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The Menzies Brief - Vol 19, No. 2, 2016

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  Hello Visitor,

This is the latest edition of the Menzies Brief - Vol 19, No. 2, 2016

May 2016

President’s report

Menzies Scholar appointed as Menzies Foundation Chair

Josie Barbaro 2015Professor Simon MaddocksCongratulations to one of our fellow alumnus, Professor Simon Maddocks (pictured), who was last week appointed as Menzies Foundation Chair – the first Menzies Scholar ever to attain this position.

It’s a wonderful story for the Foundation and we wanted the other Menzies Scholars to be the first with this news, which will be announced to other stakeholders later today and over coming days. I’m looking forward to working with Simon to help the Menzies Foundation prosper and grow.

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all our scholars to thank Brian Doyle AM who has been the Chairman of the Foundation for the past three years, before stepping down at the most recent board meeting.

I don’t think he’d mind me saying that having served on the board as a director since 1993, he has been somewhat of a father-figure to many of our young scholars, and engaged with many of our alumni. Certainly for many law scholars he will have played a direct role in their appointment, as the Chair of the scholarship selection panel.

Brian steered the ship beautifully during his tenure and I thank him for his guidance and advice along the way. He leaves things heading in a good direction and I look forward to the next phase with a new Chair.

Harvard Menzies scholars

Recently many of our RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard alumni will have received a letter from myself and Menzies Foundation CEO Sarah Hardy explaining a Menzies Foundation Board decision to seek new scholarship options and end our funding contribution to the RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard after 2016. The Menzies Foundation has contributed to the scholarships since 1982.

We consider the Harvard scholars an incredibly successful cohort of the Menzies Foundation Alumni, and we continue to involve you in all Menzies Foundation activities. That won’t change. As we said in the letter, this decision makes you somewhat of an exclusive group now. This should in no way be seen as a negative, just an adjustment of priorities. The Foundation is looking at future opportunities for scholarships to USA universities more generally. In the long-term, this is about expanding our international scholarship offering.

The RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard is a partnership between the Harvard Club of Australia and the ANU (administered by the ANU) and precedes the establishment of the Menzies Foundation. To the best of our knowledge it will continue in its current form, just without the contribution from the Menzies Foundation. We have been very fortunate to work with these partners in such a long-term collaboration. The new Harvard Menzies Scholars have just been announced and you can read about them in this edition of The Brief.

Dr Josie Barbaro
MMSA President

Secretary’s report

Thanks for your participation

Adrian McCallum 2015Thank you to those of you who completed the 2016 Menzies Scholar survey which closed last week. 42 per cent of our scholars provided their feedback and we’re very grateful because it helps shape future activities and communication.

Here are a few of the top line results:

  • 83 per cent of respondents were very satisfied or satisfied with their relationship with the Foundation. One third of the respondents currently live overseas.
  • Just about all of us read The Menzies Brief in some way, but there are a few things that could be refined and a greater focus on scholars. It is the main way scholars get their information about the Foundation.
  • The Spotlights and the stories about scholars are the most popular bits – so when we come chasing you for a Spotlight you will know why (yes, that is a hint)!!
  • Close to 60 per cent of respondents use LinkedIn in their professional life, but only 3.75 per cent get their information on the Menzies Foundation this way.
  • Many of you are keen on further networking and professional development on leadership topics, along with speaking opportunities with high profile speakers or fellow alumni.

We will come back to you with more detail of the survey results and what we might do to act on some of them in a future edition of The Brief.

The Menzies Alumni Advisory Group met for the second time last week and one of the exciting things we focused on was finalising the framework for a brand new initiative – the Menzies Alumni Community Leadership Grants Program which will be coming to you soon.

This is an outstanding opportunity for Menzies Scholars to apply for grants which support the work of their preferred community organisation. The grants program will open in the second half of this year with the successful applicants announced before the end of the year. Keep an eye out for more details as you’ll want to be involved as we increase the benefits of being a Menzies alumnus.

