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Connect for: A better future

A program of innovation and impact
An exciting program of virtual and in-person events from July - September 2020.

Themed around the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of good health and wellbeing, reduced inequalities, climate action and partnerships for the goals, and the idea of connections, the program is a celebration of innovation and impact.

Public talks and podcasts


A series of free, virtual public talks and podcasts from the future of work to rethinking the distribution of water for a more equitable and sustainable future.

Upcoming talks

In conversation with Bronwyn Bancroft

18 August | 12.30pm

Dr Bronwyn Bancroft is a proud Bundjalung woman, celebrated artist and 2020 Alumni Award recipient. In this 'Art of influence' conversation, hear Bronwyn reflect on her impressive career, which traverses various worlds of contemporary art, fashion design, children’s book illustration and activism.

In conversation with Shaun Gladwell

22 September | 12pm

Contemporary artist Shaun Gladwell’s work tackles, stretches and tears at the fringes of society and reality. He’s put skateboarding and graffiti into galleries, experimented with opera, and put virtual art on the market for sale.


Student challenges

A series of student competitions, to design solutions to real-world probelms, translate their research and help with vaccination research, with more than $33,000 to be won. 

The Student Innovation Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for University of Sydney students to present their innovative solutions to real-world problems. There are over $28,000 worth of prizes that will be won.

Last year’s winners included a proactive management tool to combat UV risk in the workplace, rocketry research in the aerospace sector, and a digital tool that empowers underprivileged farmers use fertiliser effectively.

Key dates and more information.

Students, professionals, and researchers from the University of Sydney are invited to participate and help understand vaccine related misinformation.

This is a competition to contribute to research by Associate Professor Adam Dunn, from the Faculty of Medicine and Health, on vaccine sentiment from Twitter posts.

There are $5,000 in prizes to be won. 

Key dates and more information.

3 Minute Thesis is an international competition that features higher degree by research students from over 55 institutions across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. It challenges students to tell the story of their research: what they are doing, why it matters, and what they hope to achieve, in three minutes.

The winner of the event will be invited to compete against students from other universities in the Asia-Pacific final event.

Key dates and more information.

Visualise Your Thesis is an international competition that challenges graduate researchers to summarise their research in an engaging, 60-second visual multimedia presentation. It gives the researcher the opportunity to build essential digital communication skills so they can effectively communicate complex research to a general audience. 

Key dates and more information.

Year 10 and Year 11 students from regional and remote locations are invited to participate in an online competition which involves workshops over four weeks providing insights into innovation, design thinking, creativity and more. By the end of the competition, students develop an innovative solution that creates social impact in their community. 

University of Sydney student leaders will give live feedback to the high-school competition entrants.  

Key dates and more information.

Industry forecast forums

A series of virtual roundtable discussions bringing academics, industry and policy makers together to brainstorm solutions for key issues facing Australia - from resilience from COVID-19 and the black summer bushfires, to creating smart cities and food security. Stay tuned for podcasts. 

Embedding sensing, IoT devices and nanotechnologies into our built environment provides opportunities and challenges for how we design, build, live and manage our cities. How does our notion of the smart city change in the context of the current pandemic? Will our cities ever look the same, and will these physical changes change our economy? Will we return to large office blocks?

In this event, we explore how new technologies can be applied and adapted to a post-pandemic built environment.

Date: 29 July. Podcast coming soon. Contact:

Faced with the consequences of climate change and the knock-on political and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, how will these twin crises alter the way people live, work and socialise?

Post-pandemic, how will we reshape our society to improve people’s lives and livelihoods, especially for the most vulnerable? Do we need to consider how to balance short term gains and long-term resilience?

Bringing experts from mental health, economics, business and disaster response, the discussion will map the ecosystem that’s required for a strong recovery, identify opportunities for shared value and develop unlikely coalitions for rebuilding.

Keynote speaker: Shane Fitzsimmons, Commissioner of Resilience NSW.

Date: 27 August. Contact: to find out more or express interest in attending.

Food security – and food insecurity – is an increasingly urgent and global problem. From soil to plate and beyond, this event looks at the whole process, from agriculture through to logistics and supply chains, waste as well as future technologies.

As many Australians discovered during the panic-buying of March and April, it’s not a only an issue for developing countries. In the City of Sydney alone, in 2018, pre-COVID19 and the drought, fires and floods there were 17,000 people considered food insecure.

From matters of climate change to supply chains, nutrition and health, drought, floods and fires, to population and planning, across the world organisations and governments are grappling with this complex issue.

Date: September TBC. Contact: to find out more or express interest in attending.


Two exciting free public art installations will be installed on the University's Camperdown campus in September, including one showcasing our ground-breaking research focussed on using Australia’s native grasses to produce grains that are more sustainable than the traditional grains brought in from overseas.

Our Grasses for Grains ground-breaking research at Narrabri in Northern NSW is focussed on using Australia’s native grasses to produce grains that are more sustainable than the traditional grains brought in from overseas.

Led by Narrabri research scientist Dr Angela Pattinson, the work looks at environmental sustainability, indigenous land management, climate change, and the urban verse regional debate.

We have brought together experts from the University community to create a free public art installation to represent this research and spark delate about innovation and sustainability.

The installation will be launched in September on the University's Camperdown campus and is a collaboration between:

  • Michael Mossman (Kuku Yalanji) – School of Architecture Design and Planning
  • Richard Leplastrier – Architect
  • Jack Gillmer (Worimi Birrpai) – Graduate of Architecture
  • Dr Angela Pattison – Faculty of Science
  • Professor Jakelin Troy (Ngarigu) - Director, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research
  • Callum Craigie (Gamilaraay) 
  • Anna Burns
  • Steve Burns

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