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Achievements and Announcements

Australian public law and human rights expert named new Dean of Law

Professor Wendy Lacey.UniSA has appointed internationally recognised expert in Australian public law and human rights, Professor Wendy Lacey (pictured right), as its new Dean of Law.

Prof Lacey, who has been with UniSA’s Law School since it was founded in 2007, was appointed from an international field of academic candidates and will take up the position next month.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says he is delighted with the appointment of someone who has proven herself internationally and locally.

“Wendy brings a real commitment to the University, but also a depth of experience, research and knowledge in her field,” Prof Lloyd says.

“I am very pleased that after a worldwide search, we found the best candidate for the job here at UniSA.”

Delighted with her appointment, Prof Lacey says she is looking forward to further building the reputation of the UniSA Law School in Australia and globally.

“It will be an exciting challenge to lead the School at this time of great opportunity and growth,” Prof Lacey says.

For more information on Prof Lacey’s appointment, see the related media release.

New Hawke Centre director

Jacinta Thompson.Former OzAsia Festival Director Jacinta Thompson (pictured right) will be the new Executive Director of the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre from the end of April, following the retirement of inaugural director, Elizabeth Ho.

The centre was established in 1997 in honour of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and is the flagship for UniSA’s intellectual engagement with the community.

UniSA’s Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says he is delighted to announce Thompson’s appointment to the helm of the Hawke Centre.

“Jacinta has extensive experience in high profile roles, engaging the community in the exploration and appreciation both of diverse cultures and across a broad spectrum of the arts,” Prof Lloyd says.

“Jacinta has been the Festival Director of the much-celebrated OzAsia Festival for over seven years, and prior to this held positions including programming executive for dance and theatre at the Adelaide Festival Centre, Executive Producer of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, and Education Manager at the Sydney Theatre Company.

“Her expertise will be particularly relevant in furthering the University’s community engagement as a university of enterprise and I warmly welcome her to UniSA.”

An alumnus of UniSA, Thompson says she is thrilled to be joining the Hawke Centre and the University.

“I greatly admire and value the work of the Hawke Centre and I am thrilled to be part of this unique and vital centre that is devoted to generating ideas and solutions to achieve cohesive, sustainable societies,” Thompson says.

Promoting the message ‘Think, Connect, Act’, the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre runs a public events program aimed at ‘strengthening democracy, valuing diversity and building our future’.

To see the upcoming free public events being hosted by the Hawke Centre, visit its events calendar website.

Arts grad chosen for prestigious photographic prize at National Gallery

Molly Harris.

Bachelor of Visual Arts (photography) graduate Molly Harris (pictured right) is one of 45 Australian artists chosen to be featured in the prestigious National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition.

Harris, who finished her degree at the end of last year, said she is excited that her work has been chosen for this competitive exhibition.

“I was blown away to be honest,” she said. “I really didn’t think I would actually get through.

“I’m really excited and humbled that my work was chosen. It’s nice to have validation that my work is exciting and interesting to other people, and this encourages me to pursue it.”

An example of Molly’s final year photography work.An example of Molly’s final year photography work.

Harris’s work documents people with heroin addictions – something she finds interesting but understands that it can be quite confronting to other people.

“It’s nice to find work that I find interesting and that other people – like the judges of this competition – are also interested in.”

The National Photographic Portrait Prize is an annual event intended to promote the very best in contemporary photographic portraiture by both professional and aspiring Australian photographers. The Gallery is offering a prize of $25,000 for the most outstanding photographic portrait.

The exhibition opened on March 21 at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra before travelling to other galleries in Australia.

“This exhibition is the most prestigious photography portrait award in Australia, a huge number of people enter and it is an honour simply to be chosen for the exhibition,” said UniSA Studio Head of Photography and New Media, Mark Kimber.

“Molly is one of our finest and most hard-working students ever, and we are very proud of her accomplishment.”

Harris is now considering postgraduate study at UniSA this year.

Angel Lopez appointed to Australian Cancer Research Foundation Committee

Angel Lopez.Centre for Cancer Biology co-director Professor Angel Lopez (pictured right) has been appointed to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation’s (ACRF) Medical Research Advisory Committee (MRAC).

Prof Lopez is one of 16 members of the MRAC, which is chaired by co-creator of the cervical cancer vaccine Professor Ian Frazer, and includes cancer scientists of the highest national and global repute.

Prof Lopez says his role on MRAC is to select and recommend the very best Australian research for funding by the Foundation, ensuring maximum impact and innovation in cancer prevention, diagnosis and cure.

“I’m excited to be joining the Foundation’s MRAC to tackle the task of funding the next possible breakthroughs in cancer,” he says.

Prof Lopez’s appointment to MRAC is for three years.

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation awards up to $10 million in research grants each year.

UniSA shines at construction competition in Texas

An image from the UniSA/Oklahoma University winning design. An image from the UniSA/Oklahoma University winning design.

For the second year running, UniSA students have teamed up with students from Oklahoma University to win a design and build competition in the United States.

Three UniSA students and a Program Director/Senior Lecturer travelled to Texas in February to take part in the Associated Schools of Construction Regional Competition (region 5), a competition held across the United States to test construction industry skills of university students.

For the second year, UniSA joined forces with Oklahoma University to field an international team in the competition.

Construction Management and Economics students Luke Ferme and Jake Harry along with Architectural Studies student Aaron Davies and their Oklahoma teammates had 16 hours to deliver a design for a church complex.

Dr Terence Lam, Program Director and Senior Lecturer in the School of Natural and Built Environments said the timeline of 16 hours was particularly challenging for the team.

“All the team members took the competition very seriously and deserve the prizes they won,” Dr Lam said.