Dr Adrian McCallum
MMSA Secretary/Treasurer

Funds increased for Allied Health scholarship – scholarship open now

The Menzies Research Scholarship in the Allied Health Sciences has opened with an increased value from $27,500 to $40,000 per year for two years.

The increased funding follows a review of the scholarship and will keep it at the forefront of prestigious PhD research scholarships in Australia. There has also been a review of professions eligible to apply for the scholarship. We expect it will attract significant interest.

Please let anyone you think would make an outstanding Menzies Research Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences know to apply online by 30 June.

We also have a new online application system, which will streamline the process and make it easier for applicants for all our scholarships. An email with details of how to apply will come to all former recipients of the allied health scholarship, so you can share it with your networks.

A big thank you to Professor Simon Crowe (Chair of our Allied Health scholarship selection committee), Professor John Coveney (the Dean of the School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University), and recipients of the Menzies Research Scholarship in the Allied Health Sciences, Associate Professor Liisa Laakso and Dr Josie Barbaro, who formed the scholarship review group.

Photo competition winner – the engineers have it!!

Now it may be true to say that the Engineers had a slight advantage in this one – and they were certainly the best represented profession in the competition – but they have definitely dominated the Menzies scholar photo competition.

In a close call between three Menzies Engineering Scholars, Quan Lau (2015), Adrian McCallum (2007) and Mahala McLindin (2013), we have awarded the book voucher prize to Quan for her collection of work, some of which you can see here.

Adrian and Mahala also gave us some wonderful images and you will be seeing them – in fact they both feature in the annual report, which will be out soon.

Thank you to everyone who contributed. We are always looking for great photos of our scholars, so keep sending them in to Kate. Surely we can get some creative lawyer shots?

BridgeofSighsStJohnsCamRiver QuanLau

JokusarlonGlacierLake QuanLau


Caption: Quan’s images included the Bridge of Sighs at St John’s, University of Cambridge, where Quan is completing her MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development; the Jokusarlon Glacier Lake in Iceland and Quan herself in front of the Scogafoss Waterfall.

Apply for a Menzies Scholar Symposia Sponsorship Grants

Every year up to $10,000 is offered for Menzies Scholars to present their work at a major conference, workshop or symposium. Last year 2006 RG Menzies/NHMRC Fellow Dr Nick Huntington and 2009 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Dr Daniel Worthley made the most of this opportunity hosting the first Australian Innate Lymphocyte Symposium and hosting young researchers at the World Congress of Gastroenterology.

The two grants of up to $5000 are open to ALL Menzies scholars, regardless of profession.

If you have an idea for a symposium or conference session or presentation sponsored by the Menzies Foundation, take a look at the guidelines and submit a 1-2 page proposal outlining your idea to 

2016 Harvard Menzies Scholars announced

Two 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 the prestigious RG Menzies Scholarship to Harvard for 2016.

Sibella MatthewsSibella 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. Sibella’s ambition is to use innovative policy reforms to bring the states and territories together to decrease the number of children in need of protection caught up in the criminal justice system.

Nick GattasA 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.

The scholarships valued at US$60,000 each are prestigious national awards for postgraduate study in the United States and are jointly awarded by the Harvard Club of Australia, The Australian National University and the Menzies Foundation.

This is the final year the Menzies Foundation will contribute to the scholarship and will instead look for broader opportunities for prestigious scholarships to the USA. 

Menzies Foundation AGM and video launch

The date for the Menzies Foundation AGM has been set for Wednesday 25 May from 5-6pm at the Menzies Foundation at Clarendon Terrace, in East Melbourne.

Please consider this an open invitation to any scholar who happens to be in Melbourne and would like to come along.

There will be the usual AGM formalities, which don’t take long, and then there will be a sneak peak of the new Menzies Scholar video and release of the 2015 annual report, followed by informal networking, drinks and nibbles.

