Volume 6, Edition 7 – December 2010
ATN in PROFILE
Australia’s student visa system is more complex, more costly and more prescriptive than its international competitors, threatening to permanently derail the nation’s 3rd largest export industry unless urgent action is taken by Government to simplify the current system.
At the beginning of 2011, universities will be negotiating with Government the first full iteration of triennial mission-based compacts. In its response to the draft compact template, the ATN has supported the intent behind compacts, however has emphasised that it is important for their focus to be on outcomes, rather than processes.
The ATN welcomed the recent announcement by Senator Evans that the introduction of legislation establishing the new Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) will take place early in 2011, once the form and operations of the agency have been further refined. The ATN has long believed that Australia should focus on what it takes to produce a world‐class university system.
Developing strategies for building Australia’s research and innovation workforce will be the focus of the first of two ATN Symposia in 2011. Hosted by the University of South Australia on Wednesday 2 February 2011 the Building Australia’s Research and Innovation Workforce Symposium will focus on priorities and actions to develop attractive academic careers at ATN Universities.
Building on collaborations that first began three years ago with the establishment of the Australia-China NanoNetwork, an Australia/China Joint Laboratory on Nanoscience will be established within the Suzhou Industry Park in Jiangsu Province, China.
Australia-China NanoNetwork researchers have received a US$100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support an innovative global health research project conducted titled “Nanochip Biosensor for Infectious Diseases and Malaria.”
Innovative curriculum, student support and indigenous education were just three of eight accolades awarded to ATN universities in the 2010 Australian Awards for Teaching Excellence. Curtin and QUT featured prominently in the honour roll in a ceremony presided over by Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education in Canberra last month.
ATN universities have a strong reputation for their international focus – not only in teaching overseas students, but also in building partnerships with other countries that benefit local communities and strengthen international relationships.
Demonstrating that commitment, Professor David Wood, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) at Curtin University, has been recognised for his contribution to education in Vietnam with the county’s most prestigious education honour.
Demonstrating the type of targeted research capability that has made ATN universities leaders in their fields of expertise, UniSA’s Institute for Telecommunications Research will be leading the charge in developing a new satellite-based wireless sensor network to provide Australia with an improved capacity to collect information vital for industry, defence, the environment and national security.
The ATN congratulates Dr Katherine Trinajstic, Research Fellow from Curtin University’s School of Science, who was recently awarded the prestigious Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year in the 2010 Prime Minister’s Science Prizes.
Ten ATN researchers have been among those selected in the 2010 round of the Australian Research Council Future Fellowships scheme to promote research in areas of critical national importance.