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Menzies Foundation Newsletter December 2016

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Menzies Foundation News

A message from the CEO

Sarah Hardy CEO

Merry Christmas bridge builders everywhere

In a year which has featured a lot of unpredictable outcomes, we were recently reminded of the importance of good leadership, every day in every aspect of life.

Speaking at our annual scholarship presentation in Sydney, journalist Narelle Hooper, talked about the importance of bridge builders not wall builders. In a time of fear, leaders need to find ways to bring people together.

Her message was for all the Menzies Scholars in the room – those recently awarded and those with more experience under their belt. She challenged them to step up and create change where they saw it was needed and bring others along on the journey.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to another wonderful year at the Menzies Foundation; your support for this country’s future leaders has and will make a world of difference.

All the best for the holiday season from the Menzies Foundation team and see you all with renewed vigour in 2017.

Sarah Hardy
CEO, Menzies Foundation

Welcoming the latest alumni

From an engineer who hopes to reshape the energy sector to a physiotherapist exploring the pain experience of those from different cultural backgrounds, the class of 2017 Menzies Scholars gathered in Sydney for the annual Menzies awards celebration.

Welcoming the latest alumni

100 guests from around Australia gathered at Pier One to welcome the newest alumni and to reconnect with fellow scholars, board members and invited guests.

We opened the night with our ‘Leadership takes many forms’ video and guests were also entertained by guest speaker Narelle Hooper, who addressed a range of leadership topics, including how to best manage your own energy as a leader in order to get the best from the people around you.

Thank you to everyone who joined us and here is a reminder again of our remarkable young scholars:

  • Bernadette Brady 2017 Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Research Scholarship in the Allied Health Sciences Bernadette will continue her research and PhD on ‘The inequities of chronic pain - responding with culturally responsive physiotherapy’ through Western Sydney University and Liverpool Hospital.
  • Olsen Garland 2017 Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Scholarship in Engineering Olsen wants to help bring cheaper, more efficient, zero-emission electricity to markets at home and abroad by combining business nous with his electrical engineering skills and will complete an MBA at the London Business School to help him achieve that goal.
  • Nathan Van Wees – 2017 Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Scholarship in Law Nathan was awarded the Menzies scholarship to complete a Bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford University.
  • Lyndon Goddard 2017 Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholarship in International Law Lyndon has been awarded the International Law scholarship to complete a Master of Laws at the University of Cambridge and hopes to contribute to the development of our refugee policy and create greater awareness of Australia’s international legal obligations during his career.
  • Natasha Kennedy-Read – 2016 Fielding Menzies Tertiary Scholar, from Stawell Secondary College Natasha is an aspiring journalist with an interest in politics and gender studies and has started her Bachelor of Arts with a major in Media and Communications at the University of Melbourne.
  • Ethan Koschitzke 2016 Fielding Menzies Tertiary Scholar, Warracknabeal Secondary College Ethan is pursuing his love of science through a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne.
  • Andrew King 2016 Menzies Centenary Prize winner Andrew was the 2015 school captain and dux at Dimboola Memorial Secondary College and is now studying Engineering at Monash University and living on campus in Mannix College.

Please enjoy some of the photos from our event in Sydney and see more here...

montage 2016

New Fellow deciphering cellular immunity around the clock

Kevin ManUnderstanding the circadian cycles of immune cells and the genes that control them may play an important role in combating and treating inflammatory and chronic diseases.

In the same way that when we suffer from jetlag we don’t function properly, when circadian cycles are disrupted in immune cells or organs such as the liver, they begin to function less effectively. This contributes to the development of metabolic and autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Research on these circadian cycles is the focus of Dr Kevin Man from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) who has been awarded the NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellowship for 2016.


Backing our scholars’ community leadership

Disability Sports Australia, the Heartbeat of Football and the Satellite Foundation have been awarded the inaugural Menzies Alumni Community Leadership Grants, to support their work and that of Menzies Scholars who volunteer their time and expertise to help them achieve their goals.

A new initiative, the Menzies Alumni Community Leadership Grants enable our scholars to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to a community organisation with which they have an existing relationship.

The 2016 recipients are:

  • The Heartbeat of Football, nominated by 1989 Menzies Scholar in Medicine Professor Jamie Vandenberg, will initiate a program of health checks for mature aged football players at football grounds. Read more.
  • Liv and Zeden Croydon Satellite FoundationThe Satellite Foundation, nominated by 2004 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Dr Kerry Proctor, will run a 12 month program called SELFies (Satellite Engaged Leaders of the Future leadership and mentoring program) for 8 young people who live with a parent with a mental illness. Read more.
  • Disability Sports Australia, nominated by 2005 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Dr Leanne Hassett, will run training courses for physiotherapists and other health professionals working with adults with physical disabilities. They will also develop resources to help health professionals determine appropriate sporting opportunities for their clients. Read more.

Congratulations to our scholars who utilise their professional expertise in important community work.

Our Scholars do amazing things

  • Victorian Barrister and 1997 Menzies Scholar in Law, Stephen Donaghue QC, has been appointed to the second highest legal position in the country and will become Australia’s next solicitor-general when he takes up the role in January. The Government’s announcement was met with a very positive response from the legal profession.

