July 2019 Newsletter


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Note from the Manager

It’s been a busy time for SIEF since our last newsletter. While several of our CSIRO Gift programs are reaching their natural end, the activities funded by our other gifts and endowments are beginning to gain momentum. The CSIRO-Macquarie University Chair in Wireless Communications within the Promotion of Science portfolio is the most recent program to complete. It is pleasing to note that the Chair, Professor Hanly, will continue at Macquarie University and I offer my best wishes as he continues his productive career in wireless networks and technology.

Meanwhile a proposal for a new transmission electron microscope has been approved by the Trustee of SIEF under the Special Research Program. It will be a highly valuable addition to the infrastructure that SIEF has funded for the benefit of the National Innovation System.

In news from our other endowments and gifts, the Trustee of SIEF and I attended the official launch of the Generation STEM program funded through the NSW Government Endowment, in Sydney in June.

Please read on for a fuller account of the activities highlighted above.

Dr Melissa Straffon
SIEF Manager
(03) 9545 7952 or 0408 134 581

Special Research Program

Australian Animal Health Laboratory Transmission Electron Microscope

The Trustee of SIEF, together with SIEF’s Advisory Council, from time to time identify activities that align with the Purpose and Strategic Objectives of SIEF but that are outside the scope of SIEF’s Research Projects, Research Infrastructure and Promotion of Science programs. These activities generally represent funding gaps in the National Innovation System and are funded under the SIEF Special Research Program.

Under this program, the Trustee has recently approved a proposal to fund a new 200KV transmission electron microscope at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory to replace an aged TEM. This new TEM will add capability of a cryo-TEM imaging within the non-secure area of AAHL and provide highly advanced capabilities enabling researchers to visualise viral morphogenesis, conduct a greater depth of 3D imaging (particularly of larger viruses) and evaluate virus intervention strategies whilst maintaining the existing diagnostic TEM in a PC3 environment. This unique multilevel biocontainment capability enables fundamental research with biological agents that need the high levels of containment. It is intended that the new TEM’s accessibility to the research community at a lower biosafety level will encourage the fostering and growth of longer-term collaborations with university partners, state animal health laboratories, international collaborators and Microscopy Australia partners.

Additional information about the new TEM can be found on the SIEF website.

Promotion of Science

CSIRO – Macquarie University Chair in Wireless Communication

Professor Stephen Hanly was appointed as Chair in 2012 for a seven year term to build on and strengthen the long history of collaboration between CSIRO and Macquarie University in the field of wireless communications, accelerate research in this field at Macquarie University and provide teaching and leadership.

During his term Professor Hanly has led a productive research team, working on cutting-edge research on next generation wireless communications and providing a research vision for 5G wireless networks. Professor Hanly has been successful in attracting additional funding from the ARC, Telstra, DSTG, Macquarie University and CSIRO, and has supervised several high performing students and postdoctoral fellows.

Prof Hanly has published extensively during the term of the appointment and has maintained a strong focus in teaching at Macquarie University and at the Xian University of Science and Technology, China. A summary of his achievements during his term can be found on the SIEF website.

Impact Reviews

As part of SIEF’s ongoing impact evaluation, SIEF undertakes independent reviews of the impact of its funding. Most recently case studies have been commissioned for two completed Experimental Development Program projects Hovermap and Going for Gold. For these EDP projects, the funding provided by SIEF has been instrumental in their success in achieving commercialisation and industry uptake.

The case studies are now available on the SIEF website.

Generation STEM Program Launch

In June the official launch of the Generation STEM Program took place at Varley Group’s manufacturing site in Yennora, Sydney. Generation STEM was launched by the NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Dr Geoff Lee. The NSW Government through the Department of Industry has endowed $25 million over ten years to increase the supply of STEM-skilled labour and retain STEM talent in the NSW workforce. CSIRO Education and Outreach has been engaged to develop and manage the program. Students from four Western Sydney High Schools participating in Generation STEM attended the launch and were taken on site tours of Varley which gave them unique exposure to the operations of an innovative Australian medium enterprise. Varley has worked successfully as a community partner to schools and has signed up as an industry partner in Generation STEM.

Minister Lee and Trustee of SIEF Dr Larry Marshall talking with high school students at the Generation STEM launch (Image: CSIRO).

More information about the program and the launch can be found on the SIEF website.

Contact SIEF

Email: sief@sief.org.au

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