By Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian O’Connor

The year started well for our researchers with three major successes already. These research initiatives epitomise Griffith’s commitment to undertaking socially relevant research which provides demonstrable community benefit.

  • A research team led by Professor Michael Good AO and Dr Michael Batzloff, from Griffith’s Institute for Glycomics, is one of three trans-Tasman candidates for the development of a potential vaccine for rheumatic fever. Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced the trans-Tasman initiative during their annual talks on 9 and 10 February. The two governments will contribute equal shares of $ 3 million in funding over the next two years to identify a potential vaccine for the disease, which can lead to long-term heart damage known as rheumatic heart disease.


  • Professor CiaranO’Faircheallaigh, School of Government and International Relations, has secured an international research grant of $613,267 for a project on illegal mining in Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea. Administered through Griffith, the project will document the economic, social and environmental impacts of illegal mining; identify consequential policy issues; and suggest legal regimes and policies that can generate local benefits from mining, add to public revenues, and minimise environmental harm and social conflict.


  • Griffith is a major partner in a $31 million Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Prime Minister Julia Gillard recently announced Commonwealth funding of $31million over eight years for the creation of the CRC to enhance the lives of individuals with lifelong development disabilities arising from an autism spectrum disorder. For more on Griffith’s involvement with the CRC, seehere.

Community Service Award

It was also fantastic news to hear that Glenda Stanley, Pacific Island Liaison Officer, Student Services, Logan campus, was the recipient of the Community Service Award from the Women’s Federation for World Peace Queensland. These awards recognise women who have made significant contributions in the Queensland community. The award will be presented during a special event at Queensland Parliament House on International Women’s Day on 8 March. On behalf of the Griffith community, I congratulate Glenda on her outstanding community contributions and on this well-deserved recognition.


Australia-China Joint Laboratory

On 18 February, I joined Dr Geoff Garrett AO, Queensland Chief Scientist, in officially launching the Australia-China Joint Laboratory in Energy and Environmental Materials on our Gold Coast campus. The joint lab is a significant development for Griffith’s international research collaborations as it aims to establish multifaceted and long-term engagement with prestigious research organisations in China. For more on this strategic initiative, seehere.

Angel Investors Innovation Breakfast

On 20 February, it was my great pleasure to attend the Griffith University Business Innovation Breakfast which was hosted by Griffith Enterprise and the Development and Alumni Office. Of an audience of more than 250, over 140 alumni attended the event at the Gold Coast which was held in conjunction with the Australian Association of Angel Investors (AAAI) 2013 National Angels Conference. The AAAI is a national body of private investors with a passion for investing in and supporting emerging technology and business. Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate was the keynote speaker. For more on the breakfast, seehere.

Research Hub accolade

I am delighted to advise that the Research Hub of Information Services’ division of Scholarly Information and Research has won a commendation of merit in the inaugural Stanford Prize for Innovation in Research Libraries (SPIRL). Stanford University Libraries has conducted the SPIRL prize competition to recognise innovation through programs, projects, and/or new or improved services that benefit readers and users. The judges were glowing in their praise for our Research Hub.