July 2015 Newsletter

Published 30/7/2015 in

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Fulbright Scholarships
Final Call for Australian Applications

Applications for 2016 Fulbright Scholarships will close on August 1 for Australians. The Australian-American Fulbright Commission encourages all Postgraduate, Postdoctoral, Professional, Senior Scholar and Distinguished Chair candidates to apply for a Fulbright and seize the opportunity to study or research at a U.S. institution.

Australian candidates should see our website to apply.

Two New Partnerships for Fulbright

June was a very busy month for the Commission, with two exciting partnerships with Australian institutions announced for 2016! Read more to find out more about some of the new programs that will be on offer for next year.

The Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, Sponsored by the Australian National University will attract a diverse range of outstanding American scholars in this broadly-defined field to work at ANU and build collaborative partnerships between Australian and United States universities.

The agreement was officiated by Fulbright Executive Director, Dr Tangerine Holt and ANU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Young at a ceremony last month. Dr Holt said the new agreement with ANU would provide another opportunity for a Scholar to strengthen the knowledge relationship between the two nations.

"We are excited to once again join with ANU in this endeavour to foster educational and cultural exchange, and look forward to the knowledge, inspiration and success that our newest collaboration will garner."

The Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Applied Public Policy, Sponsored by Flinders University and Carnegie Mellon University Australia aims to increase the awareness of the study of applied public policy in Australia, and to foster and promote comparative and collaborative research between Australian and U.S. experts.

The program will bring one U.S. Distinguished Professor in the field of Applied Public Policy to Australian shores each year for the next five years for a four-to-five-month program of collaborative research and knowledge-sharing.

(Left to Right) Professor Andrew Parkin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Flinders University; Professor Don Debats, Chair of Fulbright Board of Directors; Dr Tangerine Holt, Fulbright Executive Director; Professor Colin Stirling, Vice-Chancellor Flinders University Ms Anne Baly, International Group, Department of Education and Fulbright Board Member with Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, ANU Deputy Vice Chancellor witness the signing of the Fulbright-ANU Agreement

From the Executive Director

We have had a very exciting start to the new financial year, with two brand new partnerships announced with three major Australian tertiary institutions, new AFAA Executive Members, a new Fulbright Board Member and many more wonderful opportunities coming up in the very near future. Watch this space! We are expanding our outreach via social media and would like to invite all of our supporters to connect with our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube pages.

Our 2014 Fulbright Annual Report is now available online, so please head to our website to see the Commission's activity over the past year. We have also just released the Proceedings of the 2013 Fulbright Symposium - Soft Power, Smart Power: The Multiplier Effect of Educational and Cultural Exchange, also available online.

I'd like to thank the Australian National University, Flinders University and Carnegie Mellon University Australia for their generous support. We are looking forward to the future of our partnership with these three outstanding institutions, and excited to see the outcomes of this new endeavour in bi-national academic excellence.

The application round for 2016 Scholarships for Australian candidates is rapidly coming to a close and we would once again like to encourage all aspiring Fulbrighters to submit their applications by the end of this month. Don't miss the opportunity to discover a platform for your research on the global stage!

We've also completed the first stage of an overhaul of our entire website, so I hope you all enjoy the new public portal of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission; it is the result of many hours of planning and programming by my staff, for which I am grateful.

I'd like to take this opportunity to give a warm welcome to the newest member of our Board of Directors, Professor Barney Glover, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Sydney. Professor Glover has been a dedicated supporter of Fulbright over the years, most recently as a co-Sponsor of the Fulbright-Charles Darwin University partnership. We look forward to the invaluable contributions that Professor Glover will no-doubt make during his Fulbright tenure.

I would like to thank you all for your ongoing support. I truly believe that we have the greatest network of supporters in the Global Fulbright Program, and we wouldn't be such a strong community without the involvement of our Sponsors, Partners, Alumni and stakeholders such as yourselves.

Dr Tangerine Holt

Executive Director
Australian-American Fulbright Commission

Faces of Fulbright

During our 2015 Fulbright Scholar Showcase in Perth, we worked with the staff at the U.S. Embassy to develop a series of video interviews with our 2015 Fulbright Australian and 2014 Fulbright U.S. Scholars.

