19 December 2001
On 28 November I met with the new Minister for Science, the Hon Peter McGauran MP. During the meeting I reiterated matters in the Academy's document Priorities in Research and Innovation for the next Australian Government and received a good hearing.
On 29 November the Academy's Executive Committee met in the den of the Dean of Science, University of Melbourne. That evening, members of EXCOM joined the Victorian Regional Group of Fellows, spouses and friends at the annual Christmas Dinner in the Rainforest Room of Melbourne Zoological Gardens, where I gave the after-dinner address. A brass band was one of the highlights of the night; their rendition of the old Beatles favourite 'When I'm 64' was particularly appreciated!
With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
Brian D O Anderson
I offer my congratulations to Allan Snyder, Director of the Centre for the Mind and Head of the Optical Sciences Centre at the ANU, who has become the first Australian to be awarded the prestigious $200,000 Marconi Prize. Allan shares the prize with Dr Herwig Kogelnik of Bell Laboratories. (More information is available at www.centreforthemind.com/newsmedia/whatshot/marconiprize.htm.)
VICTORIAN REGIONAL GROUP
On 29 November members of the Academy's Executive Committee were joined in Melbourne by the Victorian Convenor, Geoff Opat, and by Graham Mitchell in a meeting with government officers from the Victorian Department of State and Regional Development. Mr Neil Edwards, Secretary of the Department, welcomed the meeting as the beginning of a special liaison between the State Government of Victoria and the Academy. It is expected that a working group of Victorian Fellows will advise on matters of science and technology and related matters of research, development and education. Senior government officers from the Science, Technology and Innovation Division and from Multimedia Victoria also attended the meeting. Discussion ranged from how best to develop the Synchrotron Radiation Source as a national facility through to improving federal and state cooperation in science and technology. One idea was that the current Commonwealth, States and Territories Advisory Council on Innovation (CSTACI) could be upgraded by the attendance of State Science Ministers at CSTACI meetings. This would facilitate two-way exchange of science policy between the States and Commonwealth.
IAN WARK MEDAL PRESENTATION
A very happy time was had on the evening of 7 December. We had a double celebration - the Canberra Fellows Christmas dinner and the presentation of the 2001 Ian Wark Medal to Dr Ken McCracken. The Wark Medal recognises the contribution by the late Sir Ian Wark to the application of science to industry and honours scientists who have followed in his footsteps.
Ken gave an address which was both humorous and thought-provoking. We were provided with many fine examples of how Ken and his colleagues have applied science to industry - with results that have contributed signficantly to mineral exploration in Australia.
I reported in my last note that the Academy has set up a committee to help develop a position statement in respect of ethical issues in sponsored biomedical research and to determine whether a similar position statement should be developed for sponsored research more generally. The Committee met for the first time on 11 December and agreed that in addressing conflict of interest in the conduct of research, it is important to differentiate between ethical issues and matters that are management problems for individual institutions.
The Committee considered that there would be value in universities coordinating their policies and guidelines on the management of conflicts of interest. With respect to ethical issues, the committee will attempt to identify other national initiatives in this area and bring together interested people and organisations in a forum on the topic of conflict of interest and the conduct of research.
SIR MARK OLIPHANT INTERNATIONAL FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE SERIES
Fellows have recently been sent an announcement seeking expressions of interest for the first Sir Mark Oliphant International Frontiers of Science and Technology Conference Series being managed by the Australian Academy of Science, the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, with the support of the Institution of Engineers. The conference is to be held in 2002 and approximately $100,000 will be made available.
Expressions of interest are due by Friday 1 February 2002 and should be sent to the International Programs Officer, Nancy Pritchard, by phone: (02) 6247 3966, fax: (02) 6257 4620, or email :firstname.lastname@example.org
JOINT WORKSHOP WITH FRENCH ACADEMY OF SCIENCE
The Academy and the French Academy of Sciences have discussed the possibility of holding a small joint workshop in 2002-2003. I would like to invite Fellows to suggest possible workshop topics of mutual interest to both Academies.
Please send your suggestions to the International Programs Officer, Nancy Pritchard, by phone: (02) 6247 3966, fax: (02) 6257 4620, or email email@example.com
I extend my warm wishes to the following award winners:
Burnet Medal and Lecture Professor Barry Marshall FAA (UWA)
Craig Medal Professor Lew Mander FAA (ANU)
Selby Travelling Fellowship Dr Leonard Smith (London School of Economics)
Graeme Caughley Travelling Fellowship Mr John Parkes (Landcare Research, NZ)
Junior researchers (<40 years)
Inaugural Dorothy Hill Award Dr Annette George (UWA)
Fenner Medal Dr Sandra Orgeig (Adelaide University)
Gottschalk Medal Dr Merlin Crossley (University of Sydney)
Frederick White Prize Dr Leon Rotstayn (CSIRO Atmospheric Research)
Le Fevre Prize Professor Max Lu (University of Queensland)
The Pawsey and Mawson medallists will be announced at a later date
The Europe Exchange Committee met in October and assessed ninety applications. A total of 23 researchers was selected to travel to Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the UK.
The Asia and Postdoctoral Exchange Committees met in November and selected seven Australian researchers to travel to Korea, five to Taiwan, six to China, nine to Japan on short and medium-term visits, and fifteen Japan Postdoctoral Fellows.
The North America Committee met last week and selected fourteen researchers to travel to the USA and three to Canada.
AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES INTERNATIONAL ALUMNI CONVENTION
The 2002 Australian Universities International Alumni Convention (AUIAC) will be held from 5-7 September at the Hotel Sofitel, Melbourne. The inaugural AUIAC began with the Malaysian Australian University Alumni Convention in October 1996 in Kuala Lumpur and has now become a biennial Convention, being held in Adelaide in 1998, Kuching, Sarawak in 2000 and now Melbourne in 2002. Apart from enhancing relations between Australia and countries in the region, AUIAC has led to some constructive initiatives as far as Malaysia is concerned. Arising out of the proceeds of the Kuching Convention, Sarawak State, the Malaysia Australia Foundation and the Malaysian Australian Alumni Council have launched the reverse Colombo Plan Scholarship Scheme in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Colombo Plan this year. This will enable Australian students to study in Malaysia starting in 2002. I would encourage you to consider attending AUIAC 2002.
1 February: Expressions of interest due for Sir Mark Oliphant International Frontiers of Science and Technology Conference Series (see details above).
President, Professor Brian Anderson
phone (02) 6125 8667, fax (02) 6125 8688, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary (Physical Sciences), Professor Bruce McKellar
phone (03) 9344 5122, mailto:email@example.com
Secretary (Biological Sciences), Professor John Young
phone (02) 9351 4600, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary (Science Policy), Professor Michael Barber
phone (08) 9380 2460, mailto:email@example.com
Foreign Secretary, Professor Kurt Lambeck
phone (02) 6125 5161, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer, Professor Ian McDougall
phone (02) 6125 4136, mailto:Ian.McDougall@anu.edu.au