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Head of Department 2015 recap

Professor Bert Veenendaal

How the year 2015 has flown by! Yet much has happened around the spatial sciences at Curtin. Final exams are done and semester grades are being allocated. A new crop of graduates are finding their way into employment; although the jobs market is relaxed, most are finding their way into positions quite quickly. While one cohort of students leaves, we are planning for a new group of entrants. Preferences for the spatial sciences programs are steady and we are preparing for offers (to go out in January) for places in surveying, geographic information science and mine and engineering surveying.

I’d like to express my appreciation to A/Professor Jon Kirby who very capably acted in my position as Head for the first seven months of this year. He did a fabulous job of keeping the Department on track and supporting the great team of spatial sciences staff and students. In the meantime I could take some leave, focus on strategic projects and take care of my health (which is going very well now, thank you).

It is very interesting and exciting to see the reach and influence of the various spatial sciences disciplines through many aspects of our world…and beyond. In this issue, you will see how our research extends beyond Perth subsidence and cognitive driving ability, to Pilbara invasive weeds, Barrow Island archaeology, impact of climate change on water resources over four continents, and indeed, improved knowledge of the surfaces and interior structures of the moon. Enjoy!

Let me introduce you to the Spatial Research Hub. After extensive planning throughout the year and with the assistance of an external consultancy, we have established the Spatial Research Hub (SRH or simply “Hub”) to pave the way for research directions and developments in our industry.

There is an obvious gap identified by the federal government, in its position paper of August 2015 on research policy and funding, where Australia ranks 29th among the 30 OECD countries in regards to university-industry research collaborations.

The Hub, under the direction of the interim SRH Director Michael Ridout, brings together research opportunities, expert capacity (eg. researchers locally, nationally and internationally), participants (eg. industry, government, organisations, users, etc.) and funding. Together with the many organisations and partners aiming at advancing the spatial sciences research agenda, we expect the SRH to make a substantial contribution.

Congratulations to our award winners at the WA Spatial Excellence Awards. Well done Rebekah and Amir, as well as the Survey Expedition students and staff! Our scholarships for 2016 are also now open, and we look forward to some high quality student applications. Thank you very much to our highly valued industry/government scholarship partners, namely: Landgate, McMullan Nolan Group, Australian Institute of Mine Surveyors (AIMS) and the Reg Dowson scholarship fund.

Finally, on behalf of Spatial Sciences at Curtin University, I would like to extend to you our best wishes and a safe, relaxing holiday over the Christmas and New Year period. We look forward to continuing and growing our collaborations and industry in 2016!

Professor Bert Veenendaal
Head of Department
Department of Spatial Sciences