“The students enjoyed the team work but most importantly, the international student exchange experience.

“Plans are already underway for next year’s competition with the possibility of the Oklahoma team members spending some time at UniSA before the competition.

“This would certainly be a good idea in regards to the team being able to meet in person and prepare for the competition, as well as the exchange benefits for their students.”

As well as taking out first place in the Design and Build Competition, Aaron Davies was awarded the best presenter prize.

“It is a great honour for UniSA to be awarded these prizes in what is a competitive program in the United States,” Dr Lam said.

“We are very thankful to the School of Natural and Built Environments and the School of Art, Architecture and Design for supporting this event which provides an excellent learning experience for the students.”

The winning UniSA and Oklahoma University team including (front row, fourth from left) Luke Ferme, Aaron Davies, and Jake Harry; and (front row, end right) Terence Lam.The winning UniSA and Oklahoma University team including (front row, fourth from left) Luke Ferme, Aaron Davies, and Jake Harry; and (front row, end right) Terence Lam.

New node paves way for nano-medicine

UniSA’s expertise in nanomaterials design, cell biology and engineering are at the forefront of a new Node in a $26 million ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology (CBN).

UniSA is one of four nodes of the Centre which is headquartered at Monash University.

UniSA Node Leader and Deputy Director of the Mawson Institute, Professor Nico Voelcker says the Centre will deliver breakthroughs in areas in which Australia has major strength, including diagnostics and imaging, smart biomaterials, vaccines and drug delivery.

“The research will see the biomedical advances such as the development of nano-sized drug delivery devices targeting tumours, immune cells,” Prof Voelcker says.

“At the same time, we will see the emergence of sensors that can diagnose diseases well before conventional methods can, or provide in-situ feedback on disease treatment efficiency.

“Fostering technology innovation and the sustained growth of high value manufacturing are critical for the Australian and South Australian economies.”

Fellow member of the node, Professor Thomas Nann says the breakthroughs delivered through the centre will be based on an advanced understanding of the fundamental science at the interface of engineered materials and biological systems.

UniSA’s involvement in the Centre has been backed by $300,000 in funding from the State Government’s Collaboration Pathway Program.

Local innovators take home international technology award

ITR Acting Director Jeff Kasparian and Senior Research Fellow David Haley accepting the award.ITR Acting Director Jeff Kasparian and Senior Research Fellow David Haley accepting the award.

Against some high-powered competition, UniSA’s Institute for Telecommunications Research (ITR) has won an international award for innovative communications technology.

ITR’s Global Sensor Network (GSN) has been voted Technology of the Year 2013 by the Wireless Innovation Forum, a non-profit 'mutual benefit corporation' dedicated to technology innovation in commercial, civil, and defence communications around the world.

The GSN won the award against some strong competition from NASA, which was nominated for a communication system, developed for the International Space Station.

GSN technical director, Dr David Haley says the GSN was developed for remote data collection and bidirectional communication via low earth orbit satellites.

ITR Acting Director, Jeff Kasparian and Senior Research Fellow and GSN Technical Director, Dr Haley both accepted the award at the Wireless Innovation Forum's annual WinnComm Conference in Illinois.

"The GSN program represents a significant outcome, with contributions from 28 academics and engineers within ITR. I'm immensely proud of what David and his team have achieved,” Kasparian says.

GSN partners included COM DEV (Canada) and SAGE Automation, CSIRO, DSTO and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. The development of the Global Sensor Network was assisted by funding from the Federal Government’s Australian Space Research Program.

New study looks at downsizing options for seniors

Elderly lady sitting in a gardenHousing is one of the major challenges for our ageing population, according to the Australian Government’s Advisory Panel for Positive Ageing. But a new joint University of Western Australia-UniSA study is set find out how to ease the transition from a large family home to a more suitable and often smaller home while maintaining senior citizens’ independence.

Led by Professor Wendy Lacey, the study will investigate what obstacles senior citizens face when considering housing options. She says the study will assist in informing planning laws and policy, with the aim of reducing the barriers senior citizens encounter when downsizing.

“We want to find out why people do or more importantly don’t choose to downsize,” Prof Lacey says.

“We suspect a lack of appropriate housing options within an older person’s existing area is the problem, along with impediments caused by existing planning laws which deter the development of suitable and innovative housing for people to downsize to.

“Often people want to downsize but they don’t necessarily want to move into retirement villages.”

Researchers are currently looking for people over 50 years of age to take part in the study. Participation involves an interview, with questions relating to the reasons why seniors choose to or not to downsize and what needs to be done from a legal, planning and/or policy perspective to enhance the options for downsizing.

To participate, contact Professor Wendy Lacey on (08) 8302 7127 or wendy.lacey@unisa.edu.au.

Australian cities app launches

Bill Cooper with the Australian Cities app.Bill Cooper with the Australian Cities app.

An app that provides users with information about what to experience, eat and drink, and how to get around Australia’s capital cities has been launched by a former UniSA staff member who still retains strong links with the University.

Bill Cooper, currently doing IT contract work for the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment and formerly the IT manager for the Institute for Telecommunications Research, has published his Australian Cities app in the Apple App store and is currently working on an Android version.

“It’s an invaluable app for everybody who lives in or visits any of Australia’s capital cities,” he said.

"It is particularly useful for recently arrived overseas students and tourists, as it is packed full of information on what to see and do, eat and drink, and how to get around – all with in-app web and map display, including the distance from you to the place of interest, and in the 'What’s On’ section there are dynamic updates of current and future events. These include upcoming arts, theatre, concerts, festivals, sports and more.”

He says one powerful feature of the app allows the user to share details of any of the events and attractions directly via Facebook, Twitter, email and text.