A word from the Academic Director

March 2016
Professor Stephen Simpson

Professor Stephen Simpson

A warm hello from the Charles Perkins Centre.

This year we hope to see Charles Perkins Centre have further impact locally, nationally and internationally. The Research and Teaching Hub is nearing capacity, with continuing recruitments of outstanding senior and early career researchers. Charles Perkins Centre Westmead has been established to join our regional hubs at Broken Hill and Nepean. Since the first project node was initiated in June 2012 we now have 60 active project nodes forming a complex evolving system of richly connected research and educational activities spanning all sixteen Faculties of the University. The Charles Perkins Centre RPA Clinic in the Hub has commenced operations, treating patients and conducting clinical trials. Last year more than 150 academic events and opportunities for collaboration have been hosted by CPC, ranging from project node workshops, lunchtime symposia, Sydney Ideas events, a play at the Seymour Centre, and a flourishing program of career development workshops for our Early and Mid-Career Researcher community (who now number more than 300).

This year we have over 120 events planned with various researchers from the Charles Perkins Centre and collaborations with state and international visiting scholars and we were delighted to welcome Professor Marion Nestle as a Charles Perkins Centre Professional Visiting Fellow. Professor Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, and a Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. Marion was with us for three months, working on a number of research projects and presentations.

Highlights in education include delivering the new Masters in Health Technology Innovation in collaboration with the Faculties of Engineering & IT, Medicine and Health Sciences. This is a professional degree designed to equip those from science, technology, engineering or medical backgrounds with the skills to apply advanced technologies to deliver innovative healthcare solutions. Additionally, we were selected to develop one of the University’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), on an integrated approach to chronic disease, and have developed and taught the innovative interdisciplinary 3rd year Science unit, Metabolic Cybernetics. We are working closely with our project nodes to develop short professional courses that will translate their research into practical outcomes for industry, academia and the community, and will continue to provide high achieving students with the opportunity to work closely with our researchers via our summer scholarship program. Our Early and Mid-Career Initiative are developing a skills database to provide support to each other, and have a program of education activities that will ensure they enhance their capabilities in industry engagement and careers both within and beyond academia.

Major gifts have been secured for a range of priority areas at the CPC. The largest of these was the $5 million gift for a Chair in childhood translational health from the Financial Markets for Children Foundation. The Chair will link the CPC, the Faculty of Medicine and Westmead Children’s hospital, providing additional leadership to the priority Baby 1000 cohort study. The Baby 1000 study has also been boosted by a $1.4 million bequest that will endow research and education in chronic diseases. Other major gifts include $1 million donated by an anonymous donor to endow ongoing support for research and education at the CPC, $2 million donated by Colin Sullivan for a post-doctoral research fellowship to support the ResMed Chair in Sleep Medicine, and generous donations for diabetes research, scholarships and to establish our writer in residence program.

Here’s to a wonderful 2016!

Professor Stephen J. Simpson AC FAA FRS