The Future is Structural Energy Storage – The 2020 Phillip Law Postdoctoral Award

Dr Salim’s work is driven by the need to develop greener, safer and more sustainable transport systems. The transport sector accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, growing faster in this sector than in any other. With electric vehicles predicted to represent 90% of all cars and light commercial vehicles on Australian roads by 2050, structural supercapacitors have the potential to revolutionise our transport by providing ‘mass-less’ energy storage, storing electrical energy in lightweight structural components of a vehicle’s body instead of in heavy, sole-purpose batteries. Now based with the Swinburne University of Technology, Dr Salim and her research team are working with multinational companies and Australian SMEs to demonstrate the exciting potential of these new supercapacitors, leveraging her collaborative relationships with a global academic and industrial network to take this cutting-edge research from the lab to the market place.

Industry 4.0 in the Frame – the Royal Society of Victoria’s 2020 Research Medallist

The Royal Society of Victoria is delighted to congratulate the 2020 recipient of the RSV’s prestigious Medal for Excellence in Scientific Research – Professor Bronwyn Fox, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at Swinburne University of Technology. According to Dr Anita Hill, CSIRO’s Chief Research Scientist, “There are several impressive factors about Professor Fox. Her ability to communicate, inspire, and advocate for science is evident not only from the ecosystem that she has been able to create and fund but also from her presentations, several of which are available on YouTube as TEDx talks or interviews. She provides audiences of any background a vision of the future and one where Australia is designing and manufacturing the lightweight materials of future mobility (flying cars, hyperloops). She is a role model for STEM and for supporting high tech companies in Australia. She is recognised internationally, and uses her networks to Australia’s advantage.”

Postcards from a Pandemic

When we write postcards, we take time to stop and reflect. What messages would we send to our future selves? When we finally emerge from our homes following lockdown, what sort of world do we want to live in? Powerful images and messages can ignite change. A multi-disciplinary panel gathered to discuss what they see as inspirational for scientists, governments and communities to take action in response to COVID-19, devastating bushfires, and systemic racism and social unrest. Before the pandemic we were amongst the unbridled fires, lush landscapes were blistering, and communities came together to offer donations and support to rebuild towns that were destroyed. During the pandemic and in lockdown we feel as if we’re in a snow dome. Gaps in wealth, age, sex, age and disability became highlighted and people marched forcefully with thunder in response to social injustice. Once we emerge, we hope to have better communication with scientists and vigorously carve out a new equilibrium.

Young Scientist Research Prizes 2020

Every year, final year PhD candidates present their doctoral studies to the Royal Society of Victoria, competing for four Prizes that recognise excellence in Victoria’s early career scientists. Eight finalists present under the four categories: Biological Sciences, Biomedical & Health Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Physical Sciences. While the format of delivery was different this year, participants rose to the challenge to deliver engaging and informative videos for National Science Week. A particular congratulations to Charlene Trestrail, Lakshanie Wickramasinghe, Megan Withers, Hayden Dalton, and Adelle Goodwin, the winners of their respective categories. From chicken sexing to neutron stars, all finalists’ presentations are summarised here, with links to their video presentations and the full proceedings as broadcast on the night via Facebook Live.

Building our Resilient Future

Extreme events are becoming more devastating and more frequent. Communities, economies and ecosystems have increasingly less time to bounce back between them. How do we build resilience for the future? This summer’s devastating bushfires and the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic have given Australians an alarming insight to the sustained uncertainty we will be facing under a rapidly changing climate. Mike Flattley (Royal Society of Victoria) and Anthony Boxshall (Science Into Action) invited a number of speakers to discuss how we can build resilience into our planning strategies for water, agriculture and biodiversity. Featuring David McKenzie and Claire Flanagan-Smith on the Goulburn Murray Resilience Strategy, Lauren Rickards on Climate Change and Systems Transformation, Brendan Wintle on Decision Making for Biodiversity, Briony Rogers on Preparing the Water Sector for Transition, Richard Eckard on the Transition of the Agricultural Sector, and Sarah Bekessy on Building Community Ownership and Agency in the process.