UoN News

Filed under News, UoN ~ by Press on  23 Sep 2019

Newcastle nanotechnologist awarded prestigious international lecture.

Professor Ajayan Vinu has been awarded the highly coveted C.N. Rao Distinguished Lecture on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT) Bombay – the highest ranked university in India*.

In his lecture, Advanced Nano-materials for clean energy, environment, and health, Professor Vinu will present the development, capabilities, and current and future applications of nanotechnology for various fields including clean energy generation and carbon capture. 

Professor Vinu will discuss how nanotechnologies can deliver successful energy, environment and health solutions – such as converting carbon dioxide into clean fuel with only sunlight and water, developing innovative devices for energy storage and conversion, and designing advanced drug delivery systems for cancer treatment.

Continuing his global work, Professor Vinu has also been selected for the SPARC (Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration) award, enabling him and his research team to visit and collaborate with the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, in Bhopal. 

Professor Vinu is the Global Innovation Chair Professor for Advanced Nanomaterials and the Director of the Global Innovative Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials at the University of Newcastle.

Professor Vinu – Global Innovation Chair Professor for Advanced Nanomaterials and the Director of the Global Innovative Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials at the University of Newcastle
Communities shape but don’t determine student aspirations

Communities exert a powerful influence on young people’s aspirations for university education, according to new research led by the University of Newcastle, Australia.

The study, funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE), found consistently high student aspirations for university across a diverse range of Australian communities. 

Eight case study communities represented broad population demographics, with variations in socioeconomic status (SES), ethnicity, geographic location, employment, and average level of education.

Lead researcher Laureate Professor Jenny Gore said, across all of the communities surveyed, higher education was the most popular educational aspiration.

Aspirations for university were high in many disadvantaged communities, which challenges the simplistic view that young people from target equity groups have low aspirations for their futures,” Professor Gore said.

Rather than focusing on raising aspirations, it may be more productive to consider how these ambitions might end up being eroded or compromised, and what could be done to better support students’ aspirations.”

The research showed that living in a particular community did not determine educational and career pathways; a complex interplay between geographic, structural and relational elements shaped aspirations and capacity for young people to pursue higher education.

Collective efforts should aim to raise student awareness and exposure to education and careers, while providing the tools for them to realise their goals,” Professor Gore said.

We recommend the provision of local work experience, community role models, accessible scholarships, and outreach activities tailored to local contexts, not just target equity groups.”

The report also proposed that schools could function as “community hubs”, providing a base for online delivery of courses and “taster” sessions for tertiary education.

Across all the case studies, young people aimed to exceed the general educational and career outcomes of their communities, but SES had a significant bearing on aspirations to high-status careers.

Students in high SES urban communities aspired to more prestigious occupations on average, in comparison to students living in regional and remote communities or those characterised by disadvantage,” Professor Gore said.

We also found aspirations were highly gendered with females more inclined toward university, rather than vocational pathways. Males tended to favour sports-related careers, the police, defence forces and engineering, while females commonly aspired to be teachers, veterinarians and to work in the arts.”

NCSEHE Director Professor Sue Trinidad said the research was particularly relevant in policy and program design to engage disadvantaged students in higher education.

Nurturing aspirations is critical in widening participation among less advantaged students, and it is encouraging to see that higher education is perceived as a realistic goal across all groups,” Professor Trinidad said.

Families, teachers, community leaders and universities can work together to foster those aspirations, with consideration for students’ complex backgrounds and personal influences.”

The full report, Community influence on university aspirations: Does it take a village…?  is available here

Vice-Chancellor Professor Zelinsky to share innovation success secrets.

What drives an innovative idea to become a successful solution? 

In a free public talk, the University of Newcastle’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, will share valuable insights on innovation as he reflects on lessons learnt in his career spanning leadership in industry, government, and now the university sector.

In an inspiring lecture, Think Big, Start Small and Move Quickly: Ways to Make Things Happen, Professor Zelinsky will draw upon examples of technology successes and failures during his career.

A unique opportunity for attendees, Professor Zelinsky will outline the drivers of innovation success and argue that a big vision is needed to tackle the important problems that we face as a nation.

Professor Alex Zelinsky AO is Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Newcastle, joining the University in November 2018. Prior to this he was Chief Defence Scientist leading Defence Science and Technology, and Group Executive for Information Sciences at CSIRO.

Professor Zelinsky’s lecture is part of the University’s New Professors Talk – a series of public lectures featuring subject matter experts speaking on topics of community relevance.

The free event will be held at Newcastle Conservatorium on Thursday 26 September, with networking from 5pm and the talk beginning at 6pm. Registration is essential via Eventbrite.

For more information on the talk visit this page.

‘Newcastle Sonnets’ shortlisted for Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

Newcastle Sonnets’, a book by poet and senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Dr Keri Glastonbury, has been shortlisted in the poetry section of the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

The awards celebrate Australian writing across six genres, selecting exceptional works from Australia’s talented authors, illustrators, creators and historians.

In the sequence of sonnets that compose her homage to Newcastle, Dr Glastonbury celebrates the city’s oddities and contradictions, remixing the material effects of post-industrial gentrification with the vernacular of social media.

Judges of the awards described Keri Glastonbury’s Newcastle Sonnets as a “post-industrial love song to the city of Newcastle: once working-class heartland, now a world-topping hipster cities.”

It’s a great feeling of recognition for Newcastle Sonnets and I feel like I’ve made my own small contribution to the world of Australian letters, using Newcastle as a crucible,” said Dr Glastonbury.

University of Newcastle ~ global leader in engineering

Ranking above Harvard, Stanford and Cambridge universities, the University of Newcastle has established itself as global leader in the field of automation and control.

Delivered by the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, the University’s Automation and Control subject has ranked eighth in the world in this year’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

From driverless cars to smart electricity networks and artificial organs, well-designed feedback control provides robust, reliable, and efficient systems by choosing corrective actions based on available data.

With less than half of engineers working in Australia being trained here, the University of Newcastle is leading the charge to address Australia’s engineering skills shortage and keep up with global advances in the field. 

The ARWU, also known as Shanghai Ranking, is regarded as one of the most influential and widely observed university rankings.

For more information on the ranking, or to learn more about studying Engineering at the University visit  www.newcastle.edu.au/automation.

*Shanghai Ranking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019

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