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Menzies Foundation Newsletter June 2016

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  Newsletter No: 2  |   June 2016  
Menzies Foundation News

Spreading the word

Sarah Hardy CEO

It's scholarship season and this is always an exciting time at the Menzies Foundation when we get to meet a wonderful array of enthusiastic and bright young people who have a great vision for the future. It’s a tough call to choose the eventual Menzies Scholars.

I have spent the past month travelling to universities across Australia to encourage potential Menzies Scholars to apply for our prestigious postgraduate scholarships and take advantage of the great opportunities they deliver. I’ve also been meeting with some of our inspiring alumni on the journey, which only reinforces the value of investing in future leaders early in their careers.

We have captured the stories of some of these remarkable Menzies alumni in our new video ‘Leadership takes many forms’ and I’d encourage you to take a few minutes to have a look and see the diversity of what these people achieve and how they are working to help so many Australians.

leadership takes many forms donate

Congratulations to our new Chair, the Vice Chancellor and President of Charles Darwin University, Professor Simon Maddocks. It is a great story for us to have a Menzies Scholar appointed as Chair of the Board for the first time. I look forward to working with Simon to help achieve the Foundation’s ambitions and identify the next plan for growth in our scholarship program. 

Sarah Hardy

Investment in the future of international law 

Patrick Wall in GenevaWith support from generous donors in the legal sector (individuals and law firms) and a significant contribution from the Federal Government, in 2013 the Menzies Foundation established the Sir Ninian Stephen Menzies Scholarship in International Law.

The scholarship is designed to meet a growing need for outstanding lawyers in the increasingly important field of international law. It is named in honour of a major contributor to Australian law, former Governor General and former Chair of the Menzies Foundation, Sir Ninian Stephen.

The Foundation has awarded three International Law scholarships to scholars with very different career aims.

Inaugural International Law Scholar, Christine Ernst, studied a Bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford University and says she is especially interested in developing a practice in human rights and international law.

Patrick Wall has just completed a Masters of Laws in International Law at the Graduate Institute Geneva and says he is very much aware of the opportunity he’s had to work with people from a wide range of countries and cultures.

Christine and Patrick agree that they have had a life-changing experience

Joel Gilbourd, will be the first Menzies Scholar to study at Georgetown University in Washington. He has a drive to ensure accountability and integrity in the use of foreign aid, having already volunteered in the Solomon Islands.  

If you want to read more about our international law scholars, please link through to their stories on our website.

Our law scholarships valued at up to AUD$75,000 per annum will open for applications in early July. 

You too can support the Menzies Foundation scholarship program and help support Australia’s young leaders of the future. Donations can be made online or you can make contact with our Operations Manager, Pam Shearman, if you’d like to discuss an alternative arrangement. With tax time just around the corner, all donations are tax deductible.

Menzies Scholars achieve amazing things

Dr Nick Huntington credit Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

  • There has been extensive coverage of a discovery by 2006 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Dr Nick Huntington (Laboratory Head at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute), and his team identifying the mechanism by which natural killer immune cells can destroy cancer cells. Essentially the discovery is about activating an individual’s natural killer cells to help them fight their own cancer. The story was covered nationally on the ABC and SBS, as well as in the UK in the Daily Mail and the Mirror, not to mention the medical industry press.
  • Speaking of leading cancer researchers, 2008 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow and immunologist, Dr Misty Jenkins, has recently been awarded the Suzanne Cory Fellowship, the NHMRC RD Wright Career Development Fellowship and started a new lab head role also with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI). SBS recently presented a piece on Misty’s role in encouraging other Aboriginal students to follow in her footsteps. Misty joins other Menzies alumni making an impact at WEHI including Dr Nick Huntington, 1999 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow Dr Bob Anderson (now working on a vaccine for Coeliac disease in the US), and 2007 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Dr Ken Pang, who is a senior postdoctoral fellow in the inflammation division.
  • The Australian Government has nominated 2000 Menzies Scholar in Law, Professor Chester Brown, for election as a member of the International Law Commission (ILC).  The ILC plays a role in upholding the rule of law internationally. The elections will take place at the United Nations in November and Chester’s nomination has also been supported by New Zealand and Canada.
  • 1987 Menzies Scholar in Medicine and Menzies Foundation Chair, Professor Simon Maddocks has been appointed to the Australian Government’s new Council for International Education. As the Vice-Chancellor of Charles Darwin University he is one of the industry experts providing advice on one of Australia’s top service exports.
  • 2015 Menzies Engineering Scholar, Anna Gould, is still completing her MPhil at Cambridge but has played a leading role in GapSummit 2016, the world's first global inter-generational leadership summit in biotechnology.
  • 2003 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Professor John Pimanda and his team at the University of NSW has made a major breakthrough in stem cell research, which may help the body rebuild damaged tissue. This story had a lot of coverage, including with the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC Radio National.
  • Current NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Dr Alexis Whitton, who is at Harvard Medical School, will expand her research into bipolar disorder after being awarded the Andrew P Merrill Memorial Fellowship worth $US20,000. 

At our AGM in late May we released the Menzies Foundation 2015 annual report, with further stories of our scholars and a stunning cover image of 2007 Menzies Scholar in Engineering, Dr Adrian McCallum, traversing the upper neve of the Bonar Glacier in New Zealand, having completed the first radio echo sounding of the glacial ice.

