UniSA and the Malaysian Automotive Institute are partnering to establish a joint Automotive Innovation Centre, set to pioneer and deploy fresh innovations in nanotechnology and materials science, to advance the automotive industry.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the two institutions which will see UniSA’s Future Industries Institute host the new Centre, with spin-off companies anticipated to follow to deliver emerging technologies into the market place.

The Centre will employ a range of researchers, engineers and industry specialists with a research focus on nano/molecular engineering of functional surfaces and new disruptive manufacturing techniques.


UniSA and the Indigenous Defence Consortium have formalised a new collaboration that is designed to advance and support business and education opportunities in the defence industries for new generations of Aboriginal leaders.

UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd, and CEO of Indigenous Defence Consortium, Adam Goodes signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see UniSA support skills development through its educational offerings in areas such as science and systems engineering, right through to business administration, supply chain management, business marketing and growth and entrepreneurship.


UniSA has been ranked in the world’s top three per cent of universities in the QS rankings, released in September.

In a larger field of contenders this year, and with 31 out of 35 of Australia’s universities taking a slight fall in the 2016 QS rankings, UniSA retained its position at 288, which places it in the top three per cent of universities worldwide and 15th in Australia.

Also released in September were the 2016 Times Higher Education World University Rankings in which UniSA broke through two bands from its previous ranking, to be positioned in the 251-300 band. Again, the lift comes in a bigger pool of assessed universities, and places UniSA at number 11 in Australia.

“These results mean UniSA is now ranked in the top three per cent of world universities in the two most recognised measures,” Prof Lloyd says. “This is a stellar achievement for any institution, but for one that is just 25 years-old, it is remarkable.”

Prof Lloyd says he hoped to build on this performance in the next few years.

“Continuing on this trajectory will see us move into the nation’s top 10 in the coming years - an outstanding achievement for one of the country’s youngest universities,” he says.


UniSA has rocketed to fourth place in Australia in the Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars listings for the Asia Pacific region and is the youngest Australian university to make the list.

The Nature Index Rising Stars assessment examines the increase by a university’s researchers in research published in a selection of the world’s top scientific journals – including titles such as Nature.

The assessment was made for the years 2012 and 2015.

“As Australia’s youngest ‘rising star’ in these rankings, it shows that we’ve made some really big strides in the quality of our research,” UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd says.


UniSA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with one of China’s leading drug development and pharmaceuticals manufacturers – D&R Pharmaceuticals – to support the development of new drugs, and treatments in stem cell biology and drug reformulation technology.

With a plan to establish an Adelaide-based company, D&R is expected to make significant further investments in high potential UniSA-based research projects.

D&R Pharmaceuticals has already committed significant funds to contract research focused on stem cell applications in regenerative medicine – research led by Professor Xin-Fu Zhou at UniSA’s School of Health Sciences.


UniSA has received funding of more than $6.6m for 14 different projects from the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Dr Drew Evans, Associate Professor of Energy and Advanced Manufacturing at the Future Industries Institute, secured the largest grant with funding of over $900,000 for a project examining the further potential use of conductive polymers, beyond their application in smartphone and laptop displays.

All the projects that achieved funding are unified in their focus on addressing real-world concerns, and include a range of Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards and Future Fellowships.


UniSA has been selected to establish a King Sejong Institute in Adelaide as a hub for Korean culture, business and language education.

UniSA was the only successful applicant in Australia. Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the new Institute will build on already productive research and student exchange relationships with Korea and spearhead a local focus on the language and culture of what is one of the most innovative economies in the world today.

The agreement was signed at the end of September by Prof Lloyd and His Excellency, Kyoung-ha Woo, Korean Ambassador to Australia.


UniSA experts in bilingual, multilingual and intercultural education will play a key role in developing South Australia’s first Chinese bilingual school.

UniSA’s Research Centre for Languages and Cultures is developing the language and content curriculum for William Light R-12 School’s bilingual program, which introduces Mandarin Chinese to students, building up towards the curriculum being offered half in Chinese and half in English.

This innovative approach to Chinese language education comes in response to China’s rapidly growing role in Australia’s economic, cultural and strategic future.


In July, UniSA welcomed a $7.5m State Government investment in its new advanced manufacturing and engineering research institute – the Future Industries Institute (FII) – to support a range of initiatives that will help create the State’s future industries.

FII undertakes research that is industry-engaged and globally-connected in four key areas – energy and advanced manufacturing; minerals and resource engineering; environmental science and engineering; and biomaterials engineering and nanomedicine.

A launch of FII was celebrated at the Mawson Lakes campus in September with attendees including UniSA’s Professor Nico Voelcker; Professor Emily Hilder; Professor Tanya Monro; Professor Enzo Lombi; and Professor David Giles.


