The University of Sydney has been recognised in the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards 2022 - winning the Emerging Leader category and reaching the finals in Employability and Research Commercialisation.
Professor Elizabeth New, one of Australia's leading inorganic chemists, came out on top of an extensive list of entries to become the best emerging leader in the nation’s university sector.
“It’s a great honour to be recognised by this award,” said Professor New. “It is only possible because of the support and dedication of those who have mentored and worked alongside me.”
“As the University of Sydney places great emphasis on training future leaders, it is appropriate that we are a university full of current leaders who have inspired me and taught me so much.”
Professor New has been an academic with the University of Sydney since 2012 where she is the Interim Head in the School of Chemistry and a member of the Institute of Agriculture, the Southeast Asia Centre and the University of Sydney Nano Institute.
Professor Emma Johnston, the University of Sydney’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and the 2016 winner of the award said: “Professor New is a paragon of leadership whose work forming extensive networks has helped countless researchers find their footing in academia and thrive at the University.”
“Professor New is well deserving of this award, and it is inspiring to see leaders like her guide the next generation of academics, who in turn are beginning their own leadership journey in Australia and internationally.”
Professor New leads in her research area – developing new chemical tools to understand health and disease better – and has been involved in numerous leadership activities with the common theme of providing better networks and support for other academics.
One of the highlights of her career has been establishing the Sydney Early and Mid-Career Academic Network (SEMCAN) in 2017 alongside Dr Cynthia Forlini.
“We wanted to ensure that there was an opportunity for academics to connect from across the University and to have a voice in matters that particularly concerned them,” said Professor New. “I’m really proud that since I handed over leadership of SEMCAN, it has gone from strength to strength.”
The group provides opportunities for training and networking to its members, which have swelled into their thousands, each with diverse backgrounds, research areas, and their own interests and challenges.
Another highlight for Professor New, as a research leader, has been watching her group members develop into impactful leaders themselves.
“My former group members are starting to establish their own research groups in Australia and abroad and becoming research leaders in their own right,” Professor New said.
A year after establishing SEMCAN, Professor New also began work creating the Women in Chemistry Group for New South Wales, within which she developed a leadership structure and a strategy for mentoring and networking events for more than 300 active members.
Professor New’s tenacity in academia has been recognised by a wide variety of awards. Among these, she has won the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for ‘3M Emerging Leader’ and made the finals in the Emerging Leader in Science, Health and Medicine category for the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards.
She is also a Fellow with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and the Royal Society of New South Wales and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
The USYD Rocketry Team placed among the finalists for the Employability category in this year’s Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards. Operating like a space startup, each year the team designs, builds and launches competition-grade sounding rockets, with the students learning valuable technical and organisational skills, as well as 'soft' skills like teamwork and collaboration.
Supported by the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and a range of industry sponsors, the unique experience has led to professional opportunities and world-class employment outcomes in the aerospace sector and beyond, with many of the team's graduates going on to work for national space agencies, world-leading companies and space startups.
With the support of the University's Net Zero Initiative, Professor D'Alessandro's team and industry partners are commercialising direct air capture (DAC) technology in the hope of addressing historical carbon dioxide emissions. It is the world’s first solar-powered DAC project that buries captured carbon in permanent underground storage – a process managed by AspiraDAC.