Annual Report 2015

The featured scholars are: 

  • Co-Deputy Director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, 1989 Menzies Scholar in Medicine, Professor Jamie Vandenberg, who is advancing our understanding of why so many Australians die each year from sudden cardiac death.
  • former Deputy Chair of ASIC and 1983 Menzies Scholar in Law, Belinda Gibson, who is using her skills to help other organisations like the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin and as Chair of the Chief Executive Women Organisation Scholarship Committee, which provides scholarships to future women business leaders.
  • Director of the NHMRC Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury & Health, and 1994 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Professor Paul Hodges, who is doing outstanding national work which will benefit most Australians at some time in their lives, with his NHMRC funded research into spinal and other musculoskeletal pain, and
  • water resources engineer and 2013 Menzies Scholar in Engineering, Mahala McLindin, who is advancing the understanding of how climate and land use change impact water resources at the community level. 

Applications open now for Menzies Research Scholarship in the Allied Health Sciences

Allied Health 2016The Menzies Research Scholarship in the Allied Health Sciences is at the forefront of prestigious PhD research scholarships in Australia.

The scholarship is open to graduates in the Allied Health sciences who are enrolled as PhD candidates in an Australian university and who have completed the first stage of their doctoral program.

Scholars like Dr Josephine Barbaro, who developed the app which aids early detection of autism, Dr Zhi Wu, who is advancing the treatment of glaucoma (a leading cause of irreversible blindness) and Dr Jane McCormack, who is improving access to speech pathology services for children, are just three of the 37 previous recipients of this scholarship.

All the application details and prospectus are on our website. If you know someone who is undertaking their PhD in an allied health sciences field, please encourage them to take a look and apply before 30 June.

Applications open now for Menzies Engineering Scholarship

"The Menzies Foundation Engineering scholarship provided me with an incredible opportunity on many levels. It allowed me to experience all the variety that Cambridge had to offer: academically, working with start-ups and volunteering through a university program. In addition, being a part of the Menzies Foundation alumni broadened my horizons to the diversity of options in which we can take our careers."         

David Bowly, 2014 Menzies Engineering Scholarship recipient

The Menzies Engineering scholarship is open for applications now for engineers who want to complete their postgraduate study at a prestigious university overseas.

The detailed prospectus is on the Menzies Foundation website and applications close on 31 July.

2016 Harvard Menzies Scholars announced

Sibella MatthewsTwo outstanding achievers who have a drive and vision for how we can improve our juvenile justice and chronic disease management systems in Australia have been awarded prestigious RG Menzies Scholarships to Harvard for 2016.

Sibella Matthews, a 26-year-old Sydney solicitor and policy advisor is passionate about the juvenile justice and child protection systems within Australia and plans on using her expectant degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University to better protect children’s rights.

A consultant and business analyst with McKinsey & Co in Sydney, Dr Nick Gattas, 26, is a graduate of the University of Queensland and holds degrees in Arts and Medicine. He plans to use his expectant MBA at Harvard Business School to complement his medical degree and one day open a private hospital as a prototype for all hospitals in Australia, utilising the highest degree of technology in the treatment and prediction of chronic illnesses.

A King moves to Melbourne - Menzies Centenary Prize awarded

Monash University Engineering Student Andrew King, is this year’s Menzies Centenary Prize winner.

The Menzies Centenary Prize was initiated by the Foundation in 1994 in association with the Dimboola Memorial Secondary College to mark the centenary of Sir Robert's birth in Jeparit.

The Menzies Alumni and the Menzies Foundation award a $10,000 prize to a Year 12 student from the College as a contribution to the cost of the first and second years of tertiary study. The prize winner is awarded based on academic achievement combined with an outstanding contribution to the life of the College. It is one of several projects the Menzies Foundation supports to perpetuate the legacy of Sir Robert Menzies particularly as it relates to education.

Menzies Institutes’ wrap

Every Tasmanian

Real Tasmanians tell the story of the impact of the Menzies Institute of Medical Research in their latest video called ‘Every Tasmanian’. It’s a beautiful video and definitely worth a look. You can find it on YouTube or on their website.

Researchers at Menzies in Tasmania have been collaborating on a study which has found that aerobic exercise in childhood can help offset the long-term cardiovascular health risks associated with childhood obesity. The findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity emphasise the fact that fitness in childhood is very important for future health. The study used data collected for the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study, which is based at Menzies.

Athlete hydration and recovery

Menzies Health Institute Queensland Advanced Sports Dietician, Associate Professor Ben Desbrow’s work with the Australian Institute of Sport has been featured in the winter edition of ‘Inspire’.

The team has been exploring athlete hydration and recovery and looking at ways to optimise recovery between events. The researchers will be presenting the results to the Annual Congress of the American College of Sports Medicine in June. 

Significant funding boost in NT budget and surprise research findings

The Menzies School of Health Research received a $5 million funding boost from the Northern Territory government in its recent budget. In awarding the funding, the government quoted a Deloitte report demonstrating the extremely positive return on investment of funding research at Menzies.

In the meantime, a 30 year research project has borne fruit, resulting in a major change in the understanding of Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacteria responsible for the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness, trachoma.

For more information on the link between STI’s and the leading cause of infectious blindness you can read the press release or the findings in Nature Communications

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