11 October 2011

Leading Australian university, The University of Queensland, will continue its Global Challenges Leadership series with seminars and networking events in Vietnam this month.

The influenza pandemic, and climate change and its impact on Vietnam will be discussed at three University of Queensland events in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho City.

Seminars will be delivered in English and Vietnamese.

Deputy-Director of UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology Professor Anton Middelberg will discuss the development of influenza vaccines.

“The 2009 influenza pandemic was mild in virulence but still caused significant stress on our social and health systems,” Professor Middelberg said.

“We were fortunate the pandemic strain came from swine and was quite different to the avian strains which remain active in Vietnam.

“Vaccination allows us to beat infectious disease. It has led to the eradication of smallpox, and poliomyelitis is on the verge of elimination.

“By harnessing the power of biotechnology it will ultimately be possible to deliver vaccine, for a whole population, within days. And, with appropriate and robust technology it will be possible to make vaccine where it is most needed, including in Vietnam.”

Professor Middelberg’s seminars and networking events will be co-hosted by VNU University of Natural Science in Hanoi and The Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City. The lectures will be held at the Nguy Nhu Kong Tum Lecture Hall in Hanoi on Monday 17 October at 4pm; and at the Pasteur Institute Meeting Hall, Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday 20 October at 5.30pm.

In another Global Challenges Leadership seminar, Professor James Shulmeister, Head, UQ School of Geography Planning & Environmental Management will speak on climate change in the tropics on Wednesday 19 October at events co-hosted by Can Tho University Research Institute for Climate Change at the Learning Resource Centre, Can Tho University, Can Tho City at 4.30pm.

The Mekong Valley is one of the fastest developing regions on the planet. The seminar will summarise climate change predictions for the next century focusing on sea-level change, climate variability and mean temperature changes in SE Asia.

It will explain some of the key changes and their likely impacts on Vietnam, especially in the Mekong Delta.

The University of Queensland is one of Australia's leading research-intensive universities and is ranked in the world's top 100 universities.

The Global Challenges Leadership Series is an opportunity for alumni and UQ partners to engage with the University’s research leaders in an open dialogue on solutions to global issues.

The series highlights the University's role as an internationally engaged research institution with global reach and impact, committed to finding innovative solutions to global issues through learning, discovery and engagement.

This year the University has held Global Challenges events in the U.S., U.K., Indonesia, Australia, Chile, Colombia and Japan, and the seminars in Vietnam will be followed by others in China.

UQ Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and International) Professor Alan Lawson said a stronger global network helped to support collaborations with research institutions, business and governments in research, teaching and in enriching the student experience.

“The work the University is doing across health, sciences, the environment and humanities helps shape approaches to the big issues of the 21st century, which are of deep concern to all people,” Professor Lawson said.

“The Global Challenges Leadership Series will provide the University’s alumni and friends with an insight into those big ideas and an opportunity to become involved.”

UQ has been closely engaged with Vietnam since the 1990s.

From small numbers of students mainly sponsored by the Australian Government’s AusAID program, UQ’s engagement accelerated in 1999 with active support from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

More than 330 Vietnamese students are studying at UQ this year.

UQ was awarded a Friendship Medal by the Government of Vietnam in 2006 for the active contribution the University has made to the education and training of Vietnamese students and assisting with developing closer links between Vietnam and Australia.

Visit http://www.uq.edu.au/global-challenges to find out more about The University of Queensland's Global Challenges Leadership series.

Media: Jan King 0413 601 248 j.king@uq.edu.au