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In Brief

Issue 18 | November 2006


Pictured here is alumna Dianna de Lorenz with student Mai Xuan Le. Both are participating in the program.

Student friendship

Monash University alumni can stay in touch with Monash, make new friends and help new international students via the International Student Friendship Program.

The program matches students with suitable volunteers who then meet regularly with students for activities, ranging from simple coffee meetings to family gatherings.

To sign up, contact Renee De Simone at or telephone +61 3 9905 3156. For more information, visit the International Friendship program's website.

$1.2m to set up counter-terrorism centre

The Victorian Government and Monash University have signed an agreement to establish a Global Terrorism Research Centre at Monash University.

The $1.2 million centre will have a particular focus on building networks with similar international research centres to investigate the social forces behind terrorism.

Research on target as Monash loads its e-research quiver

Researchers worldwide now have a faster and simpler way of accessing the vast repositories of data that underpin their studies, following a federal government grant of $8.9 million to Monash University.

The funding will advance two Monash-led projects -- Australian Research Repositories Online to the World and Australian Research Enabling Environment -- that will see researchers able to access multiple data sources and more effectively share research information before it is published, all through a single internet portal.

Indonesia scholar appointed to Herb Feith chair

Monash University has appointed distinguished Australian academic Professor-elect Greg Barton to the inaugural Herb Feith Chair for the Study of Indonesia.

Professor-elect Barton, currently a specialist researcher in Indonesian affairs at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii, is highly regarded internationally for his expertise on religion and politics in Indonesia .

He has written extensively on Islam, Islamic thought, civil society, politics and religious extremism.

Dr Adrian Martin.


Renowned film reviewer joins Monash

Internationally regarded film critic Dr Adrian Martin has been appointed Senior Research Fellow in Film and Television Studies, in Monash University 's Faculty of Arts. Dr Martin was one of The Age newspaper's film reviewers for 11 years until early 2006 and has worked as a film reviewer for ABC Radio National. He is currently co-editor of online international scholarly film journal Rouge.

Art and Design

The Long Walk.

Smoking Dog wins best art film in Italy

A short film about the poetic quest of a smoking dog, by Monash University Faculty of Art and Design lecturer Dr Michael Vale, has won the Best Art Film award at the Asolo Art Film Festival, in northern Italy.

Dr Vale won the award for The Long Walk, originally created for his PhD exhibition, Le Chien Qui Fume (The Smoking Dog), exhibited at the Caulfield campus in March.


MBA consolidates its world-class ranking

Monash University's Graduate School of Business (GSB) has re-affirmed its position as one of the top Master of Business Administration (MBA) providers in the world following the release of the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2006 MBA rankings.

The Monash MBA was placed third in the world in the category 'personal development and educational experience'. Overall it was ranked 49th in the world, the highest ranked MBA in Australia, a jump of 10 places from its 2005 position.


Faster optical communications

Monash University researchers scooped the pool of prizes, including the $100,000 Peter Doherty Prize for Innovation, at the Commercialisation Expo 2006 for their work in faster optical communications.

Professor Arthur Lowery and Associate Professor Jean Armstrong, from the Faculty of Engineering, have developed the Optical OFDM, which is the optical equivalent of ADSL. ADSL allows faster communication along telephone lines. Optical OFDM uses similar technology to speed up communications along optical fibres and infrared wireless systems.

Associate Professor James Whisstock.


Life Scientist of the Year award

The discovery of how a protein called MENT helps condense DNA so that it fits inside the cell nucleus has contributed to Monash researcher Associate Professor James Whisstock being awarded the 2006 Science Minister's Prize for Life Scientist of the Year.

Dr Whisstock, from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was presented with his award by the Minister for Education, Science and Training, Ms Julie Bishop. The prize is one of the nation's most highly-regarded awards and is presented to a scientist in the early stage of his or her career for world-class scientific research.


Monash courses have IT

The Australian Computer Society has given its seal of approval to the revamped undergraduate information technology program at Monash University.

The ACS professional accreditation, which provides undergraduate courses with industry endorsement and peer approval, was granted after a comprehensive review.

IT Dean Professor Ron Weber said the ACS accreditation would enhance opportunities for graduates in the workforce and in professional development.


Dr Rick Squire.

'Supermountain' explains Earth's animal evolution

Australian scientists have discovered evidence of an ancient 8000-kilometre-long supermountain range that may explain the beginnings of animal life on Earth.

Lead researcher Dr Rick Squire, from Monash's School of Geosciences , estimates that the range of peaks developed between 650 and 500 million years ago during a dynamic period in Earth's history when several large continents collided with each other to form the supercontinent Gondwana.

Dr Squire said the erosion of the supermountain resulted in enormous volumes of sand, silt and mud washing down a series of huge rivers and being deposited in oceans at the margins of the supercontinent.

"The huge rivers draining the supermountain provided a dramatic flux in nutrients, which supported a bloom of primitive life, and that provided the huge source of food necessary to trigger the sudden appearance of animals on Earth between about 580 and 520 million years ago," Dr Squire said.


No simple life for Australia's country boys

Growing up male in rural Australia is not the uncomplicated rural idyll portrayed in movies and advertisements, new research has revealed.

Instead, it is a complex process fraught with inter-generational conflict and simmering territorial rivalries, a three-year study, led by Professor Jane Kenway of the Education faculty, has found.

Professor Kenway said country towns were changing rapidly as globalisation altered their economies. "There have been big shifts in the kinds of work available in country towns," she said. "When work changes, boys have to re-invent themselves as workers and as males. This can create personal difficulties and tensions between fathers and sons, especially if their work is seen as feminine."


Pro-whaling nations in legally stronger position

Japan's symbolic win in June on the whaling moratorium has placed it in a legally stronger position than the anti-whaling nations, Monash University law academic Dr Eric Wilson has said.

The current moratorium was established 20 years ago in the face of unquestionable evidence of an absolute decline in whale numbers of many species. Subject to administrative procedure, the moratorium was lawfully passed and is binding on all IWC members. Of crucial importance is that it requires a 75 per cent majority to overturn the moratorium.

Dr Wilson said the single-vote win was significant as it reiterated the moratorium's temporary nature.