From the Director

Welcome to the June 2014 issue of NYSF Outlook. It has certainly been a busy time for the NYSF.

Firstly, I am pleased to advise that Australia’s new Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK MC (Retd) has accepted an invitation to become the Patron of the NYSF. Sir Peter’s acceptance follows on from that of Dame Quentin Bryce, AD CVO, and we are honoured that Sir Peter has agreed to take on this role.

In addition, the Chief Scientist for Australia, Professor Ian Chubb AC has accepted our invitation to become the NYSF’s Science Patron.  Professor Chubb has had a long involvement with the NYSF, both in his current and past roles, and we value his engagement with the program.

In May, we made the difficult decision to cancel Session B in Perth for 2015. When it was decided to conduct a third session of the NYSF in 2009, Perth was identified as a reasonable host location due to the booming West Australian economy and the perceived interest in a range of study and career opportunities associated with that. This was certainly the case and the program was very successful, offering a different NYSF experience for those who travelled to Perth. But with the passage of time, increased funding pressures and the current uncertainty within the higher education policy settings, our major university partners in WA have been unable to continue supporting the NYSF.

While this situation is regrettable, through the support of The Australian National University, the NYSF will be able to offer 80 additional places in sessions A and C for students from the 144 allocated to Session B. So instead of offering a total of 432 places in 2015, there will be 368 places available. This reduction in numbers does place pressure on our selection processes, however, we are confident that those students who will benefit most from coming on session will be selected by our Rotary partners to attend.

The NYSF International Program (see story below) is in full swing at the moment. A group of students has recently returned from the Canada-Wide Science Fair, after reportedly having a rewarding experience. In the coming weeks and months we have young people heading to South Africa, London, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, Boston and for the first time, Israel.

With the decision to cancel Session B, we have sadly farewelled Tom Grace and Francesca Phillips from the NYSF Corporate team. We thank them for their hard work and commitment to the program during their time with us. Additionally, Professor Jo Ward from Curtin University has resigned from the Council. Dr Elisabeth Truswell has retired from the Council, and that position has been assumed by Professor Jenny Graves as the representative of the Australian Academy of Science. We also welcome Julie Maynard to the Corporate team’s Communications and Partnerships portfolio.

Applications for the NYSF 2015 January Sessions have recently closed; we received about 1,200 applicants, which is consistent with previous years’ numbers. With the oversight of the respective Rotary District Chairs, selection for places on session has commenced and will be finalised by the middle of August.

Until then, we continue to work hard developing the program and planning for the next tranche of work associated with NYSF 2015 and into the future.

Damien Pearce