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Curtin University
Note to staff

20 July 2015


Premier’s Science Awards nominations

I am delighted to announce that three Curtin University researchers are finalists in the 2015 Premier’s Science Awards, which celebrate the State’s best in scientific research and science engagement.

John Curtin Distinguished Professor Richard Oliver from the Centre for Crop Disease Management is a finalist in the Scientist of the Year category.  Professor Oliver has secured 50 research grants with a combined value of over $32 million and was instrumental in establishing the Centre for Crop Disease Management, where he is now overseeing a suite of research projects as the chief scientist.  The Centre is a five-year bilateral research program between Curtin University and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

Mr Thomas Russell, a PhD student from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is a finalist in the ExxonMobil Student Scientist of the Year category.  Mr Russell’s research into black holes is shaping our understanding of one of the greatest mysteries of the Universe. Using state-of-the-art facilities, including space-based and ground-based telescopes from around the world, he is studying how black holes extract and recycle energy from in-falling matter, an extremely efficient source of power that shapes the formation of stars, the evolution of galaxies and the distribution of matter in the Universe.

Fireballs in the Sky, led by ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor Phil Bland, is a finalist in the Chevron Science Engagement Initiative of the Year category.  Fireballs in the Sky is an innovative smart phone app that encourages the community to engage with planetary science and get involved in real science by sharing their skyward observations.

I congratulate our three finalists on their achievements and wish them the best of luck for the Premier’s Science Awards announcements on Thursday 20 August 2015.

Media training for academic staff

To support our academic staff participating in media interviews, our Public Relations area conducts a range of media training sessions. I would like to bring to your attention two sessions being conducted by organisations Curtin supports.

Media Training for Scientists, Friday 24 July, 12.30pm – 2pm, Council Chamber, Building 100

Dr Susannah Eliott from the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) will conduct a 90-minute media training session outlining the benefits to researchers of building an online profile using Science Media Exchange (Scimex), using new media effectively, the changing media landscape, and communicating science to the general public.  This training is open to academics from all faculties.

Getting on board with The Conversation, Tuesday 28 July, 12noon – 1pm, Common Ground, Building 104, central meeting room

Michael Hopkins, Environmental and WA Editor from The Conversation, will advise academic staff how they can publish articles on this increasingly popular online news and opinion site.

To register for the sessions described above please e-mail

Alumni Achievement Awards

The University is very proud of its graduates, and the Alumni Achievement Awards are a way of recognising those who are making significant contributions to society.  The awards were presented for the first time last year, and it was inspiring to hear of the achievements and commitment of the nominees.

Nominations are now open for the 2015 awards, and I encourage you all to consider nominating a worthy graduate.  More information is available online.

Curtin FM licence renewal

The Australian Communications and Media Authority recently renewed the broadcasting licence of Curtin FM, the University’s community radio station, for a further five years.

The Station broadcasts a large number of University-related announcements each week, and showcases Curtin research through on-air interviews.  It also runs a highly successful cadet journalism program and participates in media training offered to academic staff through the Public Relations area.

Congratulations to the staff and volunteers at Curtin FM on this achievement.




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