UNSW showcases world-leading research at Australian Parliament House

27 Oct 2023
Powered by UNSW

The inaugural ‘Powered by UNSW’ event at Australian Parliament House on 19 October took our world-class expertise to government and policymakers.

UNSW academic and professional staff welcomed Members of Parliament, agency staff and industry leaders to the ‘Powered by UNSW’ event, where the University’s leading researchers, innovators and educators staged a mini exhibition on how they help tackle society’s most pressing issues.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research & Enterprise, Professor Nicholas Fisk chaired the event, which kicked off with a welcome breakfast and a series of short talks by Members of Parliament and leading academics from areas aligned with the priorities of the current government.

Powered by UNSW
Professor Sven Rogge, Scientia Professor Toby Walsh, Mr Aaron Violi MP, Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs and Professor Stephen Rodda.

The Hon. Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith, Assistant Minister for Defence, Veterans' Affairs and the Republic spoke about UNSW’s leading research in solar, hydrogen, defence, health and Indigenous education, and how the University is effecting positive change in these areas in Australia and overseas.

Minister for Education the Hon. Jason Clare commended our academics who lead the world in their fields, and acknowledged the scale of the work they are doing across a broad range of industries and sectors. He said when he saw that UNSW was setting up a showcase at Parliament House, he wondered what a university does when it holds a showcase. The answer: “It showcases brains. And there are big brains [at UNSW].

“Great universities are unis that change the world, and UNSW is helping to do that,” he said. Read the full opening speech.

Minister Clare
Hon Jason Clare MP, Minister for Education speaking at the event.

The breakfast session continued with the 2023 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science winner Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, who spoke about the race to build the world’s first error-free quantum computer. The audience then heard from final year Law & Justice student Emily Ramsay on how her education at UNSW prepared and inspired her to gain employment in juvenile criminal justice in the Northern Territory.

Guests mingled throughout the morning and engaged in dynamic discussions with our experts in the areas of:

  • clean energy – hydrogen
  • clean energy – solar
  • artificial intelligence
  • affordable housing and cities of the future
  • defence and security
  • industry, innovation and entrepreneurship
  • work integrated learning, employability and lifelong learning
  • future health systems and technology
  • legal and the economy
  • sustainability, waste and manufacturing.

Lunch coincided with a UNSW Masterclass, where our experts shared their insights on:

  • the value of waste (Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla)
  • what’s next for the solar energy revolution (Scientia Professor Martin Green)
  • high hopes for hydrogen (Scientia Professor Rose Amal)
  • affordable housing and cities of the future (Professor Peter Poulet)
  • AI: friend or foe? (Scientia Professor Toby Walsh).

Powered by UNSW
Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah MP and Anirban Ghose.

UNSW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs said he was thrilled with the success of ‘Powered by UNSW’.

“Taking UNSW to Parliament House was a new concept for us.  By gathering our biggest names in education, research and innovation in the workplace of Australia’s decision-makers, we’ve all been able to build better collective understanding. UNSW has gained sharper insight into government and department priorities, while simultaneously providing Canberra with a better understanding of our capabilities. This has laid the groundwork for solving society’s greatest biggest challenges together. 

“I look forward to continuing our conversations from the day and staunchly pursuing collaborative efforts with our partners across government, industry, academia and the wider community, as it’s when we work together that we accelerate the speed of progress for all.” 

Pictured top: UNSW Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Attila Brungs with Member for Kingsford Smith the Hon. Matt Thistlethwaite and Law & Justice student Emily Ramsay.