SCU Research Week hits the mark

Published in the August 2016 issue

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Research Week was celebrated in style across Southern Cross University earlier this month with all three campuses hosting activities.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said a rich program of world-class research, events and activities was held across five days at the Gold Coast, Lismore and Coffs Harbour campuses and nearby locations.

Murray d'Almeida, Geraldine Mackenzie and QLD Chief Scientist Dr Geoff Garrett

Murray d’Almeida, Professor Geraldine Mackenzie and QLD Chief Scientist Dr Geoff Garrett

“Research Week was an outstanding success, providing a platform to celebrate and showcase the diverse range of research carried out across all disciplines,” Professor Mackenzie said.

“The week ran alongside the Byron Writers Festival and the 10th Annual Michael Kirby Lecture, with these two wonderful events central for the School of Arts and Social Sciences and School of Law and Justice.”

The annual celebration included a citizen science beach clean-up, keynote lectures, plant science industry day for producers and processors, awards, visual displays and laboratory tours, with researchers welcoming  community, local organisations and industry representatives.

Signature events included: ‘Peering into the Blue’ at the University’s National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour, which highlighted specialist marine infrastructure and research; an industry engagement breakfast in Lismore with CEO of the Regional Australia Institute Jack Archer; and keynote address by Queensland Chief Scientist Dr Geoff Garrett AO FTSE at the Gold Coast as the main drawcards.

Dr Garrett’s talk ‘Snakes and Ladders and the Innovation Business, captivated, challenged and inspired the packed lecture theatre and video-linked audience, calling on ‘collabora-nauts’ to transform and disrupt the current model of research and organisational structure. He said there were two keys in making an impact: “story-telling and relationships”.

“Companies such as Uber know the value of a ‘we organisation’ where every worker has a share in the business and therefore own it together,” he said during the public lecture.

“The best research happens in strange inter-disciplinary boundary-crossing areas. We need to jump out of our comfort zones before being pushed.

“Scientists tend to overcomplicate things, which creates a problem of mismatch between the beliefs of researchers and the public. Scientists need to find ways to tell stories in the same way historians and philosophers do – there is plenty to be learned from each other.”

The institutional finals for the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) and 5 Minute Research Pitch (5RP) saw 10 postgraduate students and five academic staff, respectively, share their research, with a time and slide limit.

Chris Sullivan from the School of Arts and Social Science won the 3MT, with Jeanette Balindong, Southern Cross Plant Science, and Rumia Tasmim, School of Environment, Science and Engineering, as joint runners-up. 3MT People’s Choice winner was Mitchell Kirby from the School of Environment, Science and Engineering. Dr Naomi Wells from the School of Environment, Science and Engineering and Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau from Southern Cross GeoScience won the 5MT groups, with Dr Chris Stevens from the School of Health and Human Sciences as runner-up. Dr Wells was also named 5RP People’s Choice.

Professor Mackenzie said the winners will represent Southern Cross University in the national finals of their respective competitions.

“The overall high quality of the presentations and research content demonstrated the diversity and excellent of our research at the university,” she said.


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