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Curtin University
Note to staff

20 March 2017


QS Stars audit outcome

Curtin has retained its overall 5 Star rating in the recent QS Stars audit. We received 5 Stars for the categories of Teaching, Employability, Internationalisation, Facilities, Innovation and Inclusiveness, and 5 Stars for Engineering Mineral & Mining. We were awarded 4 Stars for Research, an increase from 3 Stars in 2016.

Curtin’s improved performance can be attributed to a doubling of both the citation count and the number of nominations for the Global Academic Survey. There was also a 50 per cent increase in staff research outputs.

Driverless vehicle trial

I am very pleased to announce that Curtin will be the first Australian university to trial a commercial driverless bus. The vehicle is similar to the RAC bus currently being used in public trials in Perth.  Our bus will be used to trial a new mobility solution for our Bentley Campus at the same time as supporting research in automated driving technology.

The bus is currently being deployed and tested and will be operational in the coming weeks, traveling on a pre-determined route from building 304 to 408. It will be able to carry 11 passengers and can travel at up to 45 kilometres per hour running entirely on electricity. With advanced technology, the vehicle can detect any obstacles in its path, but please be mindful of the bus if you are in this area.

For more information and to take part in Curtin’s bus naming competition, please visit the website.


Health Sciences PVC Professor Michael Berndt retiring

Professor Michael Berndt, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Health Sciences, has announced his intention to retire in February 2018, five years after he joined Curtin. The extended notice period will give the University time to fill Michael’s role and allow for a smooth transition to new leadership. I would like to thank Michael for his leadership and vision throughout his time at Curtin, during which the Faculty has achieved tremendous outcomes, most recently the establishment of the Curtin Medical School.

Michael was also instrumental in the formal establishment of CHIRI Biosciences Institute as the key driver of wet lab, disease-focused research at Curtin; he led the Faculty in significantly increasing research grant success and its overall research profile, co-founded the Science on the Swan conference and contributed to the initial development of the West Australian Health Translation Network, as well as maintaining a strong focus on delivery of the People and Culture agenda, gender equity and Indigenous engagement.

Submissions sought in review of faculty structures

You may be aware that the University is reviewing the way its faculties are structured, to ensure they align fully with, and help promote the positioning and objectives outlined in Curtin’s new Strategic Plan (2017-2020 – Delivering Excellence).

Written submissions are invited from individuals, groups and organisational units from across the University, and should be provided to the Review Committee by 31 March, 2017. I encourage everyone to read the Call for Submissions paper, available at the Strategic Plan website, and to participate in this important review.

Astrophysics comic book launch

I would like to congratulate Dr Wiebke Ebeling from the Department of Physics and Astronomy and sessional academic Cristy Burne from the School of Education on the launch of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAAASTRO) comic book ‘The Cosmic Adventures of Alice & Bob.’ The educational book for children was launched at Perth Astrofest on Saturday 18 March. Dr Wiebke is CAASTRO’s Education & Outreach Manager and edited the book, collaborating with author Cristy Burne, and illustrator Aska to create a fun and educational resource. The book will be distributed to all primary, combined and special schools in Australia.


Dr Wiebke Ebeling with ‘The Cosmic Adventures of Alice & Bob’


Be bold for change: International Women’s Day 2017

I was proud to continue our annual International Women’s Day celebrations on Friday 17 March, by taking part in the ‘Be bold for change’ breakfast panel discussion at Tim Winton Lecture Theatre. Joined by inspirational alumni Sharon Warburton (Chair and Non-Executive Company Director) and Joanne Abbis (CEO, City of Kwinana), I was delighted to have the opportunity to highlight the Athena Swan Project, aimed at advancing gender equity in STEMM- related fields. The initiative builds on our commitment to gender equity and our university-wide gender equity initiatives.  I would like to emphasise my personal commitment to gender equality and gender pay equity.

Curtin Provost John Cordery highlighted Curtin’s commitment to zero tolerance to violence, particularly violence against women. Curtin is proudly participating in the White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program, Australia’s national campaign to prevent violence against women.


With Joanne Abbiss, VC, Julie Adams (2016 Telstra Business Women of the Year award) and Sharon Warburton.


Outdoor networking breakfast at Tim Winton Lecture Theatre for International Women’s Day.

Raoul Wallenberg exhibition

I was pleased to attend the launch of the Raoul Wallenberg – To me there’s no other choice exhibition at Curtin University St Georges Terrace on 15 March. Swedish diplomat Wallenberg is renowned for leading a daring operation to save countless Jews from the Holocaust in the closing stages of World War II, when he was working at the Swedish Legation in Budapest. One of those he saved, Frank Vajda, spoke at the launch.

The very moving exhibition is being presented by the Swedish Institute and the Embassy of Sweden with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is open until 30 March, from 9 am to 5 pm weekdays and 10 am to 3 pm on Saturdays.

Wallenberg Exhibition

With Honorary Consul of Sweden to Western Australia Lisa Jahrsen, Wallenberg survivor Frank Vajda and Director of the John Curtin Gallery Chris Malcolm.

Nowruz / Norouz – Persian New Year

Nowruz marks the New Year and the beginning of spring across a vast geographical area that includes Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.  It is celebrated on 21 March every year.  Nowruz promotes the values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families, as well as reconciliation and neighbourliness, thus contributing to cultural diversity and friendship among peoples and various communities.

Help celebrate Nowruz on Friday 24 March at South Henderson (behind Higher Grounds coffee cart) between 10.30 am and 2 pm at an event that will feature Persian food, homemade sweets, books, gifts and handicrafts.



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