Arts, Business, Law and Education
The Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education (ABLE) is now in its second year and, despite being the University’s youngest faculty, together we have accomplished a significant number of world-class achievements that rival some of the longest established faculties in the country.
Research has been a key area of success. In 2018 staff within the Faculty secured more than 20 grants worth more than $100,000 through major funding schemes, including those of the Australian Research Council. The Faculty also secured an increasing number of projects funded by government, the private sector and the not-for-profit sector. In the 2018 QS subject rankings, eight of our subjects were ranked in the world’s top 100.
During 2018, the Faculty’s newly established Fellowship Attractor Scheme encouraged current and prospective staff to apply for major fellowships with funding bodies. The scheme intends to foster and attract world-class researchers and build on existing strengths. The outcome has been one new ARC Future Fellow and eight ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards during 2017–18.
Other major initiatives included a Research Accelerator Scheme, which offered four grants per year of$75,000 for emerging, interdisciplinary research groups working on significant social issues, and the ABLE Research Collaboration Awards that offered funding up to $20,000 to seven research teams to work with high-profile partner institutions around the world.
Considerable success was enjoyed by key research entities, with substantial industry and other funding secured for the Centre for Rock Art Research and Management and the Australian Urban Design Research Centre. Similarly, the Centre for Social Impact has taken a lead role in a $1.75 million grant from Lotterywest to the WA Council of Social Service for the ‘100 Families WA’ project. Announced by the Premier of Western Australia, the project follows 100 families over time to examine the causes of entrenched disadvantage, its impact and the factors that positively contribute to the exit from deep poverty. The Mobilities and Migration Research Group also hosted its annual Western Australian Migration Update.
Our success also extended into teaching and learning. The 2018 UWA Excellence in Teaching Awards saw nine winners from ABLE, with Grace Oakley and Kate Offer nominated for the Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT). Frank Liu and Peter Merrotsy were also nominated for an AAUT Citation for outstanding contributions to student learning, with winners announced in February 2019.
This year saw the successful pilot of two teaching initiatives. The first was the Faculty’s wildcard unit, whereby students across nine disciplines work together to provide solutions to an issue – in this instance, homelessness. Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to making this a regular feature in our course offering.
The second was the Postgraduate Teaching Fellowship Scheme, which provided PhD students with the opportunity to participate in teaching and learning professional development while employed on a casual teaching contract. The scheme was very successful and we have around 45 participants registered for 2019.
Our world-class facilities were recognised in the showcasing of the Rosemarie Nathanson Financial Markets Trading Room at the AV Awards. Hosted in London, the awards recognise excellence in the audio visual industry on an international scale. The Business School’s Trading Room won the award for Education Project of the Year.
This emphasis on providing industry-standard facilities extended into our industry partnerships, which were at the heart of a number of other Faculty initiatives. This included the ‘Legal APPtitude’ Pilot Program, supported by Corrs Chambers Westgarth, where students worked with not-for-profit organisations to design apps addressing practical legal service problems, as well as the ‘Innovations’ breakfast series, delivered in partnership with KPMG, to more than 100 small- to medium-sized enterprises. The Centre for Muslim States and Societies also secured approved provider status to deliver cultural awareness training to Australian Federal Police and other Federal Government departments as requested.
Towards the end of the year, the Faculty became the Founding University Partner of Activate Perth, a not-forprofit, start-up organisation seeking to create connections between Perth’s community, businesses and government. This partnership will support co-designed projects that have a direct impact in our community. It sits with our longstanding research partnership with the Committee for Perth, which this year resulted in the publication of a major roadmap for Perth’s future economic development.
A powerful example of public engagement was a musical procession, ‘Love Never Failed Us Yet’, involving more than 1,000 performers in the heart of Perth city to mark the public launch of the #EndHomelessnessWA campaign. This extraordinary event, supported by the City of Perth, was the result of a novel collaboration between the UWA Conservatorium of Music, the WA Alliance to End Homelessness and the Centre for Social Impact.
Looking to 2019, we will continue to play a pivotal role in student teaching and education, research and community engagement.
Professor Matthew Tonts
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education
Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
2018 marked a year of significant achievement for the Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (EMS), with our staff and students providing meaningful contributions to teaching and research, and making an impact on a local and global scale.
The Faculty performed well in several international subject rankings, most notably, ranking in the top 50 universities worldwide for three fields of engineering. The Academic Ranking of World Universities subject rankings saw UWA rank fifth in the world for Mining and Mineral Engineering, 12th in the world for Marine/Ocean Engineering and 18th in the world for Environmental Science and Engineering. We secured first in Australia for Marine/Ocean Engineering and Environmental Science and Engineering.
Significant contributions from our alumni were recognised, with Professor Akshay Venkatash awarded the prestigious Fields Medal in recognition of outstanding mathematical achievement. UWA Electrical Engineering and Mathematics graduate Brooke Krajancich was awarded an inaugural Knight-Hennessy Scholarship to Stanford University, and recently, student Calum Braham was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford, England.
