23 January 2008
The Academy’s policy statement Research and Innovation in Australia, released in the lead-up to the federal election, made a number of recommendations including a well-argued case that ‘the research fellowship awards be substantially expanded, particularly for early- and mid-career researchers’. We are most gratified that the newly-formed government has acknowledged this pressing need with a commitment to provide 1000 Future Fellowships to mid-career researchers by 2012.
To mark this development, the Academy is hosting a workshop entitled Enhancing the quality of the experience of postdocs and early career researchers on 14 and 15 February at the Shine Dome in Canberra. The initiative, supported by the Australian Research Council, will address the many challenges involved in managing a successful and rewarding career in research.
I was pleased to invite the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, to open the workshop as one of his first ministerial responsibilities. We look forward to hearing more details about the Minister’s charter for public research agencies for independence in research. The program for the workshop for early-career researchers is available at www.science.org.au/events/14-15february08
In other activities for early career researchers, the Academy is organising an Australian Frontiers of Science Symposium on 21 and 22 February at the Shine Dome in Canberra. The aim of the symposium is to bring together the very best among our younger scientists to discuss emerging technologies, new opportunities and exciting cutting-edge advances in their disciplines. A draft program is available at www.science.org.au/events/frontiers2008
Once again, the Academy will support seven outstanding PhD students to meet with Nobel Laureates at the 2008 conference in Lindau. On this occasion the topic is physics, with the Australian delegation being led by Professor Ron Ekers.
With best wishes,
ACADEMY ANNOUNCES AWARDS FOR SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE
Career research awards
The Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture for research in the biological sciences – Professor Richard Shine, FAA, University of Sydney
The David Craig Medal for research in chemistry – Professor Leo Radom, FAA, University of Sydney
The Ian Wark Medal and Lecture for scientific contributions to Australia’s prosperity – Dr Alan Reid, FAA, formerly CSIRO Institute of Minerals, Energy and Construction
The Mawson Medal and Lecture for research in the Earth sciences – Professor Peter Cawood, University of Western Australia
The Academy is also pleased to announce that Professor Bruce McKellar, FAA, from the University of Melbourne is the winner of the 2009 Matthew Flinders Medal and Lecture.
Early-career research awards (for researchers under forty years of age)
The Dorothy Hill Award for female researchers in the Earth sciences field – Dr Sandra McLaren, University of Melbourne
The Fenner Medal for research in biology (excluding the biomedical sciences) – Dr Michael McCarthy, University of Melbourne
The Frederick White Prize for physical, terrestrial and planetary sciences – Dr Ronald Smernik, University of Adelaide
The inaugural Ruth Stephens Gani Medal for research in human genetics – Dr Vanessa Hayes, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
The Gottschalk Medal for research in the medical sciences – Dr Gabrielle Belz, Walter and Eliza Hall Medical Institute
The Le Fèvre Memorial Prize for basic research in chemistry – Dr Stuart Batten, Monash University
The Pawsey Medal for research in physics – Dr Kostya (Ken) Ostrikov, University of Sydney
Graeme Caughley Travelling Fellowship for research in ecology and wildlife management – Dr Doug Armstrong, Massey University, NZ
Selby Fellowship – Professor Robert B Gennis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Rudi Lemberg Travelling Fellowship – Professor John Allen, Queen Mary, University of London
Endangered Species Fund Awards
Mr Aaron Fenner, Flinders University
Dr Gerhard Kortner, University of New England
Dr Ivan Lawler, James Cook University
Dr Peter Gill, Australocetus Research
Ms Arian Wallach, University of Adelaide
J G Russell Awards
Dr Ben McNeil, University of New South Wales
Dr Marcel Cardillo, Australian National University
Dr Jenny Pringle, Monash University
Further information about the Academy awards and recipients is available from www.science.org.au/awards
SCIENCE BY DOING
In the week January 14–18, 2008 the professional learning workshops for the Science by Doing pilot program were held. Sixty-five teachers from 33 secondary schools around the country attended the program in Canberra. Also in attendance were Science Policy Officers from all states and territories and a representative from each of the Catholic Education Commission, the Middle Years of Schooling Association and the Independent Schools Association. The Science by Doing initiative is supported by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
Participants were introduced to inquiry-based science education, and to the Academy’s web-based curriculum resources: Rock Paper, Scissors and Moving Together. During the week teachers from the 11 different regions worked together to build mini-professional learning communities that will continue beyond the workshop. The website at www.sciencebydoing.org.au will soon be completed and the teachers will trial the Academy’s curriculum in junior secondary science classes.
