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Vice-Chancellor's Overview

UWA Vice-Chancellor The year 2005 will be remembered as a stellar year for the University, set against a difficult policy, regulatory and financial framework. Our staff, graduates and students have marked out their University as an institution of international excellence with achievements including:

  • a Nobel Prize for Professor Barry Marshall and his research colleague Emeritus Professor Robin Warren;
  • the Award of Australian Life Scientist of the Year to Professor Harvey Millar, with our graduate Associate Professor Cameron Kepert (University of Sydney) named Physical Scientist of the Year;
  • a third prestigious Federation Fellowship, awarded to Professor Mark Randolph;
  • two new Premier's Research Fellowships: Professor Klaus Regenauer-Lieb from Johannes Gutenberg University, and Dr Ian Small, Head of the Plant Genomics Research Unit at the National Institute of Agricultural Research in France;
  • an ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Energy Biology;
  • a Western Australian Premier’s Award for Excellence to the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health;
  • two finalists in the institutional categories of the Australian Awards for Teaching;
  • Professor Robert Stick awarded a Premier’s Prize for tertiary science teaching; and Adjunct Professor Graham Hall winning a Premier's Prize for Early Career Achievement in Science;
  • accolades for our graduates, winning two (out of eight) General Sir John Monash Awards offered nationally, two Rhodes Scholarships, and the Cornforth Medal for the most outstanding PhD thesis in a branch of chemistry, chemical science or chemical technology;
  • successful implementation of a new student record system;
  • the official opening of the new University Club and new Molecular and Chemical Sciences building;
  • the successful negotiation of the purchase of the Claremont Campus of Edith Cowan University and the exciting prospect of restoring the site of the former Sunset Hospital;
  • continued growth in competitive grant income from both the ARC and the NHMRC; and
  • excellent progress in fundraising, notably with the new Business School campaign.

Throughout the year there were many other accolades for staff and students across the full range of discipline areas for achievement at local, national and international levels. The work of outstanding academics and dedicated professional staff reflects the larger purpose of the University to serve the Australian and wider global communities.

Throughout the year we also have had to respond to major Federal Government policies, such as that concerning workplace reform and the levying of student amenities fees.

It is a credit to the staff of the University that they have faced the hurdles put before them while still contributing significantly to the growth and impact of our performance and reputation.

We believe that national policy settings are going to favour those universities that have a focus on quality, research intensity and impact, and who build strong relationships with other institutions as well as the government, business and community sectors.

This provides affirmation of the direction currently being pursued by our own University where quality is paramount, where building our research capacity provides direct and positive benefits for teaching and learning, and where our external relationships are bringing increasing benefits to the institution. This approach also recognises the importance of our strategic international links and collaborations—particularly in China, Southeast Asia, the UK, Europe and North America which support our University’s claims of international excellence.

The University welcomed Dr Michael Chaney at the end of 2005 as the new Chancellor of our University. Dr Chaney’s reputation and experience as a leader both in the private sector and through his contribution to community organisations will contribute significantly to the role of the University and its standing in the wider community.

Dr Chaney accepted the position following the appointment of Dr Ken Michael as Governor of Western Australia. Dr Michael brought dignity, constancy and supportive leadership to the University and Senate during his term as Chancellor, and we wish him well in his new role.

Professor Alan Robson AM,

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