2022 Year in Review

2022 has been a year filled with many exciting successes that the AINSE staff wish to celebrate. However, it has also been a sombre year for AINSE, with the passing of Mr E.A. (Bill) Palmer in September.

Bill was AINSE’s first Scientific Secretary/Executive Officer. He made enormous contributions as the leader of AINSE from 1959–1988, laid the foundations of AINSE’s ongoing success over the last 60+ years, and continued to stay engaged with AINSE over that enormous span of time. AINSE’s full tribute to Bill is available to read on our website.

Mr E.A. (Bill) Palmer, first Scientific Secretary/Executive Officer of AINSE Ltd.

Throughout the year, our AINSE scholars and their ever-supportive ANSTO collaborators and co-supervisors have continued to achieve outstanding outcomes in their research. Our upcoming Annual Report, to be released early next year, will showcase some of this research excellence in a series of Research Highlight articles.

AINSE scholar travel to ANSTO campuses saw a significant increase throughout 2022, following changes to the COVID-19 situation and associated travel restrictions. For the first time since 2019, undergraduate students were also able to visit ANSTO’s Sydney campus at Lucas Heights, to attend our AINSE Winter School and Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) School. These events ran under a successful hybrid model for the first time ever, after previously running as online-only events from 2020-21 and as in-person-only events in years prior.

In 2022, AINSE were proud to support new and continuing students and early-career researchers from our 43 AINSE member institutions across Australia and New Zealand, through the provision of:

Our Professional Development Program continued into its second year, connecting AINSE postgraduate students to academic and industry experts to assist them with preparing for their future careers. The AINSE Technical Skills Scholarship also provided funding for postgraduate students to receive additional technical skills training relevant to their postgraduate project. We look forward to continuing these programs throughout 2023 with our newest cohort of postgraduate scholars.

In July, the 26th annual AINSE Winter School broke the record for the largest ever number of attendees, with 92 final-year undergraduate students from 30 AINSE member institutions participating in our first Winter School to operate under a hybrid model. During an online week in July, students were provided with unique virtual access to ANSTO researchers and research infrastructure, including behind-the-scenes explorations of ANSTO’s Australian Synchrotron in Clayton and Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering, Centre for Accelerator Science, Nuclear Materials Research, and Isotope Tracing in Natural Systems platforms at Lucas Heights. This led to many fruitful discussions around future collaborations with ANSTO researchers on Honours and postgraduate research projects.

After exploring ANSTO facilities virtually, 27 of these students had the opportunity to visit ANSTO’s Lucas Heights campus in a series of single-day visits in September. These visits provided students with a rare opportunity to gain insights into the day-to-day activities inside ANSTO’s Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering, Centre for Accelerator Science, Nuclear Materials Research, and Isotope Tracing in Natural Systems platforms, and connect with ANSTO staff to discuss the ongoing research projects supported by this landmark infrastructure.

In October, 14 students from the combined 2022 AINSE PGRA and RSS cohorts attended the online annual AINSE Postgraduate Orientation Week. For the second year running, students intending to apply for an AINSE Scholarship in upcoming application rounds were also able to participate in the 2022 Orientation Week, with a total of 19 future scholarship applicants in attendance.

The Orientation Week program coincided with Nuclear Science Week, an international celebration of nuclear science. AINSE once again coordinated with the Australian Young Generation in Nuclear (AusYGN), the Women in Nuclear (WiN) Australia chapter, and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque for the 2022 event and were also pleased to engage with the Australian-American Fulbright Commission during the week.

More recently, from 28 November to 2 December, the 6th annual AINSE WISE School gave 52 first-year undergraduate women the opportunity to gain invaluable career advice from a variety of distinguished researchers and entrepreneurs, as well as beginning a year-long mentorship program with AINSE and ANSTO staff that will continue throughout 2023. On the final two days of the program, 20 of the WISE students were able to visit ANSTO’s Sydney campus in Lucas Heights for the first time since 2019, with the remaining 32 students continuing to participate in the full program remotely.

Notable guest speakers at the 2022 WISE School included Prof. Mary-Anne Williams, Michael J. Crouch Chair for Innovation at the University of New South Wales; Dr. Kirsten Ellis, Leader of the Inclusive Technology Research Group at Monash University; and Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas, 2020 Tasmanian Australian of the Year and Leader of the Marine Socio-ecological Systems Team with CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere. More details about the event can be read on our website.

Guest speaker Fuchsia Sims (left) engaging the 2022 WISE students during an online Q&A session, moderated by Rebecca Duncan (right)

AINSE also continued to run our Alumni Forum networks on LinkedIn and Facebook. 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, mentors and supporters our best wishes for the festive season. 

We hope you have a safe and happy holiday, and we look forward to supporting and celebrating even more of our scholars’ successes throughout 2023 and beyond.

Please note the AINSE office will be closed from Thursday 22 December and will re-open on Monday 9 January 2023.

Don’t forget that applications are now open for AINSE Honours scholarships in 2023, with submissions open until 15 March 2023.

For more information on AINSE programs in 2023 please visit our Scholarships and Award page, follow our social media accounts on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram, sign up for our mailing list, or contact the AINSE staff at enquiries@ainse.edu.au.