The Faces of Fulbright initiative grants insight into the research and aspirations of our current Scholars, as well as providing a rare, candid glimpse of the diverse personalities found within the Fulbright program.

The interviews will be uploaded incrementally as the series is released. Check our Facebook page and website each week to see them all.

We are very grateful to the U.S. Embassy, Canberra for making the Faces of Fulbright series possible.

Meet Laura Hayward - 2014 Fulbright Postgraduate Scholar


Scholar Snapshots

William Lempert - Serenity and Bush-Bashing in the Great Sandy Desert

Retracting my pindan-stained arm inside the troop carrier as we rush past a bush, the hand-held video camera just misses the shrapnel of twigs. I adjust my footing for the upcoming rough terrain, pushing against the swag on the ground, as the two Aboriginal elders in the front laugh and discuss the best path to a water hole they haven't been to in decades. In this moment, I reflect on how Fulbright has facilitated this experience, and how fortunate I am to be funded with the deceptively simple task of fostering mutual understanding as a cultural ambassador...

William Lempert - 2014 Fulbright U.S. Postgraduate Scholar

That night, we angle our three swags around a central fire and talk about the trip and our different lives. Mostly, we sit in silence as we chomp away at the Kangaroo tails we cooked earlier in an earth oven and stare at the Great Sandy Desert's flawless cathedral of stars. Our silence is not an absence of words or respite between them. Over these months I have learned of a new quality of silence that is a space unto itself. I move the powdered milk container-turned-billy off the fire with a banana peel handle, as they roll cigarettes and speak in language about the Country, explaining to me not only the English translation, but also the Kukatja words and pronunciations.

As I originally suspected, following the process of video production has yielded insights into the stakes of Aboriginality, but what has surprised me is just how much I have become transformed in the process. By forming long-term friendships, and travelling between remote communities, Broome, and large cities, I have come to learn about the diversity of Aboriginal experiences. I have had the chance to collaborate on more than 20 films, as well as radio and music recording projects throughout the Kimberley. Most Australians of course do not have the time or opportunity to have such an experience, which is why the broadcasting of Aboriginal media is essential, especially in the current political context in which WA Aboriginal communities and organizations are being rapidly defunded, while one-dimensional representations still dominate the national media. Thus, throughout my Fulbright period I have sought to not only foster international mutual understandings, but also intercultural understandings between mainstream and Aboriginal Australia.

Follow the below link to see a fascinating video that William made through ABC OPEN with women elders about Aboriginal hand signs in Balgo. https://open.abc.net.au/explore/97424

Dr Harris Eyre - Exploring the Role of Convergence Science in Mental Health

As a Fulbright US Scholar in Australia in the first half of 2015, I have gained a tremendous opportunity to work in a place with an unprecedented history in my field of research. In addition, I have had invaluable learning opportunities in areas of history, art, nature, culture and cuisine. While my original goal was to develop research collaborations that would ultimately enhance my opportunities in the domain of science, what I gained more than anything else is a deep appreciation of the Australian heritage, culture and traditions.

Illustration: Jay Belmore Designs

Mental health is a major issue in Australia, which is drawing increasing media and public attention in the past five years. Illnesses such as depression, anxiety and dementia affect millions of people in Australia, and have significant social and economic impacts on individuals, families and communities.

Major issues in mental health include a rising prevalence of mental illness, difficulties providing services to rural communities, diagnostic systems limited to interviewing for symptoms, treatment which is often trial and error with no cures or vaccines, and preventive strategies not well developed for most illnesses.

Fortunately there are now many opportunities to address these issues. More people than ever have smartphones and internet access which can be leveraged to develop digital therapies. Tele-counselling is taking off and overcoming the tyranny of distance between patients and clinicians. Adequately trained community members are now known to play an effective role in treatment and prevention of mental illness. The cost of genomic sequencing is dropping, helping to unlock the biological causes of disease. Computer-driven fields, like brain imaging and big data analytics, are growing from the continued exponential rise in computing power.

