Renewable energy researcher Professor Valeska Ting is all about enthusiasm for discovery and a love of learning.
Dividing her time between her role as Associate Dean for Engagement, Research and Impact at the College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics (CECC), her research in alternative energies at the ANU Research School of Chemistry (RSC) and her research group at the University of Bristol, UK, Valeska says she's a perpetual student.
"I love learning and I especially enjoy hearing about the work my colleagues are doing," she says.
"People are so enthusiastic about their research areas. There are many exciting projects at ANU. Incredible people doing amazing things."
"I love those moments when you hear about someone's project and it blows your mind, because you had no idea it was possible!"
As Professor of Smart Nanomaterials at RSC as well as a chartered engineer, Valeska also has a passion for engineering and her latest research looks at hydrogen storage for planes and cars.
"I've always liked materials, and working in that very practical context, so my first degree was in Advanced Materials at the Victoria University in Wellington," she says.
The ANU Summer Scholarships drew Valeska into research, and she came back to the ANU from travelling in Europe to do her PhD in inorganic and solid-state chemistry in 2003.
"I found it hugely motivating to work in materials for energy. Sustainable energy is such a pressing concern and I also find hydrogen a fascinating molecule to work with - it has so much potential in terms of the clean energy cycle," she says.
Making connections is a huge part of the AD role, and Valeska is keen to develop a culture of mentorship, collegiality, cohesiveness and collaboration.
"I see this role as connecting the dots between different groups, internal and external partners, so they can tackle increasingly complex problems," she said.
"The issues we're facing now are large, societal concerns, so cross-disciplinary initiatives have never been more important. The days are gone when research could be done in a silo, now we've got to look more broadly at the societal and economic aspects of the problems we need to solve."
One of Valeska's goals is for CECC researchers to feel empowered to do the research they want to do for the greatest good.
"Whether its greater understanding of a system, some practical technological innovation, or developing thought leadership in a new area, we are trying to help our researchers find opportunities and the right connections to speed further development, engage with industry to improve practice or reach government or the public to change attitudes and policy."
"My role in the research, engagement and impact context is to make it as easy as possible for us to get the fantastic work we're doing out there into the world."