As an Australian writer and broadcaster, Alicia Sometimes has performed her spoken word and poetry at many venues, festivals, and events across the world. Her poems have been featured in Best Australian Poems, The Age, and more. She is the director and co-writer of the art/science planetarium shows, Elemental and Particle/Wave. Particle/Wave – a creative multimedia show about gravitational waves – has had sold-out shows as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival and World Science Festival Brisbane. In her talk, Alicia will look at how sharing the narratives around science can inspire curiosity, create fascinating art, influence change, and promote empathy.
Ash Reddy is the founder of Chess Mates, a company that teaches chess to children as young as 2 years old. On a mission to redefine how chess is taught and perceived, Ash has grown the presence of his company to now be working in schools, aged care and childcare centres all over South-East Queensland. Instead of focusing on children merely becoming better chess players, Ash’s focus is on using chess as an educational tool to help their emotional intelligence and soft skills. Ash believes there needs to be more of a push for soft skills to be taught within the classroom – including how to cope with adversity and understand your emotional intelligence – and is looking forward to sharing these ideas in his talk.
A national leader in the commercialisation of intellectual property, Cameron Turner has helped form 4 high-tech start-ups and is a lecturer and the inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence at The University of Queensland Business School. Using his diverse experience in applied research, commercialisation, and economic and international business development, Cameron helps researchers, students, and entrepreneurs to commercialise world-class innovations based on university research. He has been a Managing Director, Board Member, and Strategic Advisor, and is currently the CEO of Progel, a UQ start-up that has developed the world’s most advanced probiotic drink and immune-boosting supplements. In his talk, he will discuss a program he launched aiming to help students learn complex problem solving through entrepreneurial partnerships with researchers.
Carmen Gorska Putynska is a Fire Safety Engineer, and is finishing her PhD research at The University of Queensland. Fire Engineering is a fascinating growing field that studies how new technologies, materials, and architectures affect a potential fire. Carmen’s research is specifically focused on timber housing and how to make it fireproof. In the last three years, she has been burning and testing timber houses of different shapes and sizes in order to understand, predict, and prevent the devastating consequences that a real fire can cause. This research is part of a greater movement that aims to use timber housing as a means to reduce global warming. In her talk, Carmen will share how timber, a renewable material with a negligible carbon footprint, can become the material for future housing.
As the Associate Director of the Creative Lab at Queensland University of Technology, Associate Professor Donna Hancox is passionate about stories. Her research sits at the intersection of story making, immersive technology, and social impact. In the past two years she has led research projects working with refugee and asylum seeker communities around the notions of belonging. As a Chief Investigator for a Australian Research Council Linkage project, Donna has also explored creative methods for data collection and large-scale collaborative story making projects in regional and remote Australia. In her talk, she will propose that evolving immersive and experiential modes of making and sharing stories have the potential to change our understanding of lived experiences so that we can address complex social issues through inclusive social policy.
Dr Gianluca Demartini is a Senior Lecturer in Data Science at The University of Queensland in the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including papers at major venues for research on the Web, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Retrieval, Semantic Web, and Human Computation. Before joining The University of Queensland, he was a lecturer at The University of Sheffield in the UK, and a post-doctoral researcher at the eXascale Infolab at The University of Fribourg in Switzerland. Gianluca was also a visiting researcher at UC Berkeley, a junior researcher at the L3S Research Centre in Germany, and an intern at Yahoo! Research in Spain. In 2011, he obtained a PhD in Computer Science at The Leibniz University of Hanover in Germany focusing on Semantic Search. In his talk, Gianluca will discuss a new type of job – data annotators – that has been emerging from the growing popularity of Artificial Intelligence.
After completing his PhD at The University of Sydney and postdoctoral studies at The University of Oxford, Glenn was an academic at The University of Sydney and The University of Connecticut (USA) before joining the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at The University of Queensland in 2007. Glenn is a pioneer in using animal venoms to develop eco-friendly insecticides and human therapeutics. His early work on venoms led to him found an agricultural biotechnology company – Vestaron Corporation – that is developing bee-safe insecticides. His laboratory maintains the largest venom collection in the world, comprising venom from more than 700 species of ants, assassin bugs, caterpillars, centipedes, scorpions, spiders, and wasps. Glenn has co-authored three books and 19 book chapters, and he has published more than 250 peer-reviewed scientific articles. In his talk, Glenn will discuss his current research on the development of a venom-derived drug to prevent the brain damage caused by stroke.