During my time in California, I learned about the field of convergence science. This field integrates knowledge from the above-mentioned opportunities, and should be more carefully considered in mental health. Convergence science, or trans-disciplinary science, is defined as the merging of distinct technologies, industries, tools, disciplines or devices into a unified whole to create new pathways and opportunities. It is thought to transcend interdisciplinary science, which looks at integration between two fields, for a number of reasons, including a more comprehensive integration of paradigms, systems, theories, disciplines with problem-oriented research that crosses boundaries of academic, public and private spheres.

During my time in California, I learned about the field of convergence science. This field integrates knowledge from the above-mentioned opportunities, and should be more carefully considered in mental health. Convergence science, or trans-disciplinary science, is defined as the merging of distinct technologies, industries, tools, disciplines or devices into a unified whole to create new pathways and opportunities. It is thought to transcend interdisciplinary science, which looks at integration between two fields, for a number of reasons, including a more comprehensive integration of paradigms, systems, theories, disciplines with problem-oriented research that crosses boundaries of academic, public and private spheres.

In the past year, I was fortunate to travel to University of California, San Francisco, to learn about their convergence science approach to precision medicine. Precision medicine aims to treatment individuals based on their specific illness profile. To my surprise, Dr Sam Hawgood, Chancellor of UCSF is an Aussie - and most generous with his time and wisdom. Dr Hawgood has aligned the UCSF system entirely towards convergence and precision medicine, being able to explore protein-protein interactions within cells, all the way through to the social determinants of health.

Interesting examples of projects involving convergence science in mental health include digital apps. These applications include cognition-enhancing games (like Neuroracer), through to Skype-like services between patients and health professionals which are saved to your electronic health record. There are also psychology-like programs utilising brief videos, interactive tools and social media for education, social connectedness and strategies to cope with mental ill-health. All of these applications require harmonious teams of clinicians (e.g. doctors, psychologists), researchers, entrepreneurs, computer programmers, as well as user interface and gamification experts. One leader in this field has coined the term Massive Open Online Interventions (MOOIs) for mental health programs available free online to anyone around the world.

It is clear a convergence science approach to mental health issues could be a key part of addressing some of the major challenges faced in mental health today, so it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to support this. In Australia we need to see effective collaborations between clinicians, researchers and private industry to develop novel diagnostic, treatment and prevention strategies.

Learning about this important topic was a great lesson from my time in the USA. It was incredible to meet people working in this space, and my goal now is to support this cause.

Alumni Catch-up

Dr. Yuriy Veytskin - Nanotechnology and the Future of Renewable Energy

Dr. Yuriy Veytskin, 2013 Fulbright CSIRO Postgraduate Scholar (right) with Dr. Megan Clark AC, former CEO of CSIRO

Back in 2013, Fulbright CSIRO Postgraduate Scholar Dr. Yuriy Veytskin spent 12 months with CSIRO in Melbourne and Perth, developing his work in nanomechanics and materials science. Now that he has returned to the US, we wanted to know what the multiplier effect of his Fulbright Scholarship did for him and his research.

What did winning a Fulbright Scholarship mean for your research?

It meant giving me the versatility to position my graduate school research and future career in various potential directions by incorporating a broader theme to my body of research. It also gave me invaluable topflight research connections through my advisors and scientists with whom I collaborated.

What was it like to work with Australian Scientists in a national scientific research institution?

It was quite exciting. There is never a dull moment at CSIRO, and my joint appointment with University of Melbourne (initiated through my primary advisor at CSIRO, Dr. Patrick Hartley) also gave me a broader feel for various research environments. The scientists at CSIRO were always willing to help me, and any organisational hierarchies and ranks cease to exist when it comes to cooperatively addressing scientific challenges, which is the way it should be anywhere.

Your research focussed on atomic force microscopy of sedimentary rock, specifically the use of chemicals designed to improve the efficiency/effectiveness of fracking technologies. How will surface science techniques such as this contribute to the development of more sustainable energy sources?