The third and final year of Stage 3 of the PrimaryConnections project has commenced and the year ahead will be a busy one indeed.
During 2008, a further 11 curriculum units will be published taking the complete set to a total of 19 units. The next pair of units to be released will be Schoolyard safari, a Stage 1 unit in the Life and Living strand of learning, and Package it better, a Stage 3 unit in the Natural and Processed Materials strand. There are now only two units remaining to be trialled which will occur in term 1.
At the end of 2007, 23 PrimaryConnections professional learning facilitators were surveyed about the Academy’s draft professional learning materials. The responses to this survey will be used to inform the revised 2008 edition that will be distributed to the nearly 400 trained professional learning facilitators.
In February and March, Malaysian and Thai educators will attend a two-day PrimaryConnections Curriculum Leader workshop which is being hosted by the NSW Department of Education and Training (north Sydney region). The educators will actively participate in the workshop and report back to their respective authorities on whether the program could be widely implemented in their countries.
AUSTRALIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCE TEACHER AWARDS
Each year the Academy sponsors a teacher from each state and territory to attend its annual Science at the Shine Dome conference in Canberra. The conference activities include the New Fellows seminar, awards presentation, education workshop and annual symposium, Dangerous climate change: Is it inevitable? Applications forms are available from www.science.org.au/sats2008/ta and the closing date is Monday 10 March.
ENHANCING THE QUALITY OF THE EXPERIENCE OF POSTDOCS AND EARLY CAREER RESEARCHERS
The Academy is organising a workshop on 14–15 February for some of our best early- to mid-career scientists and senior scientists to address the many challenges in managing a rewarding career in research. A draft program is available from www.science.org.au/events/14-15february08
AUSTRALIAN FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM
The Academy will hold this symposium in Canberra on 21–22 February 2008. It is an exciting initiative that provides the opportunity for early career scientists to be involved in activities of the Academy. The program is available from www.science.org.au/events/frontiers2008
AUSTRALIAN–EUROPEAN COOPERATION IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH (COST)
The Academy invites applications from Australian researchers to be involved in EU COST Actions. Grants provided are to attend discussions and meetings in FY 2007–08 that foster scientific collaborations with colleagues participating in COST actions in Europe. Applications are funded in chronological order of receipt until funds have been committed. Further information is available from www.science.org.au/internat/cost.htm
AUSTRALIA–KOREA EARLY CAREER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY RESEARCHERS PROGRAM
Nominations are sought from Australian early-career researchers to participate in a two month program in Korea from April 2008 to June 2008. The closing date is Friday 1 February.
