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Menzies Foundation Newsletter September 2017

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Menzies Foundation News



Fom the CEO

Sarah Hardy CEOI was fascinated in a piece written by an early Menzies Scholar recently in which he observed that Sir Robert was such a strong leader because of his ability to balance ‘continuity and change’ through his time as our longest serving prime minister.

This is certainly where we find ourselves at the moment as we go through the invigorating journey of moving the Menzies Foundation into a new phase of its life. 

Over the last few months my focus and that of the Board has been on wide-ranging national consultation with experts in the science, research, entrepreneurship and education fields to gather intelligence to inform our decision making. This part of the process of change has been enormously interesting and informative as I gained more insight into critical and emerging issues for Australia today.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank those people who have so freely given of their time and expertise to help us take some meaningful and clear next steps to ensure the Menzies Foundation continues to promote the leaders of tomorrow, particularly where they are needed most.

Our Menzies Alumni have also contributed their considerable expertise and I note particularly members of our law alumni, who have provided some outstanding feedback in starting to review our international law scholarship to make sure it will meet the future needs of the law profession in Australia as we deal with complex global issues.

Exciting times ahead. Thank you for your continued interest as we move forward.

If you would like to talk to me about the Menzies Foundation’s new focus, please feel free to email me or call on +61 3 9419 5699. 

Sarah Hardy
CEO Menzies Foundation

Menzies Scholars achieve amazing things

Justice Andrew BeechThe Hon Justice Andrew Beech SC (1986 Menzies Law Scholar) has been appointed as a judge of the West Australian Court of Appeal by West Australian Attorney General, the Hon John Quigley, LLB JP MLA.

A grant from Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer Foundation, will enable 2008 NHMRC/Menzies Fellow, Dr Misty Jenkins, to study how retraining the body’s own immune system could be the key to new treatment for children with brain cancer.

At a very interesting time in the organisation’s history, 2004 Harvard Menzies Scholar, banker and former Olympic diver, Michael Murphy, has been elected to the Executive Board of the Australian Olympic Committee.

Menzies Indigenous Mentoring FellowMichelle Kerrin, Michelle Kerrin, has been taking her messages on pride in culture and heritage from private girls’ schools in Melbourne to the National American and Indigenous Studies Association conference 2017 in Canada. 

2016 Menzies Engineering Scholar, Liz Killen, worked on an Aussie-themed Pint of Science event at a secret underground pub at the Australian High Commission in London, sharing the best of Australian science over a beer and a party pie.

2011 Menzies Allied Health Research Scholar, Dr Matthew Pase, is leading research at Swinburne University of Technology showing that sleeping disorders appear to be associated with an increased risk of dementia.

2014 NHMRC/Menzies Fellow in Medicine, Dr Si Ming Man, has been presented the Jim Pittard Early Career Award from the Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM) for his growing body of research work.

Young leaders addressing mental health

Young Leader WorkshopThe Satellite Foundation's Menzies Young Leader program is in full swing!

Eight amazing young people from various parts of Victoria are participating in a series of workshops, sharing experiences of living in a family where a parent or sibling has mental health issues, and how to capture and transform their experiences and wisdom into leadership and advocacy roles. 

In 2016 the Menzies Foundation awarded a small Menzies Alumni Community Leadership grant to the Satellite Foundation to run the Young Leader program after Satellite was nominated by 2004 Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, Dr Kerry Proctor. Read more.

Menzies Institutes’ wrap

Congratulations to Menzies School of Health Research, which was part of a team taking out the 2017 Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases Research last week. The award was for the Scabies Research Team (including the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; the Kirby Institute; St Vincent's Hospital Sydney and Menzies), which conducted trials to show the effectiveness of ivermectin in controlling scabies.

Menzies Health Institute Queensland researchers have been studying the effectiveness of targeted programs for people suffering with dementia, delivered in their own homes, which may help with understanding the needs and attitudes of those in the early stages of the disease. The aim is to improve the uptake of community services leading to greater wellbeing.

The only nationally funded paired fellowship in multiple sclerosis (MS) research has just been awarded to the Menzies Institute of Medical Research in Tasmania, bringing laboratory and clinical researchers together to speed up the translation of MS research into clinical practice. This is great recognition of the 20 years of MS research at Menzies; a key focus area for the Institute.  

In the media

The Menzies Scholars are frequently cited, called for their expert opinions, or asked to write for the media. Here is just a sample of recent highlights:

  • 2012 Menzies Engineering Scholar, Dev Tayal, wrote a piece on how the total solar eclipse in the US provided a lesson in how to manage electricity grids when a crucial generation source is offline.  
  • According to The Mandarin, 1990 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Michael Hiscox, has returned to Harvard after having set up the Prime Minister’s ‘nudge unit’. Michael is the Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs in the Department of Government at Harvard and also the Co-Director of the Sustainability, Transparency, Accountability Research (STAR) Lab.
  • 2008 Harvard Menzies Scholar and recent recipient of a Westpac Scholarship, Dr Maja Cassidy, is part of a research team figuring out how to use the hashtag at nanoscale to help manipulate a particular type of quasiparticle into quantum bits.
  • The Sunday Times in Sydney quoted 2015 Menzies Allied Health Research Scholar, Dr Sally Gainsbury saying the prevalence of slot machines, along with the ability to bet fast and continuously, made them more likely to lead to gambling problems.
  • Julian SavulescuRenowned medical ethicist, Professor Julian Savulescu, has been inspiring the next generation, as a 16 year old Dunedin girl has become the first high school student to have a paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Her interest in gene modification was sparked by a chat with the 1994 Menzies Scholar in Medicine.
  • The media also sought the views of Professor Savulescu in the controversial case of 11 month old baby, Charlie Gard in London.
  • And possibly the busiest Menzies Scholar in Australia right now, the Solicitor General, Dr Stephen Donoghue QC, has found himself featuring in the media on a range of topics from ministerial comments on the judiciary to the ministerial citizenship issues currently before the High Court.

Vale Robert White AO

One of the founding Directors of the original Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Trust, Robert White AO, has passed away peacefully aged 93.

Bob White, as he was better known, was also the Deputy Chair of the Menzies Foundation when Sir Ninian Stephen was Chair in the late 90s.

Mr White was the honorary Treasurer for the Trust and the National Appeal Committee, which ran the initial public fundraising campaign to fund and establish the Menzies Foundation.

 Robert White AO on right

Bob was known to many of our early scholars and will be greatly missed. He is pictured with Peter Henderson, Heather Henderson and his wife, Jan, at the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Foundation

Thank you for your donation

If you would like to be an early supporter of the Menzies Foundation’s new focus areas, please consider a donation which can be organised on or offline. Donations can be made via our website, or please contact us on +61 3 9419 5699.