The University of Western Australia has demonstrated again in 2017 that our research and researchers are relevant, successful and making a global impact.
In May a team from Archaeology published the discovery of the earliest evidence of known human occupation in Australia, with a settlement on the North West Shelf dating from 50,000 years ago.
In science news, our researchers provided new insights. We published new research on the feeding behaviour of the tiger shark; demonstrated for the first time that anti-malarial compounds could be used as herbicides; found the optimal substrates for the growth of stem cells, with important applications for cancer; used analysis of ancient lavas to provide critical insight into the Earth's origin; and produced work on how reef-building corals respond to climate change. Medical research received a boost with a new screening test developed to quickly confirm the effectiveness of antibiotics, ensuring the most effective ones are prescribed sooner.
Also noteworthy is a new agreement between UWA and China's National Institute of Clean and Low Carbon Energy to research ammonia as a clean transport fuel. The successful completion of the project will yield the world's first practical ammonia-powered vehicle and ammonia-based hydrogen production plant, placing China and Australia among the leaders of the global 'hydrogen economy' race.
The University demonstrated again that our research and researchers are relevant, successful and making a global impact. We continue to strive for world-best and to use our strengths for the engagement and betterment of the world.Professor Robyn OwensDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
A UWA study commissioned by the State Government has provided the first detailed analysis of government service provision and expenditure in the Kimberley and the Pilbara and its impact on Aboriginal communities. The study highlighted the need for government policies and programs to consider significant differences in demographics, geography and economy between regions in order to achieve positive outcomes.
UWA is part of the Accelerating Australia project, which will receive a $1 million boost from MTPConnect (the Australian Government-funded Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Industry Growth Centre). This will be matched by $1 million from the medical sector to invest in big, bold ideas to improve the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of Australia's medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector. The funding will help researchers develop medical inventions and technology to meet the needs of doctors, medical staff and patients.
WA's renewable energy future has received a boost with a grant from the State Government to create a new Wave Energy Research Centre in Albany, which will put the State at the forefront of offshore renewable energy research and technology and improve knowledge and understanding of wave, tidal and offshore wind energy. The Centre will bring together more than 30 researchers from UWA and other multidisciplinary experts.
Our researchers won many State, national and international awards this year, including Scientist of the Year at the 2017 Premier's Science Awards (awarded to Professor Christobel Saunders and Professor Harvey Millar), the 2018 American Chemical Society International Award for Research in Agrochemicals (Professor Stephen Powles), the 3M Eureka Prize for Emerging Leader in Science (Professor Andrew Whitehouse) and the Pioneer Award from the International Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Professor Anna Nowak). The UWA node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) has also been recognised by the Astronomical Society of Australia for its commitment to advancing women in astronomical sciences and technology. Wilson's novel Extinctions, part of her creative writing PhD, won the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award.
UWA successfully improved its ranking across all five monitored international rankings, with a top 100 place in the QS (93), the U.S. News & World Report rankings (88) and the University's 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities (91).
In National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grants, UWA increased its percentage share of the Go8 universities' funding by 5.69 per cent to 13.3 per cent. This reflects our total NHMRC revenue from project grants of $27 million. UWA had the highest average amount of funding per award of the Go8 ($1.12 million). We also secured $14.75 million in funding from the ARC.
UWA research continues to strive for world-best in all areas, and to use our strengths for the engagement and betterment of the world. We look forward to another year of success in 2018.