As a business designer, author, and illustrator, Hayley Langsdorf firmly believes that magic happens when humans connect and communicate honestly and deeply; and that this happens best when doodling. From humble beginnings doodling stickmen flipbooks in schoolbooks, through an English literature degree, and more than 15 years working across Corporate Communications, Transformational Change, and Innovation, Hayley’s trusty markers have never left her side. Besides having written and illustrated two children’s books, Hayley also works as a business designer at 3rdView Consulting. Using her business acumen, she has written a business book about deconstructing the artform of visual storytelling. Channelling her passion for using visual storytelling to make a positive impact in the world, in 2015, Hayley founded her own company, Thoughts Drawn Out. In her talk, Hayley will share her perspective on how the very act of ‘doodling’ can allow us to communicate and collaborate better.
Professor John Fraser is a medical disruptor, who founded Australia’s largest clinical multi-disciplinary research group, based in Australia's largest cardiothoracic hospital, The Prince Charles Hospital. From half an office, and with no staff, he has built a team of more than 70 clinicians, engineers, scientists, and economists with global links – connected to all of the major cardiothoracic hospitals globally. His strong interest in developing all things cardiovascular resulted in him co-founding BiVACOR™ – a total bionic heart – with Dr Daniel Timms its inventor. He has now moved on to tackling the growing epidemic of cardiac arrest and life-threatening allergy through founding De Motu Cordis Pty Ltd (DMC). In his talk, John will discuss his mistakes made and lessons learned in how to move research into reality, where DMC is developing drug technology and a device to improve the delivery of critical care drugs to patients outside the hospital environment.
After completing a PhD in melanoma genetics in 2012, Dr Ken Dutton-Regester is now a cancer researcher exploring new ways to treat late-stage melanoma. This 2017 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist is extremely passionate about communicating his research in unique and innovative formats and has recently been appointed to serve on the Questacon Advisory Council. Wanting to do larger and bolder outreach activities, Ken founded Excite Science Communications and has recently entered the 2019 QUT Bluebox Accelerator Program. He is now embarking on a mission to change science education by creating the world’s first cancer-themed Escape Room, launching in National Science Week 2019. In his talk, Ken will challenge the way we currently talk about cancer and present an innovative approach to combat misinformation surrounding the disease.
Dr Martin Weber is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at The University of Queensland. Among his main research interests, he has been concerned extensively with questions of ecological change, and how these affect world politics. This interest was augmented by a long-standing commitment to outdoor pursuits, and by growing up in close contact with environmentalists, farmers, and industrial workers as well as engineers. The tensions, contradictions, and potentials in such constellations have informed his research. His talk focuses on one 'big picture' aspect of this, namely the rise of the ‘Ecological Question'. Martin's argument connects this with the long history of attempts to solve the ‘Social Question’, framed as poverty, deprivation, and exclusion. It is these attempts that have created the ‘Ecological Question’, but also a condition in which new solutions appear from unexpected sources.
Professor Peter Greste is the UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication at The University of Queensland. He came to academia in 2018 after 30 years as a foreign correspondent for the BBC, Reuters, and Al Jazeera in some of the world’s most volatile places, including Afghanistan, Latin American, Africa, and the Middle East. He is best known for becoming a headline himself in 2013, when he and two of his colleagues were arrested in Cairo while working for Al Jazeera, and charged with terrorism offences. In letters smuggled from prison, he described the arrests as an attack on media freedom. The letters helped launch a global campaign that eventually got them released after more than 400 days in prison, earning him numerous human rights awards. In 2017, alongside two of his colleagues, he established the advocacy group, the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom. In his talk, Peter will share his academic research investigating the impact of national security legislation on public interest journalism.
As a novelist and lawyer, Simon Cleary published his third novel, The War Artist, in 2019. Through the characters of a brigadier, a nurse, and a tattoo artist, this novel lays bare the devastating effects of war trauma in the context of the current 18-year conflict in Afghanistan and explores paths to healing from PTSD. His first novel, The Comfort of Figs (2008), investigates the changes to landscapes that come with building cities. Simon’s experiences hitch-hiking through Algeria at the outbreak of civil war informed Closer to Stone (2012), which deals with the impacts of extreme beliefs. Simon has also worked in the justice system in Australia in a range of roles. His writing is shaped by the lessons he has learned from advocating for people at times of stress in their lives. In his talk, Simon will describe how research can enhance fiction, and explore the power of novels to spark change in people and communities.