Joel Fuller from the School of Health Sciences was awarded first prize in UniSA’s Three Minute Thesis grand final in August. He was one of eight PhD students who had three minutes to present a condensed outline of their research in a manner designed to appeal to an intelligent though non-specialist audience.

Joel’s research was about making informed choices when buying running shoes suited to body mass and to help avoid injuries. The audience selected School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences student Lih Yin Tan as the People’s Choice winner. Her research is examining immunotherapy as a cancer treatment.


UniSA capped off 25th birthday celebrations with its 25th Birthday Festival at City West campus in October. Visitors enjoyed exhibitions, live music, street performers, food vendors, a pop-up bar, outdoor cinema and an art market. The Samstag Museum also launched two exhibitions and a new book during the Festival.


Almost 900 guests attended UniSA’s major anniversary event at the end of July, the 25th Birthday Gala Dinner at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

The Gala Dinner not only celebrated the success of the University, it also raised close to $250,000 for scholarships for the next generations of UniSA students.

Channel Seven journalist and UniSA graduate, Jessica Adamson, was the MC for the night and guests were entertained by James Morrison and the James Morrison Academy Band.


Alumni events have continued to be held interstate and overseas during UniSA’s 25th birthday year. In the second half of the year, events were held in Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

To see the full photo galleries, visit unisa.edu.au/connect/Alumni-network/events/gallery-albums/.


Professor Irene Watson has been appointed as Pro Vice Chancellor for Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy and Unaipon Chair.

The new senior management position will have responsibility for leading the development of a whole-of-institution approach to the recruitment, support, retention and success of Aboriginal people at the University and meeting its ambition to be Australia’s university of choice for Aboriginal people.

A Tanganekald, Meintangk-Bunganditj woman, solicitor, representative for First Nations Peoples at the United Nations and researcher, Prof Watson says she is excited at the possibilities that the position presents to enhance and further the engagement between First Nations Peoples and the University.


Professor Peter Buckskin has been appointed to the newly created senior staff position of Dean: Aboriginal Engagement and Strategic Projects.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says Prof Buckskin will play an important role in promoting UniSA nationally and internationally, and providing advice to the University on building and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal communities.

Prof Buckskin’s previous role was Dean of Indigenous Scholarship, Engagement and Research, where he led significant change in creating meaningful connections with Aboriginal communities at a State and national level.

“He brings to the role a wealth of experience, having led a distinguished career in Aboriginal education and public policy for more than 30 years,” Prof Lloyd says.


In support of UniSA’s commitment to Indigenous education, Samuel Osborne has been appointed to the position of Associate Director: Regional Engagement (APY Lands).

This new position has been created to initially focus on consulting with Anangu communities in the APY Lands to reposition the nature of tertiary provision in the region and also work to establish a more accessible and diverse suite of programs for very remote communities in SA.

During the course of his professional career, Osborne has gained significant experience and has strongly engaged with Aboriginal communities.

He has held a number of positions at UniSA, including Senior Research Fellow: CRC Remote Economic Participation - Remote Education Systems Project, and more recently as a researcher in Indigenous Education and course coordination of the Pitjantjatjara Language Summer School.


Associate Professor Joanne Cys has been appointed to the role of UniSA’s Head of School: Art, Architecture and Design, commencing in January 2017.

She will take on the role following the retirement of Professor Mads Gaardboe who has been with UniSA since 2004 when he began as Head of the Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture and Design.

Assoc Prof Cys has been the Division of EASS Dean: Academic since 2013 and has a breadth of experience on national and international industry peak bodies.

Earlier this year she was inducted into the Australian Design Hall of Fame in recognition of her eminent contributions to design research and education.


Brendan Hughes has been appointed to the new role of Director of Student Engagement.

He joins UniSA from the University of Manitoba in Canada, where he has been a Director and Executive Director in Student Engagement since 2011.

During this time he led the development and implementation of new institution wide programs in orientation, student volunteerism and student leadership which received national recognition through the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Hughes has led key reforms in co-curricular student engagement and achievement, career services, community service-learning, and Indigenous student success.


UniSA’s Centre for Business Growth (CBG) has appointed entrepreneur and co-founder of software development company Gold Systems, Terry Gold, as its first Growth Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

Relocating from Boulder, Colorado to Adelaide, Gold will play a pivotal role in teaching growth assessment clinics and growth modules at the University and will help to digitally enable CBG content.

The CBG delivers world-class business growth programs for CEOs/MDs and executives of small and medium companies. The programs enable executives to gain the knowledge and skills they need to accelerate company growth and compete in a global marketplace.

Gold says he knows firsthand how hard it is to start and grow a company, and that he looks forward to helping more CEOs on their journey.


Professor Alex Brown has been appointed as the Chair in Aboriginal Health within UniSA’s Sansom Institute for Health Research.

Prof Brown – a world recognised leader in Aboriginal health – is also Deputy Director and Program Leader of Aboriginal Research at the South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute.

