STORIES Issue 1 2016


  • News
  • Appointments
  • Laurels
  • Honorary Doctorate


Defence high-flyer Jim McDowell has been appointed as the University’s new Chancellor. 

Currently Chairman of the Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, McDowell will bring a wealth of international industry experience to the role, at a time when UniSA is forging stronger national and international research partnerships in support of future industries.

Outgoing Chancellor Dr Ian Gould welcomed McDowell, stating his diverse and top level experience of business, education and strategic governance will be an asset to the University. 

“With more than 35 years’ experience on the world stage in one of the most competitive industry sectors, aerospace and defence technologies, Jim will bring an important global view to the future planning and governance of the University. I am delighted to be handing him the reins,” Dr Gould said.

McDowell said he was delighted and honoured with his appointment, and to be handed the reins by someone as outstanding as Dr Gould.

“I hope to bring together my experience of industry and govern-ment and my deep commitment to the value of education to support and enhance UniSA’s development as Australia’s university of enterprise,” McDowell said.

Educated in Belfast, McDowell moved to England’s University of Warwick to complete his degree in Law with Honours before joining British Aerospace, Singapore in 1996.

Working his way through the company, he became CEO of BAE Systems Australia in 2001 and later led its operations in Saudi Arabia as head of a workforce of more than 5000, overseeing sales of more than $5 billion a year.

Keep an eye out for the next issue of enterprise, which will include a feature on UniSA’s new Chancellor Jim McDowell.


UniSA has partnered with two leading arts organisations to enhance the arts and cultural scene in South Australia. 

A collaboration with the Jam Factory has opened up educational opportunities across a range of areas to help support artists and designers.  

A new partnership with Rising Sun Pictures will provide undergraduate student placements and mentoring opportunities with the award-winning visual effects production company, as well as a co-delivered Graduate Certificate in Visual Effects. 


The UniSA Business School’s Centre for Digital Video Intelligence was launched in New York last year. Director of the Centre, Associate Professor Karen Nelson-Field, says it was established to meet industry demand for large-scale, independent, media science research to facilitate growth in the online video sector. 

Pictured above at the New York launch are Assoc Prof Nelson-Field and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro.


UniSA has been bestowed a scholarship from best-selling UK author, the late Sir Terry Pratchett.

The biennial $100,000 scholarship gives students the chance to conduct research at UniSA and at Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland. The Perpetual Sir Terry Pratchett Memorial Scholarship will support a student to undertake a Masters by research at UniSA’s Hawke Research Institute. 


UniSA’s inaugural Images of Research competition has attracted almost 150 entrants, showcasing the work of staff and students across a range of research areas in stunning photographs. 

Dr Genevieve Secker from the Centre for Cancer Biology took out first prize for her image Vascular Tree, pictured right, while researcher Saad Al-Sharrah claimed second prize for his image Desert Wanderer. 


A new company which will revolutionise machine-to-machine (M2M) communications across a range of industries has been launched by shareholders, including UniSA.

Commercialising new technologies developed by UniSA’s Institute for Telecommunications Research, Myriota Pty Ltd will use low earth orbit satellites to provide two-way data connectivity for remote sensors and devices.


UniSA’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre, designed to incubate and strengthen businesses within the State, was officially opened in November last year. 

The Centre, established through a strategic partnership between UniSA, the State Government and anchor industry partner Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), will support business growth, and drive innovation and entrepreneurship in South Australia. 


Former South Australian Government Minister, John Hill, has joined the Council of UniSA. 

With more than 20 years’ experience in public life and 11 years as a Minister in both the Rann and Weatherill Governments, Hill was instrumental in the development of some of the State’s most significant health projects, including the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. 

Hill said he was looking forward to being part of the creativity, energy and enterprise at UniSA.


One of Australia’s leading researchers in radiation oncology, Professor Eva Bezak has been appointed to UniSA’s Division of Health Sciences. 

Prof Bezak was a Chief Physicist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and is an affiliate Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide, responsible for postgraduate education and training. 

In announcing the appointment, Pro Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, Professor Robert Vink said Prof Bezak was one of Australia’s top experts in radiation medical physics with a strong portfolio of leading cancer research and, at the same time, an impressive track record in delivering teaching and training programs for postgraduates.


The UniSA Business School has secured a new partnership in the area of biometric media research with the appointment of Professor Steven Bellman to its Ehrenberg-Bass Institute.

Prof Bellman will spearhead biometric media research at the University and brings with him a significant track record of research engagement with corporations such as CBS and Disney.