On a local level, the 2018 Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences Awards Breakfast saw 52 EMS students awarded prizes that were donated by partners including Clough, Lycopodium, Monadelphous, Shell and the Water Corporation. The coveted Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences Medal was awarded to Doctor of Philosophy (Physics) student Samuel Marsh.
We celebrated the achievements of our academics with Dr Darren Grasso winning the award for Excellence in Individual Teaching, while Dr Ghulam Mubashar Hassan and Professor Herbert Ho-Ching Iu received commendations in this category. Professor Wen Lei was awarded Excellence in Individual Teaching (Early Career) and Associate Professor Ajmal Mian was awarded Excellence in Research Supervision. The award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning was presented to Professor Pejman Rowshan Farzad.
Congratulations go to Professor Tyrone Fernando and Dr Andrew Guzzomi who were awarded citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning at the 2018 UWA Excellence in Teaching Awards. Dr Guzzomi was also named WA Premier’s Tall Poppy and received a 40under40 award for his achievements. Professors Eric May and Phillip Watson were elected as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, with Professor May also winning the Energy Innovation of the Year category at the WA Energy Awards. Winthrop Professor David Blair was elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, awarded the Medal of The Royal Society of Western Australia and inducted into the WA Science Hall of Fame. Professor Gia Parish was recognised as one of the top influencers in the Women in Technology in WA Awards.
There were many research successes in 2018 including the Faculty’s continued success in the National Competitive Grants Program and the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. Highlights also included opening the ARC Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science, led by Professors Melinda Hodkiewicz and Michael Small. The year also saw four successful Future Fellowship applications, the completion of three Linkage Projects, and the first major review of the Faculty’s research clusters.
New technology to measure ocean waves and currents with greater accuracy than ever before was deployed off the Albany coast as part of the new Wave Energy Research Centre. The project has placed WA at the forefront of marine renewable energy research and technology.
Throughout 2018, community engagement remained a priority. The UWA Girls in Engineering program, a partnership with Rio Tinto, engaged with more than 2,500 students in 75 school visits, allowing them to continue their goal of increasing the number of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. As a Faculty we were delighted to see a 10 per cent increase in women in Engineering Science (since 2016) and a three per cent increase in female enrolments across the Physics, Mathematics and Statistics, and Computer Science majors.
In 2018 we reached an extremely significant milestone with the commencement of the first phase of UWA EZONE construction in semester one, generously supported by alumni and our foundation partners, Woodside and BHP. It will house state-of-the-art laboratories and provide adaptable student learning spaces, with ample room for industry and alumni interaction. This new building will benefit students from all areas of our University and will sit alongside the CO2 Research Facility and Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre, highlighting our commitment to connecting teaching spaces and research with industry-inspired outcomes.
As we embrace a new year, I am confident the Faculty will continue to produce high-quality education and student experiences, cultivate the brightest teachers and researchers, and foster community engagement throughout 2019 and beyond.
Professor John Dell
Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
Health and Medical Sciences
The Faculty has continued to embrace its mission of advancing lifelong health through education, research and innovation. Our ranking for Clinical Medicine increased from 42nd to 39th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities and Public Health at UWA is now in the top 50, ranked 48th in the world. Our strong achievements this year reflect the equal value the Faculty places on education and research enterprises, along with the disciplines that support them.
The strength of our student and teaching experience across the Faculty is one of which I continue to be proud. Our students excelled throughout 2018. In August the Faculty celebrated its annual prize-giving event. Prizes and certificates were awarded to 87 students for their outstanding achievements. These prizes were only possible due to the generosity and support of our valued friends and donors. In 2018 we taught more than 3,000 students in our undergraduate and postgraduate programs. We had 1,134 students enrolled in our qualifying postgraduate programs for medicine, dentistry and podiatry. We supervised 35 honours students, 603 postgraduate coursework students and 343 PhD students. In December, the first cohort of students graduated with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, with 94 students completing the new major in Medical Sciences.
Our continued ability to translate health and clinical knowledge into practice means we remain at the forefront of delivering outstanding earning opportunities for our students. This year, the Doctors of Dental Medicine and Podiatric Medicine received unconditional reaccreditation. Two of our academics were nominated for 2018 Australian Awards for University Teaching Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in recognition of their teaching excellence.
The Faculty continued to strengthen its links with a close network of international, national, regional and local collaborators in 2018. UWA’s Global Medical Program was named a finalist in the 2018 WA Industry and Export Awards. The awards program provides support and encouragement for the state’s most innovative and forward-thinking organisations.
Our strength in research also continued. Despite a highly rigorous and competitive funding environment, the Faculty received $19.3 million in NHMRC Federal Government funding to tackle issues including diabetes, stillbirth, heart health, eye disease and the mental health of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning people. The breadth and calibre of these successes demonstrate our continued commitment to deliver knowledge and discoveries that will guarantee the health of societies and positively impact future generations.
