Meteorite expert to inspire USC researchers

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Meteorite expert to inspire USC researchers

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Published on 5 July 2012

A world-class researcher who has had an asteroid named after him for his contribution to planetary science will be the opening keynote speaker at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s 2012 Research Week from 9-13 July.

Formerly from Imperial College in the United Kingdom, Professor Phil Bland of Curtin University is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellow who is studying the oldest rocks in existence – meteorites – in order to trace the history of the solar system.

“Meteorites are the only surviving physical record of the formation and evolution of the solar system (but) meteorite researchers have no idea where their samples come from,” Professor Bland said.

He will discuss his work in a presentation called ‘Shooting stars and the secrets of our solar system’ on Monday 9 July, the opening day of USC Research Week.

Another highlight on Monday will be the new USC Research Expo, a colourful and informative showcase of the University’s research achievements, with posters and staffed displays on topics such as Fishy Business, Building value in the Forest Supply Chain, Allied Health, Public Health and Performance Research and Civil Engineering.

USC Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Roland De Marco said there was a buzz on campus about research following funding boosts, new collaborations and the recruitment of research fellows and doctoral students.

“It is exciting to see the growth in our broad areas of research spanning the fields of journalism, history, human geography, computer facilitated learning, education, forestry, aquaculture, biomedical science, medical microbiology and others,” he said.

The theme of USC Research Week is ‘Communicate, collaborate, connect’.

Almost 50 presentations will be delivered by USC staff on Tuesday 10 July and Wednesday 11 July, with topics ranging from local seafood and weather to Arctic expeditions and reality TV formats.

Thursday 12 July will be a day of workshops after a keynote address by Professor Helen Berry, a psychiatric epidemiologist and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research and Action in Public Health at the University of Canberra.

Epidemiologists study the rates of disease in communities and environments and Professor Berry’s recent research examines links between climate change and rural mental health.

On Friday 13 July the popular annual Three Minute Thesis competition returns, with seven postgraduate research students given three minutes each to explain their projects to a general audience.

Topics will range from athletes’ nutrition to Jane Austen to emotional responsibility. The winner will compete in the 2012 Australian and New Zealand competition later this year.

Friday’s program also will feature more than a dozen new USC Research Fellows explaining their projects to the USC community. Their fields include aquaculture, forest sciences, water sciences and sustainability.

Professor De Marco said their work and appointments were made possible through a $5.45 million grant last year under the Commonwealth Government’s Collaborative Research Networks (CRN) Program, as well as via ARC funding and strategic investments by the University.

Julie Schomberg

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