  • Having just co-founded a Melbourne-based biotechnology company called oNKo-innate, looking to develop novel immunotherapies for cancer, 2006 NHMRC/Menzies Fellow, Dr Nick Huntington, was awarded the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s prestigious Burnet Prize, for his pioneering early career research into innate immunity and immunotherapy. More.

  • David Riglar Expect to hear the name Dr David Riglar some more in coming years. The 2013 NHMRC/Menzies Fellow is currently working at a synthetic biology lab at Harvard Medical School, trying to engineer bacteria to better understand the mammalian gut. This research could reduce the need for invasive gut tests like colonoscopies and lead to better management of inflammatory bowel disease. David has also established a not-for-profit called ‘Future of Research’, to help give voice to young scientists. More.
  • 1994 Menzies Law Scholar, Dominique Hogan Doran, was appointed as an Arbitral Panel Member for NBN Co, which means she will be a member of pool of arbitrators who determine disputes that may arise under or in relation to wholesale supply arrangements between the Australian telecommunications industry and NBN Co.
  • Just half way through his NHMRC/Menzies Fellowship, Dr Si Ming Man added to his growing list of accolades when he was awarded the Milstein Young Investigator Award for 2016 by his peers in the US.

In the media

  • Sibella Matthews 2016 sABC Radio National tracked down Harvard Menzies Scholar, Sibella Mathews (pictured), who had been out on the campaign trail for Hilary Clinton.
  • Allied Health Sciences Scholar, Dr Sally Gainsbury, spoke to ESPN about sports betting advertising in the US, comparing the Australian experience. You can also read Sally’s latest research on problems among social casino gamers, which has just been published.

Opening of Menzies Square in Jeparit

A tribute to the Menzies Family and the role they played in the small rural town of Jeparit – birthplace of Sir Robert Menzies – was the feature of the Menzies Square redevelopment, officially opened in Jeparit last week.

Menzies Square opening

The Menzies Square redevelopment, funded by the Hindmarsh Shire, Victorian State Government and with additional funds from the Menzies Foundation and Federation University, brings alive the centre square of Jeparit, whilst marking some of the most notable achievements and moments in the life and career of its most famous export.

Speaking at the opening, Menzies Foundation CEO, Sarah Hardy said “We share two things in common with the town of Jeparit, and that is … to keep the ambition and legacy of Sir Robert Menzies alive, for the communities who hold the history – obviously Jeparit being one of them – and to create relevance for those people today who visit this town.”

The Menzies Foundation contributed $35,000 to early stages of the project.

“For us at the Foundation that’s about extending the legacy of education and telling the story that reflects his own personal journey.”

In congratulating the Hindmarsh Shire, Ms Hardy said “we are very proud of how you’ve captured the old and the new to support the legacy of Sir Robert.”

Sir Robert’s eldest grandson, Alec, said it was 50 years since he had visited Jeparit with his grandfather. “When you think about what it must have been like to come from Melbourne in the early days, you can only look back and admire the pioneers and the huge efforts they made.” Alec’s great grandfather James was a mayor in the region and opened the general store, which is depicted in the new Menzies Square redevelopment.

The story and photos in the Dimboola Courier have it all covered and they were put together by none other than Menzies Centenary Prize winner, Andrew King…helping his dad out with the news over summer while he takes a break from engineering study at Monash University.

The State Government of Victoria was the major funder of Menzies Square, with $165,000 granted from the Putting Locals First program managed by Regional Development Victoria.

Menzies Institutes’ wrap

It’s been a very successful time for the Menzies health and research institutes around the country:

  • Menzies Health Institute Queensland has been awarded a $2.8 million NHMRC grant to establish a new world first Centre for Research Excellence in Prostate Cancer Survivorship to pursue prostate cancer research at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus. Professor Suzanne Chambers, MHIQ Director and Menzies Foundation Professor of Allied Health Research is an expert in this field and will be co-lead on the project.
  • In a significant finding, researchers at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania have discovered that the age at which multiple sclerosis symptoms first start is strongly linked to the latitude where the patient resides. Based on the research of 22,000 patients in 21 countries, those furthest from the equator experience an onset of their symptoms almost two years earlier than those closest to the equator.
  • Facebook could help lower Indigenous smoking rates (which is three times the national average in remote communities) according to researchers from the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. The preliminary finding is based on the fact that Aboriginal people use the social media site at higher rates than the overall population and it is therefore useful as a tool to reach out and communicate.
  • Professor Adam Elshaug, Co-Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, was part of the Capital Markets CRC Health Market Quality Team who won the inaugural Data Innovation Award at the Research Australia Awards, for their inventive data interpretation.

National History Challenge

Biruk with medalYoung Biruk Kahsay from St Monica’s Catholic Primary School in Footscray, Melbourne, has taken out the Menzies special category prize in the National History Challenge for 2017.

Coming from an Ethiopian background, Biruk had a lot to learn about Australia’s history and chose to focus on the Maralinga bombings in South Australia between 1956 and 1963 as part of the History Challenge, which focuses on Sir Robert’s legacy as prime minister.

The Menzies Foundation sponsors the special category ‘Robert Menzies and today’s Australia’ to help school children learn about the former prime minister and the significant changes which occurred in Australia under his 18 years of leadership.


Support our scholarships

If you would like to make a donation to the work of the Menzies Foundation, you will be investing in future scholarships to support the kinds of discoveries you have read about in this newsletter.

Donations can be made online and those over $2 are tax deductible.

Christmas 2016 - Peace and Joy