US-based consumer neuroscience research company, MediaScience®  is providing more than $1.5 million to fund UniSA’s new MediaScience® Chair.     


UniSA has welcomed internationally renowned augmented reality and virtual reality researcher, Professor Mark Billinghurst, as part of a fellowship program to expand South Australia’s research expertise.

Based at the Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment Prof Billinghurst will conduct research into innovative computer interfaces that explore how virtual and real worlds can be merged.


Globally recognised leader in the emerging field of nanoporous materials, Professor Ajayan Vinu has been appointed to UniSA’s Future Industries Institute (FII).

Prof Vinu’s research discoveries have led to worldwide recognition, including extremely high citations in scientific literature which are in excess of 10,000.  

His work on novel materials with future-focused applications has also earned him recognition by key societies in Japan, Germany, India, Iran and Australia. 

Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro said Prof Vinu’s appointment added capacity to FII’s strength in materials and energy engineering with a clear pathway to partner engagement and impact. 


Inspirational leaders in the fields of Indigenous issues, business, art and sport were recognised for their contribution to their communities at UniSA’s inaugural Alumni Awards. 

The four awardees were artist and celebrity chef Poh Ling Yeow (above left); Chancellor of the University of Canberra, former Race Discrimination Commissioner, and Kungarakan and Iwaidja tribal elder, Professor Tom Calma AO (above right); company director and Chair of the Adelaide Football Club, Rob Chapman (below right); and Olympic basketball player, coach and commentator, Rachael Sporn OAM (below left).

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said it was a pleasure to acknowledge the inaugural recipients for their efforts and their great contributions. 

“We attract and inspire the kind of people who challenge the norm, break out of the mould, commit to excellence and work with great passion to achieve their goals,” Prof Lloyd said.

“Each and every one of this first group of award recipients has faced challenges, unattainable goals and hard choices and they have used their talents to reach success.” 


UniSA research featured prominently at the ‘Oscars of Australian science’, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes last year. 

UniSA’s Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro (pictured above), was part of a national team which won the 2015 University of New South Wales Eureka Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Scientific Research, and Associate Professor Frank Bruno (below left) led a UniSA team which won the ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology.

Prof Monro’s team was awarded for its Super Dots research into the ‘world’s smallest, brightest nano-flashlights finding a diseased needle in a haystack’. 

Assoc Prof Bruno and his UniSA colleagues Dr Martin Belusko (below right) and Dr Steven Tay  (below middle) were awarded for their work in ‘freezing salt to store solar power’. 

Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd congratulated Prof Monro and Assoc Prof Bruno on being represented in the nation’s top science awards.

“Both Tanya and Frank have been recognised for research which is critical in solving many of the world’s current and future challenges,” Prof Lloyd said.


UniSA’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Professor Robert Vink, and Centre for Cancer Biology research leaders Professor Hamish Scott and Professor Gregory Goodall have been inducted as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS).

Professor Ian Frazer, President of the Academy, welcomed all the new Fellows during its inaugural Scientific Meeting in October.

“Their election as Fellows reflects the international standing of their contribution to health and medical science through research, leadership and service,” Prof Frazer said.

“Their future contribution to the field will help ensure that users of the healthcare system in Australia are offered the best quality of care using the latest in advances in health research.”

Provost and Chief Academic Officer, Professor Allan Evans congratulated Profs Vink, Scott and Goodall on their election.

“AAHMS Fellows’ contributions ensure that users of the healthcare system in Australia are offered the best quality of care using the latest in advances in health research and I’m pleased Bob, Greg and Hamish have been recognised for their exceptional professional achievements,” he said.


Presenter of the ABC Radio National’s science show, Ockham’s Razor, author, reporter, performer and scientist, Professor Robyn Williams AM, has been made an Honorary Doctor of UniSA. 

The award honours contribution to science commun-ication and advocacy as one of Australia’s most respected science journalists.

Prof Williams has served as president of the Australian Museum Trust, Chair of the Commission for the Future and president of the Australian Science Communicators, and was the driving force behind the creation of the Eureka Awards for Excellence in Science Communication and Innovation.

He is the author of more than 10 books including his own auto-biography – And Now for Something Completely Different and most recently, a novel, 2007: a true story waiting to happen.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said Prof William’s gift was in balancing his passion for science and his passion to communicate and entertain, which has enabled him to share his love and fascination of science, discovery and endeavour with millions of people.