2018 has been an energising year in which the University focused on the development of its decadal vision: UWA2030, and its five-year strategic plan to 2025. It has also been a turbulent year; pressures on the sector and increased levels of political, economic and cultural uncertainty will continue to disrupt how we operate. Through this period we have not lost sight of our core mission, remaining focused on responding to the evolving needs of our students and the broader community.

As a global university, not only do we aspire for excellence, we recognise the interdependence of education, research, creativity, curiosity, imagination and service. The development of UWA2030 and the strategic plan has provided us with an opportunity to work with our students, staff and stakeholders to imagine our future, and our ability to wrestle with and transform real-world problems.

Having commenced our own journey of transformation, the new strategy focuses on an ambitious approach to planning for the long-term needs of our community, underpinned by our enduring mission to provide world-class education, research and engagement. In 2018 we continued to deliver on this mission in very tangible ways.

In May we launched the UWA Public Policy Institute (UWA PPI). The PPI partners with policymakers from government, industry and community organisations seeking evidence-based ideas and solutions to current and emerging problems in the region and beyond. UWA PPI is already proving successful in forging meaningful partnerships with government in social policy and Asian engagement.

In September the Perth USAsia Centre, in partnership with UWA, hosted The Zone Above: The Indo-Pacific Era in Space, which focused on shared opportunities for the region through our investment in the International entre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

We were proud to host His Royal Highness, The Duke of York, who was provided with an opportunity to meet researchers and students, and learn about the exciting developments taking place in science and engineering.

We strive to remain relevant to the communities and regions we serve, noting UWA is situated at the fulcrum of the Indian Ocean Rim, one of the most dynamic and dominant regions of this century.

We know that a sense of space and place matter, even in this hypermobile era. To this end, the University’s new campus master plan has been a key aspect of the UWA2030 strategy, bringing the UWA community together to support, design and plan improvements to our physical and digital estate, with the explicit aim of improving the student experience, while simultaneously enhancing collaboration between industry and our global partners.

Existing strong relationships with the State Government were cemented through the joint launch of the WA Life Science Innovation Hub. We are excited to be partnering with the MedTechPharma Company, MTPConnect, to generate new business opportunities in such fields as medicine, health, agriculture and biodiversity.

We were extremely proud of and inspired by UWA alumnus and mathematics professor Akshay Venkatesh who was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal, with our own Be Inspired campaign, aimed at recruiting eminent academics from across the globe, progressing well during 2018.

The University was also recognised for its fundraising efforts, winning the Universities Australia ‘Best Fundraising Campaign in Australia 2018’ for the New Century campaign. UWA’s Rosemarie Nathanson Financial Markets Trading Room gained international recognition after receiving the Education Award at the annual AV Awards in London. The Trading Room was made possible due to the generous donation of several key supporters. We continue to be inspired and humbled by the strength and generosity of the UWA community in supporting our shared goals, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our donors, volunteers and community members for the contribution they have made.

Staff will always be a key force in leading the UWA vision, mission and brand. With this in mind, I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to making 2018 the success it has been.

Professor Dawn Freshwater