POSTDOCTORAL AND INVITATION FELLOWSHIPS TO JAPAN
Applications are invited for postdoctoral and invitation fellowships to Japan. The closing date is 8 February. Further information www.science.org.au/internat/programs
AUSTRALIAN LEADERSHIP AWARDS FELLOWSHIPS
The third round of the Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Fellowships scheme managed by AusAID is open to applications. ALA Fellowships provide funding for Australian organisations to host leaders or mid-career professionals from eligible countries in the Asia-Pacific region, for short-term specialised research, leadership training or professional attachments, delivered in Australia. Funding is available of up to $35,000 per fellow and there is no set limit on the number of fellows. Applications close 3 March, and mobilisation of successful applications will commence from June 2008. Further information and guidelines are available from www.australianscholarships.gov.au All enquiries should be directed to AusAID at www.ausaid.gov.au/about/contact.cfm
FUNDING TO STAGE SIR MARK OLIPHANT CONFERENCES IN AUSTRALIA
Applications for funding to hold Sir Mark Oliphant International Frontiers of Science and Technology conferences in Australia between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2009 are now open. The closing date for applications is Monday 18 February. Further information www.oliphant.org.au/application.html
NATIONAL COMMITTEES FOR SCIENCE
National Committee for Nutrition
The Committee has prepared a series of question and answers about the status of iodine deficiency in Australia. Further information is available from www.science.org.au/natcoms/nc-nutrition/nc-nutrition-iodine.htm
National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science
Submissions are being invited for the National Museum of Australia Student Prize for the History of Australian Science 2008. The National Museum of Australia and the Academy’s National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science jointly award an annual prize for the best student essay in the history of Australian science or Australian environmental history. The prize is a certificate and $2500. The closing date for submissions is 28 February. For further information see www.science.org.au/natcoms/hps-award-has
National Committee for Astronomy
The United Nations 62nd General Assembly has proclaimed 2009 as the International
Year of Astronomy (IYA). IYA2009 will be a year-long, community-based celebration of the science, history and cultural impact of astronomy for people throughout the world, and will draw attention to the night sky as the heritage of all humanity.
Ninety-nine countries have signed up to take part in IYA2009. In Australia, planning for the
Year is being carried out under the auspices of the National Committee for Astronomy. IYA2009 is an initiative of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which represents the world’s professional astronomers, and UNESCO. For more information, contact Professor Matthew Colless, Chair of the National Committee for Astronomy, on 02 9372 4812 (office) or 02 9630 0234 (home). The IAU statement, including text of UN Resolution is available from www.iau.org/iau0702.486.0.html and the International IYA website is at www.astronomy2009.org
National Committee for Plant and Animal Science
The Committee prepared a statement for the Academy on responsible and ethical use of gene technologies to produce genetically modified plants for use in Australian agriculture. The statement can be found at www.science.org.au/policy/gene-tech
DEVELOPMENT OF AN AUSTRALIAN SCIENTIFIC ROADMAP FOR THE HYDROGEN ECONOMY
The Academy will release a report in February 2008 on Development of an Australian scientific roadmap for the hydrogen economy. It examines Australia’s contribution to research into hydrogen as a future energy carrier and use in fuel cells through a bibliometric analysis of the published research literature. It was funded by an Australian Research Council Learned Academies Special Projects grant.
The study finds that although Australian research is a minor contributor to this fast moving field, Australian researchers can make significant contributions, such as in hydrogen storage materials, carbon capture and storage, and solar-thermal reforming of natural gas. The report also makes a number of recommendations for increased government support for hydrogen energy research and coordination.
The report follows on from The Academy’s annual symposium, Science on the way to the hydrogen economy, held on 5 May 2006 and convened by Professor Michael Barber FAA.
The symposium proceedings are available at www.science.org.au/sats2006/symposium
For further information about the report contact Joe Hlubucek on 02 6201 9448 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FIRE DEVASTATES INSTITUTE OF BIOCHEMISTRY IN CHILE
The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) has drawn the Academy’s attention to the following:
‘On December 3, 2007, a fire devastated the School of Sciences of the Universidad Austral de Chile, one of the Institutes of Biochemistry of Chile. Luckily, nobody was hurt but there is a big concern that many graduate students will not be able to complete their thesis.
The IUBMB has expressed its solidarity and at the same time will try to facilitate the relocation of students to host laboratories and/ or give the Institute some financial support to ease the immediate costs caused by the destruction of the laboratories.
Support from the IUBMB will be provided, but at the same time an appeal is made to the scientific community to help the Institute of Biochemistry of Chile in any possible form (hosting students, providing financial support, providing chemicals, computers and software, and whatever else may be needed).’
See www.iubmb.org/index.php?id=219 for further details.
The December issue of the Academy newsletter is available online at www.science.org.au/newsletters
DIARY DATES 2008
31 January. The National Committee for Chemistry will be joined by Professor Bryan Henry, IUPAC President, for their meeting from 12.30pm to 5pm. Ian Potter House, Gordon St, Canberra, ACT.
