prospective college students and their families.  

Every year, thousands of students visit our beautiful campus to see why ANU is such a great place to study. I hope each of you is on message -  reminding members of your extended families, friends, potential prime ministers, or random people you meet out on the street, that:

  1. ANU provides a student experience encompassing the residential lifestyle and extra-curricular activities, coupled with small class sizes where students engage with leading academics to help nurture and grow their understanding of complex topics;
  2. Our position in the nation's capital means our research and teaching is interwoven with government, industry and the cultural institutions, providing unrivalled access to internships, exchange opportunities and graduate pathways; and
  3. Canberra is no longer a giant suburb, but rather a thriving mecca for great food and coffee, with more and more of our students staying on in the capital after graduation, enjoying a great lifestyle, and some of the best career opportunities in the world.

This year I am excited to be heading along to a number of events, including the Mascot race, a glass blowing demonstration and a cyber warfare session. Keep an eye on social media for some of the highlights tomorrow.

Here is some great news! Earlier today, ACT Chief Minister Mr Andrew Barr, announced a $500,000 contribution to establish the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology (CEAT) at ANU. In collaboration with the ACT Government, CSIRO, and agricultural peak bodies; the new Centre is set to transform the way agri-tech is done in Australia. The new hub will be a one-stop shop for agri-tech providing entrepreneurs and farmers with access to the latest discoveries; academics with potential to translate their research; and students with opportunities for industry placements.  If more than 8 billion of us are going to live happily on our rapidly changing planet, it is going to take every piece of human ingenuity in agriculture to make it happen - it is great that we are part of this important initiative.

In more good news, Professor Steven Roberts has accepted the role of CBE Dean. Steven has been working as Interim Dean since 2017 and I am delighted that he has agreed to continue to lead the College. After completing his PhD at Stanford, Steven joined us at ANU in 2003 as a lecturer in Actuarial Studies and Statistics before taking up the Directorship of RSFAS in 2014. Congratulations Steven on your appointment.

This weekend, the Canberra Writer's Festival is taking place across the capital. With more than 60 events being held over three-days, the festival is a celebration of literature, reading and writing. ANU is once again a key festival partner, bringing together authors, journalists and politicians to encourage and support writing creativity.  ANU is well represented with alumni and staff hosting events, including Professor Gareth Evans and Professor Alison Booth. If you haven't done so already, make sure you head along to one of the events this weekend. There are still tickets available and you can see the full program here.

Finally, the Vice-Chancellor's Annual Awards will close Friday 31 August. The awards recognise our professional and academic staff for their exceptional contributions to teaching, research, innovation and administrative services. I'm looking forward to seeing the recipients recognised at the Gala Dinner in November. If you haven't done so already, please send your nominations to

Have a good weekend,