VC's Update - Pizza with Brian forums, Sol Invictus and more

22 September 2017

Hi everyone,

My blog comes to you today from the Global University Engagement Summit in Melbourne, where we have been looking at how universities around the world can stay relevant in society today. Needless to say, I absolutely do think universities play a key part in shaping our society's future. This summit has been a valuable opportunity to see what the industry is doing globally to address this.

Despite not getting the chance to teach much these days, it's still a topic I will always jump at the chance to talk about. On Monday I met with members of the ANU Educational Fellowship Scheme to discuss different models and what ANU can do to make the learning experience better for our students. We had a great discussion and we will be carefully considering some of the ideas put forward.

That evening, ANUSA hosted another one of my 'Pizza with Brian' forums. In between slices of Margarita and Hawaiian pizza, students asked me a range of questions including the University's investment strategy and the Marriage Equality Postal Vote. For those who follow me on Twitter you'll know I mailed my ballot back last week and I voted yes to change the law to allow same-sex couples to marry.

On Tuesday our team of 30 Sol Invictus students unveiled the solar car that will be taking them from Darwin to Adelaide as part of the World Solar Challenge. When the students first launched their plans to compete in the race all they had for an idea was a little plastic model and in just over 18 months they have achieved something they should be incredibly proud of. The team heads off (with car in tow) for Darwin this Sunday, and I wish them sunny skies and every success for the Challenge.

Finally, I wanted to highlight another success that ties back to my opening remarks on the work that universities are doing for the benefit of society. ANU is proud to be part of a major global research collaboration to help boost food production called the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (or RIPE) research project. The total funding of $US45 million over five years comes from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and ANU will be receiving $US4 million as part of this to do our part in helping combat food security issues. Congratulations to the team at the Research School of Biology on being part of a world-changing project.