Atomic force microscopy was certainly one side of it, but the entire collection of microscale techniques I ended up using throughout the year was aimed at characterising shale by linking microstructure and mineralogy to material properties. To this end, before we start thinking about how to improve fracking technology efficiency, we have to understand how fracking fluids flow through fractured shales and how the various chemicals (e.g. viscosifiers) affect the accessibility of fracking fluids to the fracture network. Since a fracture is, by definition, the creation of two new surfaces, this process requires an understanding of shale surface morphology, composition, and deformation, which can only be determined with fidelity on the microscale. As an unconventional resource, shale has the potential to be a game changer in the gamut of currently available global energy sources. At the moment, there seems to be greater emphasis on sustainable shale exploration and development rather than the sustainability of shale itself.

Given the global push for sources of sustainable energy, your work could likely affect the energy harvesting practices of governments all over the world – what do you see for the future of your research, and nanomechanics research generally?

It is certainly an exciting time for the emergence of these types of practices. I see greater emphasis on energy modeling efforts to better forecast when the transitions from energy sources and energy harvesting practices might take effect. I also envision that there may be significant global competition to be "first in line" when it comes to both research & development and large-scale application. The forms in which this competition may be instantiated are still uncertain. From the perspective of nanomechanics and microscale research, I think these are the two pillars from which this type of fundamental research needs to continue in order to improve our understanding of material behaviour and how that behaviour directly impacts resource extraction.

What is the fondest memory you have from your time in Australia?

The 2014 Australian Open fortnight was certainly a grand highlight. I have watched this event on television since I can remember, so being there in person really put everything in perspective and gave me a feel for what it's like to be a spectator at a grand slam during the high summer. By happenstance, I met Australians and people from so many other countries at this event alone, many of whom I still keep in touch with. The event also coincided with the longest heat wave in over 100 years in Melbourne in which the temperature was over 41 C each day for four consecutive days, topping out at 43.9 C twice, adding to the trials and tribulations of being a sports fan!

2015 Fulbright Alumni Initiative Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the 2015 FAIG recipients! This year we have awarded four Fulbright Alumni with the grant: Professor Jill Thistlethwaite, Professor John Foster, Professor Iona Novak and Mr Hyatt Frobose. We look forward to seeing the results in their sponsored projects. Read on to learn more about this year’s awardees

Professor Jill Thistlethwaite (University of Technology, Sydney)

Professor Jill Thistlethwaite

"In 2014 I spent four months at the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education in Minneapolis. Interprofessional refers to two or more different health professionals learning and working together. Traditionally health professions are trained in their own professional groups but then need to work together collaboratively and in teams to provide excellent patient care. The National Center is exploring the most effective ways to provide interprofessional education and practice. It is supporting sites in several US states which provide health care. This follow-on project will allow me to return to the center at the time when the sites are submitting their data for analysis. The findings have the potential to influence the interprofessional education and collaborative practice (IPECP) agenda in Australia. The importance of this project relates not only to how we educate future health professionals but also how we fund health services. It has the potential to define the types of collaborative practice between health professionals that positively affect patient care and the health of the population."

Professor John Foster (University of New South Wales)

Professor John Foster

"The Problem... Peripheral nerve repair is a technically demanding microsurgical procedure. Reliance upon sutures in such procedures is time consuming and commonly elicits foreign body inflammatory reactions, resulting in endoneural fibrosis responsible for poor nerve regeneration and functionality. - Currently there are no suitable alternatives to sutures for nerve repair. This project will conduct an assessment of the conduits in vitro using excised nerves and subsequently in a preliminary study in rats. The project will consolidate the current collaboration and establish the framework for another animal trial at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Furthermore, the project will also support the continued exchange of personnel, who will gain valuable technical skills and cultural experiences.”

Professor Iona Novak (University of Sydney)

Professor Iona Novak

Xcellerate Cures for Cerebral Palsy "We will devise the world’s first research protocol for testing the safety of neural stem cells in human newborns for repairing brain injury, as a potential cure for cerebral palsy. This cutting-edge medical science is now ready for the first time to test in infants with cerebral palsy, and the collaborations are in place because of my first Fulbright opportunity at University of California San Francisco in 2013."

Mr Hyatt Frobose (Kansas State University)

Professor John Foster

"I aim to develop a national live animal evaluation competition where university students from across Australia can participate annually and discuss current issues and the future of the livestock industry, like similar programs in the U.S. These competitions can be a recruitment tool for universities and an opportunity for universities to create linkages with private industry partners in need of trained young people to continue the success of the Australian livestock industry."

