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Curtin University
Note to staff

14 September 2015


Research Excellence

The winners of the Curtin Research Awards for Excellence were announced at a special ceremony in the John Curtin Gallery on Friday 4 September.  It was the final event of Research Week at Curtin, and an opportunity to thank our many research partners across industry, government and the community who attended.

Research Week was opened with a public lecture on ‘Surveying and Reconstructing HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran’ that captivated the audience.  A range of other lectures and workshops were held during the week to showcase Curtin’s wonderful research.  Special highlights included the faculty research presentations and the Mark Liveris seminar and public lecture by Professor Keith Hill in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

I would like to congratulate the winners of the Curtin Research Awards for Excellence:
John de Laeter Award for Research Leadership – John Curtin Distinguished Professor Chun-Zhu Li, Faculty of Science and Engineering.
Paul G Dunn Research Development Award – Professor Keith Hill, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Curtin Research Impact and Engagement Award – Lakhnu Sustainable Rural Development Project Team in the Faculty of Humanities: Associate Professor Reena Tiwari, Professor John Stephens, Associate Professor Dianne Smith and Mr Jake Schapper.
Curtin Research Support Award – Dr Rebecca Anderson, Faculty of Health Sciences.

I would also like to congratulate and thank Deanne Barrett and the Research Week Committee for their work coordinating the many events on campus and making Research Week 2015 a great success.  It would be appreciated if you could provide your feedback regarding the program to assist with the planning for Research Week 2016.

Research Awards 2015

The Awards finalists with the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Mrs John de Laeter.


Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery with John Curtin Distinguished Professor Chun-Zhu Li, winner of the John de Laeter Award for Research Leadership.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery with John Curtin Distinguished Professor Chun-Zhu Li, winner of the John de Laeter Award for Research Leadership.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery with Professor Keith Hill, winner of the Paul G Dunn Research Development Award

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cordery with Professor Keith Hill, winner of the Paul G Dunn Research Development Award

 Senior Leaders’ Conference

Over 120 staff in leadership positions from across the University participated in the Senior Leaders’ Conference last Thursday and Friday at the Rendezvous Hotel in Scarborough.  The title of this year’s conference was Building Curtin’s International Reputation.

On day one of the conference I presented an overview on Positioning for the Future: Current Performance, Challenges and Opportunities, followed by presentations from Mr David Dyer (Partner, McKinsey & Company) on Setting the Policy Environment; Professor John Prins (Director, Mater Research Institute, University of Queensland) on Curtin Medical School: Realising the Benefits; and Mr Rob Lawrence (Prospect Research and Marketing) on Lead from the front: Curtin’s place in tomorrow’s world.  The last two presentations included panel discussions featuring relevant staff members.

The highlight of the conference dinner was an extremely informative and entertaining presentation from Professor Jim Mienczakowski (PVC Sarawak) entitled A Year in Borneo.  Jim highlighted the exciting research and teaching opportunities the Sarawak Campus offers to Curtin.  

The second day of the conference featured a very productive interactive session on Future Strategic Positioning: Achieving Excellence led by Mr Marco Schultheis (Chief Strategy Officer), which commenced the planning for our 2017-2020 Strategic Plan.  This was followed by sessions on Academic and Operational Excellence led by Professor John Cordery (Provost) and Mr Ian Callahan (Vice-President Corporate Services) and Cultural Excellence led by Mr Ian Jackson (Director, People & Culture) and Mr Juris Varpins (Director, Organisational Development Unit).

I would like to thank all those who attended for participating in the discussion and sessions with enthusiasm.  As an institution, we are very fortunate to have such a strong and committed leadership team.  They will be sharing the insights and outcomes of the sessions as broadly as possible.  A summary of the conference outcomes will also be made available shortly and I will discuss many of these at the next VC Forum.  My appreciation goes to Juris Varpins, Tony Brown and the ODU team for their excellent efforts in organising such a successful and enjoyable conference.

Curtin Growth Ignition

Curtin Growth Ignition is an annual event run by the Curtin Centre for Entrepreneurship.  The event is based on the successful Ignite program managed and delivered by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning.

In the 2015 Ignition program, 50 delegates with a concept for a new product, service or business, participated in an intensive five and a half days to validate their ideas, develop the basis of a business plan and then pitch to a ‘venture capital panel’. “Tired but inspired” summed up how most delegates were feeling at the awards dinner on Friday night, and the most used words to describe the program were “awesome” and “life-changing”.

This year 30 of the 50 delegates were women and there were also six Indigenous delegates.  Several delegates were sponsored by the IP Commercialisation area or the Curtin Business School.

Curtin Ignition has become a centrepiece of the annual calendar for innovation and commercialisation in Western Australia, and I congratulate all those involved.  I would also like to acknowledge the support provided by state and federal governments, three other WA universities and the local innovation and commercialisation community.  A photograph of this year’s participants can be seen here.

Student success

Congratulations to Yuteng (Nero) Zhang, a student at the Curtin WA School of Mines, on winning a trip to Ireland to represent Australia in the 2015 IOM3 Young Persons’ World Lecture Competition final, organised by the Institute of Mining, Materials and Minerals.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year festival, began at sundown on 13 September and continues to 15 September.  It commemorates the creation of the world and a synagogue ritual for the festival is the blowing of the Shofar, a ram’s horn trumpet.  Apples are dipped in honey as a symbol of the sweet New Year that lies ahead.  I would like to wish all those celebrating the festival L’shanah tovah.





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