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Curtin University
Note to staff

3 July 2017


Visit by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard AC

It was a pleasure to host the Honourable Julia Gillard at Curtin last Wednesday. Ms Gillard, who is patron of the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library, was involved in three Curtin events including the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre report launch, a lunch with students from the John Curtin Leadership Academy, and she was the speaker at the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library annual public lecture, which attracted a record crowd of over 1200 guests.

Ms Gillard spoke on the topic “Great reform requires courage”, looking back to some of John Curtin’s mental health challenges and also highlighting her work with beyondblue. She takes up her new role as chair of this important organization this week. My thanks to Catherine Clark (University Librarian) and the staff in the JCPML for organising the event.

If you were not able to attend, I encourage you to listen to Ms Gillard’s powerful address when it becomes available on the JCPML site shortly.

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Ms Gillard presenting the JCPML lecture

NAIDOC Week 2017

Today marks the commencement of NAIDOC Week 2017. I was delighted to see so many Curtin staff and students at this morning’s flag raising event. This is a very important event in our annual calendar and the fact that it gets bigger each year is testament to the commitment and involvement of our community in Indigenous issues and reconciliation.

We were honoured to have one of our fine arts students, Nyoongar artist Bradley Kickett, as our guest speaker today. Recently, he was among seven Indigenous artists selected by the WA Police to have their artwork displayed on police uniforms and vehicles during NAIDOC Week.

Information about more NAIDOC Week activities can be found here.

Bradley Kickett and painting

Curtin student Bradley Kickett with his artwork

ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2017

Last week the ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects was released for 2017. I am delighted to announce Curtin ranked in 21 subjects and is placed in the top 100 in five subjects.

Curtin is positioned 19th in the world for Mining and Mineral Engineering and 24th for Nursing. The University ranks in the top 10 in Australia for nine subjects, placing second in the country for Earth Sciences, with Mining & Mineral Engineering and Chemical Engineering both in fourth position.

ShanghaiRanking Consultancy is the same group that publishes the prestigious annual Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). This is an outstanding achievement for Curtin and I thank everyone who contributed to these results.

The Office of Strategy and Planning has prepared a summary paper and you can find out more about Curtin’s results here. You can also access the official ranking at the ARWU website.

Peel community donations of $1.25 million fund student and medical support

I am very pleased to announce that the Peel Health Foundation has generously donated $1.25 million to the University. The donation will make a real difference to the health services available to the Peel community and the opportunities available for students seeking access to a university education. In particular, the funding will be used towards student scholarships, a Mandurah health hub for youth with mental health issues and the construction of the Peel Regional Clinical School. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Peel community for their generosity.

2017 Dr Louisa Alessandri Research Grant

Congratulations to Professor Catherine Elliott and her colleagues in the Faculty of Health Sciences who were awarded the 2017 Dr Louisa Alessandri Research Grant. The funds will go towards the launch of a free app to help WA children with disabilities access leisure activities in their local communities. You can read our recent media release for more information.

With the research team and the Minister: (L-R) Dr Ashleigh Thornton, Ms Claire Willis, Dr Jane Valentine, Disability Services Minister the Hon Stephen Dawson, Professor Catherine Elliot, Associate Professor Sonya Girdler.

With the research team and the Minister: (L-R) Dr Ashleigh Thornton, Ms Claire Willis, Dr Jane Valentine, Disability Services Minister the Hon Stephen Dawson, Professor Catherine Elliot, Associate Professor Sonya Girdler.

Curtin collaborator recognised with Business News Rising Stars Award

I am pleased to announce that a Curtin collaborator, Nuheara, was recently recognised with a Business News Rising Stars Award for their development of IQ buds. IQ buds allow the user to change and control the level of noise in different environments and have broad consumer appeal. A Curtin research team led by Professor Sven Nordholm from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering developed the underlying technology. Nuheara is also working with the Autism Research Group at Curtin and the Ear Science Institute Australia on the product’s potential to improve educational outcomes for those on the autism spectrum. I would like to congratulate all those involved.

Curtin Research Strategy Engagement workshops

Earlier this year, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research Chris Moran, circulated a discussion paper on Curtin’s future research strategy for staff consideration and comment. Staff are now invited to attend one of three engagement workshops being held this month to provide further feedback and input. Workshops will be held on Wednesday 5 July, Friday 14 July and Monday 17 July and lunch/afternoon tea will be provided. Staff who would like to participate can register here.

Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2017-2020

This week marks the launch of Curtin’s latest Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) 2017-2020: Facilitating Universal Design. We have chosen to move from a five-year to a three-year plan to ensure that our strategies remain relevant and better align with the University’s strategic planning cycle.

The new plan applies the principles of universal design to our day-to-day operations, including the ways in which we deliver academic programs, construct and refurbish our facilities, and seek to improve access and inclusion to our events and all our processes. You can learn more about the plan at the DAIP website.

Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards for Professional Staff – nominations open

I am pleased to announce nominations are now open for the Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Awards for Professional Staff.

This is a wonderful opportunity to reward and recognise your professional colleagues who have demonstrated exceptional performance during the last 12 months. The awards are open to continuing or fixed-term professional staff and, as a result of staff feedback, this year casual staff can now be nominated as part of a team.

Winners will receive up to $4,000 (individuals) and $20,000 (teams), which can be used for knowledge-building, or professional development opportunities such as further study or new qualifications, study tours and conferences.

Nominations close 5pm Friday 11 August 2017 and winners will be announced at an end-of-year event. Last year’s awards were a great success and it was fantastic to showcase the achievements of staff. I look forward to seeing the results this year and encourage all staff to get involved. For more information, please visit

  1. Natalie Smith July 6, 2017 11:25am

    Wanted to say congratulations to Professor Catherine Elliot and her team being awarded the 2017 Dr Louisa Alessandri Research Grant, Louisa was my cousin and she did some truly amazing work! I’m so glad her memory lives on and Curtin can create something great with this research grant.

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