THE WORLD NEEDS NEW
“It’s a moment in time that you never forget,” says Professor Kevin Galvin from the University of Newcastle, Australia (UON), describing his joy at seeing years of research come to fruition. “You know the elegance of the solution, the potential of the idea, and how the world might benefit.”
His passion speaks volumes and sums up the outlook of his institution, a university that has prioritised collaboration and research for global advancement since it was established in 1965. Take Professor Galvin’s Reflux Classifier, which separates fine particles in the minerals industry according to their density. This technology is now used in the production of lithium batteries, smartphones and more than 100 different applications in a dozen countries around the world. It’s the result of years of hard work by a host of researchers and students, working together through disappointments and successes.
UON’s international perspective is key to its success, with other experts such as Professor Nicholas Talley – renowned worldwide for his work in the field of gut diseases – fostering global links. He works across three institutions: the UON Mayo Clinic in America, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and back home in Australia at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI).
The university has similarly branched out to provide a supportive platform for Professor Michael Nilsson to extend his research into strokes. Its newly launched UON Centre for Innovative Technologies in Rehabilitation Settings (CITRS) enables him to reach global audiences. “Through UON’s unique spirit of cooperation and a willingness to adapt and adopt fresh thinking,” says Professor Nilsson, “we have forged strong international collaborations to deliver global impact.” Meanwhile, Professor Jennifer Gore’s initiatives in education have demonstrated the power of collaboration with sector experts as well as among academics. “Our approach is empowering teachers, improving teaching, and delivering greater quality and equity for students,” she says. Her teaching model has piqued interest not only in Australia but also in Singapore, Britain, and some developing nations.
These professors’ work underpins UON’s philosophy: “The World Needs New”. “Our work finds innovative, multi-disciplinary solutions to complex global problems,” says Professor John Aitken, eminent in the field of reproductive science. “We create teams of individuals with specialised knowledge. We are aware, flexible, collaborative and focused on real-world problems.”
One fine example is UON’s Global Centre for Environmental Remediation (GCER), which tackles chemical contamination. GCER’s Director, Professor Ravi Naidu, has dedicated his career to developing cost-effective, sustainable solutions – such as a recent project to remove arsenic from drinking water in Bangladesh. “We need fresh eyes to develop new, innovative ways of working,” he says. “Our PhD students and early-career researchers are the future and one of our best hopes for a cleaner, safer planet. I am proud of the way we have advanced collaboration across industry, government and academia. Without a collegiate approach, our work would take far longer to have a real-world impact.”
This approach enables UON to build its global reputation with high-quality research, collaboration and forward-looking innovation in a range of sectors and with enthusiasm and passion. “The challenge ahead,” says Professor Galvin, “is to convince everybody else to share in our vision.”