Please contact AJ if you’d like to come along and RSVP by Monday 16 May to 

Save the date – Menzies annual scholarship awards in Sydney for 2016

The 2016 Menzies Foundation Scholarship awards will be held in Sydney on Thursday 17 November. Please save the date, with details of venues and speakers to be confirmed in coming months.

Last year’s move to change the location of the awards for the first time met with positive feedback and we will continue to look at options to move the event to states where we have a significant alumni cohort.

Our scholars do amazing things

Anna Gould Gap Summit

  • 2015 Menzies Engineering Scholar, Anna Gould (pictured), 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.
  • To mark 20 years of the Menzies Centenary Prize, We caught up with brother and sister, Chloe and Jordan Bell, who both received the prize, supported by the MMSA and the Menzies Foundation. They are doing fantastic things with their careers. Have a read about Jordan’s engineering career in WA and Chloe’s work on the new electronic medical record at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
  • 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.
  • 2015 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Patrick Mayoh, has been selected to be part of the Australian-American Youth Leadership Dialogue.
  • 2015 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Dr Si Ming Man, has been recognised by his peers for his career promise in immunology, for the work he has been doing as a postdoctoral fellow at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in America.
  • 1996 Menzies Law Scholar and partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Frances Williams, is a finalist in the Lawyers' Weekly Partner of the Year Awards 2016 in the dispute resolution category.
  • Harvard Menzies alumna, Sarah Harden, has been named the President of Otter Media in the US, an online video-focused joint venture between the Chernin Group and AT&T.
  • This year’s Menzies Scholar in Allied Health Research, Teresa Brown, has also been published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition with her findings on the practice guidelines for nutrition interventions on patients with head and neck cancer.

In the media

  • The Herald Sun ran a story saying Victorians will be among the first to trial the coeliac disease vaccine being developed by 1997 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow Dr Bob Anderson and his colleagues.
  • 1997 Harvard Menzies Scholar, Professor Justin Wolfers, had another thought provoking article published in the New York Times about housing policy how the neighbourhood in which you grow up is a major determinant of your economic success as an adult.
  • The Mandarin published a piece quoting 1995 Menzies Law Scholar and Secretary of the Department of Employment, Renee Leon, speaking about the Empowering YOUth program being run from her department using small trials and innovation to help increase youth employment.
  • 2005 NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellow, Professor Adrian Liston, is leading research at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology, which shows a common genetic defect in beta cells may underlie both forms of diabetes. Details are in the Medical Xpress.
  • Menzies Foundation Director, Terry Moran AC, has taken up an appointment as the Chair of the independent policy think tank, the Centre for Policy Development.

Menzies Scholar Spotlight – Dr Jane McCormack

2009 Menzies Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences

Jane McCormack

What is your job?

I’m currently working as a senior lecturer in the Department of Human Communication Sciences at the University of Sheffield and coordinating the delivery of online modules for post-graduate students (Speech and language pathologists and teachers) undertaking additional training in the field of paediatric speech difficulties. I’ve remained an adjunct (professor) with the Research Institute for Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE) at Charles Stuart University (CSU) in Australia, and we’re in the process of finalising an Australian Research Council project that has been examining the value of a computer-based program for supporting children with speech difficulties in early childhood centres.

The University of Sheffield has a strong history of research in speech-language pathology (therapy) and a wonderful team of people undertaking interesting and important work. I was appointed to a position here last year and moved in October. I saw the move as a good opportunity to learn about speech-language pathology in an international context and to gain experience teaching and researching at a different institution.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your work?

I’ve been fortunate to work across clinical, academic and research settings since I first graduated as a speech and language pathologist. Having experience in each setting has given me some insight into the gaps that exist between each and I guess this has motivated me to try to reduce the gaps in some small way.

For instance, working as a speech and language pathologist (SLP) in rural areas, I became aware of challenges to service delivery (lack of services, travel time, funding restrictions) and decided to look at the impact and experiences of children with communication difficulties in my PhD research, as a way of building the evidence base to advocate for an improvement in services. Since then, I’ve worked as a lecturer and discipline leader in the speech pathology program at CSU.