The aim of the FAIG program is to help build the individual Fulbright experience into long-term organisational partnerships and linkages. The grants support any activities that achieve both short and long-term objectives of ongoing institutional collaboration.

We would like to express our appreciation to the FAIG Selection Committee for choosing such exceptional Alumni with outstanding research projects to add to the Fulbright legacy.

AFAA Welcomes New Executive Members

AFAA facilitates academic, professional and social activities in Australia and the U.S. for Fulbright Scholars, Alumni and friends and partners, and generates funds to support the Fulbright Australian Alumni (WG Walker) Scholarship for Australians and the Fulbright U.S. Alumni Scholarship for an American Scholar.

Associate Professor Iain Butterworth, President

Awarded a 2003 Professional Scholarship for studies in the field of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, he is a community psychologist with a strong interest in the interrelationship between urban design, planning, governance and well-being. Iain is Manager of Liveability and Sustainability for the Eastern and Southern Metropolitan Health Regions of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Here, Iain is helping to implement the Victorian Labor Government's policy commitment to fostering “Liveable, Inclusive and Sustainable Communities”. He is also an honorary Associate Professor at the School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne.

Professor Jennifer McKay, Vice President

Awarded a 2008 Senior Scholarship for studies in the field of Water Law at the University of California, Berkeley, she is Professor of Business Law at the University of South Australia Business School, and Director, Centre for Comparative Water Policies and Laws (CCWPL) in the School of Law. She researches water law reform, focusing on developing regulatory models for the management and allocation of water between competing uses and jurisdictions, and developing protocols to deliver sustainable development. In 2013 the work of the CCWPL was recognised when the Centre received a Commendation of Policy Research to Assist Local Government in Managing Water. Professor McKay completed a Diploma in Human rights law at American University Washington DC and also researches the legal doctrine of proportionality in warfare with special regard to water supply infrastructure.

Dr. Vanessa Adams, Secretary

Awarded a 2004 Postgraduate Scholarship in the field of Ecology to visit the University of Queensland, she has recently returned to University of Queensland as a postdoctoral research fellow with the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (CBCS) in the School of Biological Sciences. Her research explores how to plan for development and conservation goals conjointly with a focus on how new market mechanisms, such as carbon offsets, may be leveraged for dual objectives such as livelihood provisioning and biodiversity conservation.

Roxanne Moore, Treasurer

Roxanne Moore is a Noongar human rights lawyer from the South West of Western Australia. She is currently the Indigenous Rights Campaigner with Amnesty International’s Indigenous Rights Team. Prior to this, Roxanne worked as a Research and Policy Officer at the Australian Human Rights Commission. She has worked as Principal Associate to the Hon Chief Justice Wayne Martin AC QC; as a commercial litigator; and has international experience with UNHCR Jordan and New York University’s Global Justice Clinic. Roxanne studied law at the University of WA, and completed an LLM (International Legal Studies) at New York University, specialising in human rights law, as a 2013 Fulbright Western Australian Scholar.

Dr. Earl Dudley, Public Officer

Awarded a 1970 Travel Scholarship to undertake doctoral studies in mathematics at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is now retired following a career in academia and the Australian Public Service. He was AFAA Treasurer from 2012 to 2014 and Public Officer since 2012.

Dr. Tangerine Holt, ex officio

Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission (and therefore member of the AFAA Executive ex officio) since August 2011, she has extensive experience in managing key strategic initiatives and overseeing transnational education programs with key international partners and expertise in studying, teaching and leadership in not-for-profit management, medical and health professional education in Australia and internationally.

The Australian-American Fulbright Commission values the support and generosity of our Partners and Sponsors. CLICK HERE for more details about our Partners and Sponsors.

The Fulbrighter is the newsletter of the Australian-American Fulbright Commission. We welcome submissions for future editions, your comments and your feedback. If you would like to submit to the newsletter, please send your enquiry, story or news item to publicrelations@fulbright.com.au

Key Dates

2016 Fulbright Scholarships

Call for applications opened 1 May 2015 and will close 1 August 2015

2016 Fulbright Specialist Program

Call for applications open 1 July 2015 and close 1 September 2015