Earlier this year, an initiative to grow Western Australia’s life sciences and innovation sector was announced. This collaboration between the State Government, UWA and MTPConnect is aimed at developing innovators of the future and boosting local research capability. The creation of a WA Life Sciences precinct will bring togethern university researchers and industry partners to generate new business opportunities in medicine, health, agriculture and biodiversity.
We congratulate researchers in the Faculty who were recipients of national and international awards for their ground-breaking discoveries. There are too many to name here, but their achievements have been acknowledged in our Research Highlights 2018 publication.
In April we held the first UWA Health Campus Open Day. This new initiative was a great success with more than 1,000 prospective students, alumni, parents and interested visitors attending. They explored our facilities, participated in interactive activities and learned about the plethora of health-related courses on offer. It was an fantastic day and a valued opportunity for the community to visit the UWA Health Campus.
Faculty alumni and adjuncts have contributed to the experiences of our students. Many have given their time voluntarily to recruit and support UWA students. We thank them for their contribution through student mentoring to build career skills and giving guest lectures. We have strong alumni networks in Perth, across Australia and overseas, which continue to engage with and promote UWA and the Faculty.
In 2019 the Faculty’s priority is to communicate our knowledge to the public and lead discussions and debate on important challenges and opportunities facing health and medical sciences. We will continue to engage with stakeholders in government, industry and the community to ensure our research and teaching have maximum value, application and impact.
Over the next year the Faculty will continue to play a pivotal role in teaching and educating the health professionals and scientists of tomorrow. We will maintain our commitment to providing cutting-edge research and fostering knowledge to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities in Western Australia and globally.
Professor Wendy Erber
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
A key area of focus for the Faculty over the last 18 months has been on how best to capitalise on our new six-school structure by encouraging interdisciplinary engagement in both research and education.
The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) uses various measures to compare our performance against the very best universities in Australia and the world. In these rankings, the Faculty continues to perform exceptionally well.
In areas where the Faculty makes significant contributions to UWA’s research outputs, such as Agriculture (#1 Australia, #14 world), Biological Science (#1 Australia, #46 world), Environmental Science and Engineering (#1 Australia, #18 world), Ecology (#3 Australia, #29 world) and Sports Science (#4 Australia, #20 world), we are already ranked in the top 50 and among the very best in the world. This, and the fact we also have three other top 100 positions in Earth Sciences, Psychology and Geography, clearly demonstrate the quality of the research we do.
Given the Faculty’s performance in research, some might argue this must come at the expense of our undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. In 2018 the Australian Government-funded student survey QILT (Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching) showed this was clearly not the case with UWA’s undergraduate performance in science and mathematics scoring at or just below the national average; an average that included Australian universities from outside the world’s top 100.
Notably, our performance in postgraduate education in science and mathematics against that of other top 100 research intensive universities shows that UWA is actually rated above average and well above average in some areas, and ranks second among the Group of Eight (Go8) universities overall.
The introduction of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) elective units proved very popular with our students, with 148 undertaking placements in 2018. To encourage students to develop a global perspective on the application and the potential solutions that science provides in addressing important worldwide problems, the Faculty introduced a new elective unit called‘Challenges Facing the World’. Topic areas were all based on the Faculty’s six thematic areas and were selected by our students through a series of focus groups. Students had the opportunity to interact with a number of expert panels (Q&A discussion format), present at an undergraduate science fair and prepare a short video on their chosen topic.
Feedback has shown that the format proved very rewarding for both staff and students. Helping our students to understand the importance of the skills acquired during their studies and how best to use these skills to have a positive impact on society remains a major priority for the Faculty as we move forward.
While we are widely recognised for the quality of our research and teaching, our core values and beliefs are manifest in the actions, often voluntary, of our staff. Earlier this year, through the Faculty’s Community Engagement Committee, we started to catalogue the engagement that schools, our students and individual staff had with the local community.
This proved to be one of the most rewarding exercises undertaken by the Faculty this year; a list that grew into a substantial report on our engagement with our communities, both local and global. Selected examples include work on providing audiology, speech and hearing services for children with hearing loss in East Java; work on getting our undergraduate students into schools and pairing them with science teachers to develop learning resources; public engagement in science and biology through art; student fundraising and volunteering to provide birthing kits for pregnant women in developing countries; and a STEM camp for more than 100 girls.
Such activities lie at the heart of who we really are and the Faculty will continue to work with the University on how best to recognise and celebrate the outstanding work done on community engagement and our social license to operate by staff from across UWA.
As we enter 2019, the Faculty is well positioned to play a leading role in defining Western Australia and Australia’s future. Over the last few years, we have worked hard to deliver on our mission ‘to do exceptional science, science that makes a difference by impacting on major global issues’.
Both innovation and reputation have been integral to realising our ambitions and we are now well placed to build on our national and international standing, to assist the University in its mission ‘to provide world-class education, research and community engagement for the advancement of the prosperity and welfare of our communities’.
In line with the University’s developing vision to 2030, we will work to ensure that our international reputation and industry networks are used to bring direct benefits to the state and to the people of Western Australia.
Professor Tony O'Donnell
Faculty of Science