It is safe to say that 2020 has been a year of significant challenges for the entire Australian and New Zealand STEM community, in light of the ongoing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, 2020 has also been a year of many successes for AINSE scholars and their supervisors, and as the year draws to a close, the staff at AINSE would like to take this opportunity to reflect upon some of these achievements.
In 2020, AINSE were proud to support new and continuing students from our 43 AINSE members across Australia and New Zealand through the provision of:
- 24 new Honours scholarships;
- 114 top-up scholarships for PhD students, including 48 new Postgraduate Research Award and Residential Student Scholarships;
- 2 research internship scholarships in partnership with ANSTO and the Embassy of France in Australia; and
- 17 new Early Career Researcher Grants, providing Early Career Researchers working with ANSTO the means to access additional opportunities in the initial stages of their research careers.
AINSE was also able to run our full suite of events this year in an entirely-online format. In total, a record 170 students connected with AINSE’s education schools throughout 2020. In July, the 24th annual AINSE Winter School provided final-year undergraduate students with unique virtual access to ANSTO researchers and a behind-the-scenes view of ANSTO’s landmark research infrastructure, leading to many fruitful discussions around future collaborations with ANSTO researchers on postgraduate research projects.
Recently, in the first week of December, the 4th annual AINSE WISE School gave first-year undergraduate Women in STEM the opportunity to gain invaluable career advice from a variety of distinguished researchers and entrepreneurs, as well as kick-starting a year-long mentorship program with AINSE and ANSTO staff that will continue throughout 2021. Notable guest speakers at the 2020 WISE School included Kylie Walker, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Prof. Tanya Monro, Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist, and Prof. Brian P. Schmidt, Australia’s Nobel Laureate and Vice Chancellor and President of the Australian National University
With all events moved entirely online, AINSE took the opportunity to launch a new series of online symposia highlighting the extraordinary research conducting by AINSE scholars and the opportunities available at ANSTO’s landmark research infrastructure. Throughout the year, a total of 5 online symposia attracted an audience of over 300 students and researchers. We look forward to continuing this online series in 2021 – watch this space for further details!
During National Science Week 2020, AINSE launched a brand-new Instagram account dedicated to keeping the broader community in the loop about AINSE events, opportunities, and student research highlights. We also took the opportunity to again promote a small selection of the outstanding research currently being undertaken by our AINSE Scholars. You can read more about our AINSE-supported postgraduate research projects below:
- Sarah McDonald (How does storm-water runoff affect aquatic organisms?)
- Ben Humphreys (Intelligent coatings: creating surfaces that respond to their surroundings)
- Karthik Gopi (A new method for determining seafood provenance)
- Katherine Davies (New insights into a useful killer protein)
- James Hooper (Going back in time to understand the South American climate)
- Calina Betlazar (How do low doses of radiation affect the brain?)
- Rebecca Auchettl (Unveiling the complex chemistry of Titan’s atmosphere)
- Zhibin Wu (Boosting battery performance with a new composite electrode)
- Leonie Peti (What sediments can tell us about climate change)
- Mitch Klenner (Rhenium is the key to new radiotracers for disease imaging)
AINSE also launched new Alumni Forum networks on LinkedIn and Facebook in September 2020. These groups aim to build a connection between generations of AINSE scholars and to keep past and present AINSE scholars up-to-date with AINSE- and ANSTO-related events and opportunities, and other items of interest in the areas of nuclear science & engineering and related research fields. If you are a past or present recipient of an AINSE scholarship or award, or an alumnus of an AINSE Winter School or WISE School, we would like to warmly invite you to join the LinkedIn group and/or Facebook group at the following links:
Finally, the AINSE staff would like to wish all our scholars, supervisors and supporters a safe and happy holiday, and best wishes for the festive season. Having faced down the challenges posed by 2020, we’re now looking forward to supporting and celebrating the successes of our scholars throughout 2021 and beyond.
Please note the AINSE office will be closed from Monday 21 December and will re-open on Monday 11 January 2021.
Don’t forget that applications are now open for AINSE Honours scholarships in 2021, with submissions extended to 15 March 2021.
For more information on AINSE programs in 2021 please visit our Scholarships and Award page, follow our social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and sign up for our mailing list.