VPTN Showcase Success

Researchers met with experts in research infrastructure at the recent VPTN facilities Showcase.

First published: 19/11/2013

Updated at: 28/01/2014 at 11:49 pm

With  comments like “That talk was great” and “Our Board members need to hear this”, we were confident that VPTN’s inaugural Facilities Showcase was hitting the mark.

The theme of the Showcase, Discover. Connect. Grow, held on 12 November, encouraged guests to:

  • find out about Victoria’s capabilities,
  • connect with the experts in research technologies, and
  • network for solutions to research questions.

The 140 attendees included sixty one VPTN member facilities as well as researchers and guests from industry. Ninety per cent of our survey respondents said they would follow up with people they met at the Showcase, which is an amazing outcome.

Discover. Connect. Grow was the first event of its kind, and with feedback like “absolutely brilliant!” and “networking was excellent”,  the forum provided a great opportunity for facilities and researchers from universities, medical research institutes and industry to connect.

Professor Ian Gust AO, known for his work in developing the world’s first Hep A vaccine chaired the morning session. He introduced Professor Arthur Lowery, ARC Laureate Fellow and innovator, and Dr Amanda Caples, Executive Director Science & Technology Programs from the Victorian Government Department of State Development, Business and Innovation. Arthur presented on Monash Vision Group’s Bionic Eye project and the involvement and necessity of using and maintaining cutting edge technology and providing long term support for the scientists that enable the best use of those technologies.

Amanda spoke on the role of Victorian Government Programs in advancing science, innovation and partnering between industry and research organisations. Already the Government’s Technology and Innovation Vouchers have been used by Victorian SMEs to access innovation skills development opportunities provided by Victorian suppliers and service providers.

The morning then broke into ‘soapbox’ presentations introduced by VPTN Network Managers, Gerard Gibbs and Karen Clarke, with an array of speakers covering the vast range of technologies offered in the VPTN.

John Barnes (CSIRO Titanium Technologies) and Ray Dagastine (University of Melbourne and Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication) spoke on ‘Materials Fabrication and Devices’; Andrew Gilbert (BioPlatforms Australia) and Michael Parker (St Vincent’s Institute) on the capabilities broadly within ‘Functional Discovery’; Wojtek Goscinski (MASSIVE) on high performance computing, imaging and visualisation. Eric Hanssen (Bio21 Institute) then spoke about super resolution and advanced electron microscopy, and Chris Hall about the Australian Synchrotron. Warwick Tong (Cancer Therapeutics CRC) spoke about drug development capabilities in Victoria and VPTN’s Gerard Gibbs then elaborated on other facilities within nutrition and exercise science, clinical trials, data linkage, stem cell technology and bio-resources.

Researchers and facilities also gleaned information about the VPTN’s new online booking system called ARIN, which some facilities have started to implement, this month.

It was a challenging proposition to include and present all of the services and capabilities within the vast network of 110 facilities across 30 institutions.  Our research proves though, that we’re on the right track.

Thank you to those who provided feedback via our survey. We will be incorporating some of your useful ideas into future events, and look forward to another Showcase in 2014.

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