We recognised a need to train rural health professionals to work in rural areas, and so developed the first online Master of Speech Pathology program to enable students to train as SLPs without needing to be on campus. A current issue facing the profession is the lack of workplace learning opportunities and public positions available for graduates across the country (despite the prevalence of difficulties and need for services). I’ve been involved in mapping the extent of need against the location of SLPs around the country to provide evidence of where the services are required, and researching collaborations with early childhood educators to see how we can work with them to be agents of change when SLP services are not available.

I’ve also been involved in developing a virtual community to provide simulated case studies for students as an alternative workplace learning experience, and one which can promote inter-professional education.

I guess the common thread is improving the health experiences of children with communication difficulties and their families through raising awareness of their difficulties, and enhancing the support they receive (via pre-training programs and collaborations with other professionals in the field).

Who influences (has influenced) your career? How?

My PhD supervisors (and other research colleagues) have been a significant influence on my career as a researcher and academic, fostering a love of learning and providing opportunities for ongoing professional development and growth. They were (and continue to be) wonderful sources of support and encouragement. They inspire me with their love for what they do, their dedication to those who are learning with them and their belief in the value of research in affecting change for children with communication difficulties and their families/teachers.

I’m also influenced by the families/children with whom I’ve worked (in clinical practice and through my research). They have expanded my understanding of how lives can be impacted by communication difficulties and the barriers to support, which has motivated my research into improving service delivery. They are often a source of inspiration also, in their ability to overcome difficulties and their willingness to share their stories to contribute to professional understanding.

How has the Menzies Scholarship helped you?

Prior to being awarded the scholarship, I had been working part-time as a PhD student while undertaking full-time work as the project officer on an Australian Research Council Discovery Project (and doing some casual lecturing on the side!). The Allied Health Scholarship enabled me to focus on my PhD full-time to complete it in a timely fashion (4 years).

As the Menzies Foundation is a highly regarded organisation, being a recipient of the scholarship was a wonderful stepping stone to applying for future grants, and for invitations to write and present papers both at a national and international level.

In addition, being a Menzies Scholar has introduced me to a community of other researchers who are an ongoing source of inspiration and interest. I’ve always felt a sense of connection with the Foundation through the regular updates and invitations to events/activities. I think this sense of connection and community is so important for researchers at all stages of their career and the MMSA does a wonderful job of facilitating it.

Where do you want to be in 20 years?

My long-term goal is to keep enjoying the work that I’m doing, encouraging others in their work and celebrating some improvements in service delivery for children and adults with communication difficulties as a result of some of the great work that is happening right now!

What are your passions outside of work?

I love reading (books, rather than journal articles!) and keeping fit and healthy. I’ve signed-up for a marathon in May, and so have been training for that in recent weeks. I also love travelling and have been enjoying the opportunity to visit many wonderful cities and countries while based in Sheffield.

Who would make a better leader? Engineer, doctor, researcher or lawyer and why?

I think training and experience in all four professions would lead to the development of knowledge and skills that would be valuable in a leader. A large component of each role is in recognising problems or issues and resolving them, which is important in leadership. Furthermore, all require the consideration of objective information as well as the preferences of a client/consumer in generating and implementing possible solutions.

This ability to consider multiple sources of information and different perspectives is also important. So…I’d like to argue that leadership is less influenced by a particular role or title, and more by the personal qualities and traits demonstrated by the individual! The engineer, doctor, researcher or lawyer who demonstrates good communication skills, respect for others, lateral thinking, foresight, collaboration and teamwork, ethical practice and so on, would be my choice of leader.

Alumni stories

If you have a story for us about some of your research, a new job, a publication, an interesting case, a community project you are involved in or some other achievement, please let us know. Email or call Kate Nolan or AJ Epstein at any time. We love to hear about what the Menzies Scholars are doing and your alumni colleagues love reading about it too.