An environmental scientist dedicated to increasing marine biodiversity in harbours, a cross-disciplinary health curriculum initiative, and a unique collaboration aimed at improving the lives of people with hearing loss were all finalists in the 2023 Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards.
The awards, which were presented in Melbourne on 22 August, recognise the contribution the higher education sector makes to Australian prosperity and quality of life, and celebrate the work and achievements of both academic and professional staff.
Associate Professor Katherine Dafforn from the School of Natural Sciences was a finalist in the Emerging Leadership category. She is a coastal ecologist who co-leads the Living Seawalls initiative to address marine biodiversity in harbours globally. Associate Professor Dafforn leads three postdoctoral researchers and seven HDR students in projects that contribute to environmental sustainability below water. As Director of Research in the School of Natural Sciences, Associate Professor Dafforn supports more than 300 researchers, by building researcher capability in industry engagement, mentoring early career researchers and training scientists and engineers in leadership and science communication.
The Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences’ Connected Curriculum for Professionals in Health initiative was a finalist in the Teaching and Learning Excellence category. The initiative is designed to break down department siloes and has created a centralised repository of educational modules that support student learning across disciplines. It has already won multiple awards, being described as “unprecedented” for the elegant, strategic and streamlined approach to curriculum development that has resulted in exceptional learning experiences for students. Dr Morwenna Kirwan leads the team responsible for the initiative, working with Associate Professor Verity Pacey, Professor Catherine Dean, Dr Kelly Gray and Alexandra Bhatti.
The Australian Hearing Hub (AHH) at Macquarie was a finalist in the Industry Engagement category. The AHH was formed 10 years ago with the aim of improving the lives of those with hearing loss. It brings together academic, industry, government and not-for-profit members, including Cochlear Limited, Hearing Australia, National Acoustic Laboratories, NextSense and The Shepherd Centre. Its communal model attracts new industry partners to engage for individual, economic and societal benefit. Of note, all AHH members joined with Google Australia in the Australian Future Hearing Initiative earlier this year. Key members of the AHH team are Professor Sakkie Pretorius , Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor David McAlpine, Louise Dodds, Professor Catherine McMahon and Dr Romaric Bouveret.
If you would like to submit an entry for the 2024 awards, key dates will be posted here.