2–6 February. The first joint meeting of the Biophysical Society and the International Union of Pure and Applied Biophysics. Long Beach, California, USA. Details available from Yvonne Butters at email@example.com
8 February. Meeting of the National Committee for Physics, University of NSW, Sydney.
10–12 February. National Committee for Radio Science 7th Workshop on Applications of Radio Science (WARS08). Gold Coast, Queensland. See www.ncrs.org.au/ for more information.
11 February–11 April. The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research International Science Linkages Competitive Grants round is open. See www.dest.gov.au/science/isl/
11–12 February. Symposium Biosecurity challenges for Australia and its region. John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra. For details see http://biosecurity.anu.edu.au/pdf/Call%20for%20Abstracts.pdf or contact Patricia Gray on 02 6125 9009 or firstname.lastname@example.org
14–15 February. Enhancing the quality of the experience of postdocs and early career researchers. Australian Academy of Science Workshop, The Shine Dome, Canberra.
17–21 February. Old forests, new management. The Sir Mark Oliphant Conferences: International Frontiers of Science and Technology. Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart. Further information is available from www.oliphant.org.au/oldforests2008/default.htm
20 February. A Building tomorrow’s engineers, will discuss the future development and requirements of the engineering profession. ANZ Pavillion, The Arts Centre, Melbourne. To register or for further information go to www.bhert.com/events_UpcomingEvents.htm
21–22 February. Australian Frontiers of Science. The Shine Dome, Canberra. More information is available from www.science.org.au/events/frontiers2008 or contact Fenja Theden at email@example.com
4 March. Public lecture in the Safeguarding Australia series by Dr Martyn Jeggo, Australian Animal Health Laboratory. The Shine Dome, Canberra.
31 March–3 April. CSIRO Office of the Chief Executive is organising a symposium, Fibrous proteins: transforming structural knowledge into new materials to be held at the Melbourne Business School, Mount Eliza, Melbourne. For further information, registration forms or contact details of the organisers go to www.csiro.au/events/FibrousProteinsConference
1 April. Public lecture in the Safeguarding Australia series by Dr John Manners, CSIRO Plant Industry. The Shine Dome, Canberra.
9–11 April. Vaccine and Immunotherapy Technologies, Sir Mark Oliphant Conferences: International Frontiers of Science and Technology. The Shine Dome, Canberra. A program is available from www.oliphant.org.au/april2008.html
7–9 May. Science at the Shine Dome annual symposium Dangerous climate change: Is it inevitable? The Shine Dome, Canberra. Program www.science.org.au/sats2008/symposium
24–30 August. The 22nd International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics will be hosted by the Adelaide Theoretical and Applied Mechanics community. Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide. A list of important dates is available from http://ictam2008.adelaide.edu.au/ Contact Jim Denier, Chair, National Committee for Mechanical Sciences, Secretary General ICTAM 2008 on firstname.lastname@example.org
16–19 November. Medical bionics – a new paradigm for human health, Sir Mark Oliphant Conferences: International Frontiers of Science and Technology. The Bionic Ear Institute, Melbourne.
Academy delegates will be attending the following international meetings:
International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics General Assembly, 4 February 2008, Long Beach, California. Delegates: Professor Cris dos Remedios, Associate Professor Brett Hambly.
COUNCIL MEMBERS (www.science.org.au/academy/council/officers)
President, Kurt Lambeck
phone (02) 6125 5445, fax (02) 6125 5443, email@example.com
Secretary (Physical Sciences), Robert Frater
phone (02) 8884 2338, firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary (Biological Sciences), Graham Farquhar
phone (02) 6125 3743, email@example.com
Secretary (Science Policy), Philip Kuchel
phone (02) 9351 3709, firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary (Education and Public Awareness), Julie Campbell
phone (07) 3365 4658, email@example.com
Foreign Secretary, Jenny Graves
phone (02) 6125 2492, firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer, Phil McFadden
phone (02) 6249 9612, email@example.com
Acting Treasurer, Michael Dopita
phone (02) 02 6125 0212, firstname.lastname@example.org