Appointments: Scientia Fellowships drive equity, diversity and research excellence

Associate Professor Tracy Ainsworth
Tuesday, 21 November, 2017
UNSW Media

Seventeen women have been appointed in STEMM disciplines - science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine - in the latest intake of Scientia Fellows, as part of UNSW's global drive to recruit the best researchers in the world.

In all, 42 new Scientia Fellows were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants for this second intake, with successful applicants, including seven interdisciplinary researchers and three Indigenous researchers, appointed to priority areas identified in the UNSW 2025 Strategy.

"People are at the heart of our 2025 Strategy," says Professor Nicholas Fisk, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research). "UNSW is committed to investing in outstanding researchers at all stages of their careers and to facilitating the kinds of global connections that will cultivate the academics of the future.

"The program was designed as a cornerstone of Academic Excellence, aimed at advancing UNSW’s commitment to transforming lives through excellence in research. It provides early-mid career researchers with generous grants, including support and development packages, and unprecedented career support, mentorship, and the establishment of a lifelong community of outstanding UNSW researchers."

UNSW Science's new Scientia Fellows include:

Associate Professor Tracy Ainsworth, of James Cook University, who last week was awarded the 2018 Dorothy Hill Medal from the Australian Academy of Science.

Her research aims to determine the impact of environmental stress on reef-building corals, their host-microbe interactions, symbioses and disease outbreaks. Her studies on the bacterial associates of corals have led to an improved understanding of how coral diseases occur and progress.

Dr Susanne Schweizer, of the Medical Research Council’s Cognition, Emotion, and Mental Health Program at the University of Cambridge.

Her research focuses on translating insights from basic cognitive and affective neuroscience into the investigation and treatment of mood, anxiety and stress disorders.

The other six Science fellow are:

Dr Laurie Menviel, Dr Kelly Clemens, Dr Kate Quinlan, Dr David White, Dr Matthew Baker and Dr Dmitry Zanin.

In line with UNSW’s commitment to gender, equity and diversity, of the 42 Scientia Fellowship offers made this round:

  • 24 were made to women, of which 17 are women in STEMM,

  • 23 were made to internal applicants, and

  • 12 were made to international applicants.

The majority will begin in early 2018.

"Initiatives like the Scientia Fellowships allow us to achieve greater gender equity and diversity of background and experience in all levels of our academic staff," says Professor Laura Poole-Warren, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Training) and Dean of Graduate Research.

The Scientia Fellowships include ongoing professional development to promote career progression, including working with a career coach. Already six of the inaugural Scientia Fellows who commenced in 2017 have achieved promotion.

"Mentoring is integral to the Scientia program," says Professor Poole-Warren. "By working with rising stars and established academics, we build a culture of collaboration that both nurtures our researchers and benefits the wider University community including our students."

This focus on Research Quality paired with Educational Excellence forms the distinctive UNSW Scientia approach. As a global leader in discovery, innovation, impact, education and thought leadership, UNSW continues to deliver world-class teaching and research that has impact internationally.

Over the course of the 2025 Strategy, UNSW will appoint 290 Scientia Fellows. The next round of Scientia Fellowships will open in May 2018.