22 December 2008

Finding new climate change and clean energy solutions was the focus when a group of chemists from The University of Queensland and National University of Singapore (NUS) converged for a two-day symposium last week.

The group of 40 scientists met to discuss their latest teaching and research at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), St Lucia from December 15-16.

Event facilitator Dr Craig Williams from the School of Molecular and Microbial Sciences said the symposium was created to complement a similar forum held in Singapore in April.

“It’s about extending the links between Singapore and Australia in the chemistry setting,” Dr Williams said.

NUS Chemistry Department Head Professor Andy Hor said one of the symposium goals was to set both universities up for future research success, particularly in emerging and experimental fields.

“It’s not focusing on classical chemistry,” Professor Hor said.

“It brings attention to emerging areas, including nanomaterials, medicine, and energy and the environment.

“We have a lot of people who are working in these areas and I feel we can make some big changes in the future.”

UQ Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Linkages) Professor Max Lu said dealing with global issues such as climate change, energy and medical breakthroughs required international research networks.

“It’s a very exciting opportunity for both institutions to start from the ground up and discover possible collaborations,” Professor Lu said.

“From the university’s perspective, this was a well-organised, timely and necessary event.”

Professor Hor said the symposium aligned with his university’s stance of being a global university centre in Asia.

“We want NUS to be collaborating with the top universities in the world – north to China, west to India and south to Australia,” he said.

“Australia has a huge potential in resources, in education and in manpower, and a decision to work with a top institution like UQ, with its background in life sciences and chemistry, is very easy to make.”

The symposium received $30,000 in funding from UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) David Siddle.

Media: Dr Craig Williams (07 3365 3530, c.williams3@uq.edu.au)