His research focuses on the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians, and how this can be reduced.

“Making a difference to the lives of adults who have chronic disease now is the best way to help develop the next generation of Aboriginal children,” Prof Brown says.


Jane Booth has been appointed to the new position of Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture.

Booth says she is thrilled to join a high performing and ambitious leadership team and move formally into the education sector by working for one of the State’s most dynamic and progressive organisations.

“There is so much scope to ensure UniSA not only attracts the best talent to deliver the best education and research in the State, but also contributes to South Australia’s economic prosperity and diversity by developing and releasing the potential of our people, wherever they sit in the University,” Booth says.

Booth joined UniSA from SA Health where she was Executive Director of People, Health and Culture.


UniSA pain researcher, Dr Tasha Stanton is one of the researchers chosen for ABC Radio National’s Top 5 Under 40 project to discover Australia’s next generation of science communicators and give them a voice.

“I am so thrilled to have received such a prestigious award recognising the work that I do in scientific communication,” Dr Stanton says.


Cara Kolopelnyk, final year UniSA student has been announced as 2016 Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Pharmacy Student of the Year.

PSA National President Joe Demarte congratulated Cara on her outstanding achievement and said she was a stand-out in a strong and talented field of candidates.


Associate Professor Krasimir Vasilev has been awarded the prestigious Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers for three research stays at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany.

Open to any mid-career researchers in the world, Assoc Prof Vasilev says this gives him the opportunity to carry out research in one of the top research institutions in the world. His Fellowship project is based on a novel solvent free drug encapsulation technology pioneered by Assoc Prof Vasilev and his team at UniSA.


UniSA’s Associate Professor Kerry Thoirs won the Sonographer of the Year – the Pru Pratten Memorial Award – as well as Researcher of the Year at the Australasian Sonographers Association’s annual awards this year.

On receiving the awards, Assoc Prof Thoirs said to gain this recognition from her peers was the pinnacle of her professional career.

“It is also very poignant for me, as it evokes memories of Pru Pratten, a South Australian sonographer, whose impact on Australian sonographers and their practice should always be remembered,” Assoc Prod Thoirs says.

Assoc Prof Thoirs’ research is centred around supervision of student projects and investigating best practice in teaching and learning, particularly in medical sonography.


UniSA’s Dr Colin Hall has won the Prime Minister’s inaugural New Innovator Prize for his work at the Future Industries Institute.

Dr Hall is the named inventor on five patents and is one of the driving innovators of South Australia’s highly successful plastic automotive mirror.

“I am very proud to receive the award but also pleased to have earned it working with a dedicated ‘can do’ team around me,” says Dr Hall who is a coatings physicist with experience in both private industry and academia.


UniSA’s Sandra Walsh has been named Adult Educator/Mentor of the Year at the 2016 Adult Learners’ Week Awards.

These awards are a State Government initiative designed to recognise and acknowledge the outstanding contributions of individuals, communities and organisations in re-engaging learners and connecting them to learning opportunities.

Walsh, who has been working in the Foundation Studies program since it began at the Whyalla campus in 2006, says she is very humbled to receive this award.


UniSA staff have been awarded three citations in the highly competitive Commonwealth Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching awards.

Dr Lois McKellar and Cathy Kempster from the School of Nursing and Midwifery were awarded for leading the development of a sustainable model of tailored support and innovative resources to enhance the clinical learning experience for midwifery students.

Dr Nayana Parange from the School of Health Sciences was awarded for fostering sustained, authentic learning among tomorrow’s obstetric and gynaecologic sonographers in a fully online postgraduate course.

The citations recognise and reward the diverse, scholarly contributions made by individuals and teams who have had a significant impact on the quality of student learning in a particular area of responsibility over a sustained period.


UniSA’s Samstag Museum of Art was awarded a prestigious Museums of Australasia Prize for the best book published in 2015 by a museum, science centre and art gallery from Australia and New Zealand.

The prize recognises the book – Geoff Wilson: Interrogated Landscape – which celebrates the lifetime achievement of an exceptional artist whose extensive career has largely remained outside the public gaze.

Erica Green, Director of the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art said the prize was important peer recognition for the Museum, the artist and the book’s authors.


UniSA’s Venture Catalyst program has won two 2016 Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia Research Commercialisation Awards.

The program, run through the Innovation and Collaboration Centre and headed up by Jasmine Vreugdenburg, was acknowledged as the Best Entrepreneurial Initiative and also won the People’s Choice Award.

“These awards are wonderful recognition of UniSA’s deep commitment to facilitating the transfer of knowledge into outcomes for the broader community,” says UniSA’s Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President of Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro.

Venture Catalyst supports the brightest of UniSA’s student and recent-graduate led start-ups by providing up to $50,000 to novel and scalable enterprises as a grant.