Function: International Indian Ocean Science Conference
Date: Monday, 30 January 2017
Check Against Delivery
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to welcome you here for this afternoon’s event.
It is a little over two weeks ago now that I was appointed Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia, and it is a privilege that one of my first formal engagements is to welcome you to the opening ceremony of the International Indian Ocean Science Conference, on behalf of UWA Oceans Institute.
Conversation over the next few days will centre on world class marine research and I feel very strongly about communicating the incredible research we are involved in at UWA. The International Indian Ocean Science Conference is a real testament to how we are forging partnerships with other world leaders in the oceans and marine research space. It is my belief that the power of collaboration can unlock more research breakthroughs and successes than working in isolation. This conference and this new facility is testament to the commitment this University has made to forge global partnerships to achieve remarkable things. One of my highest priorities as Vice-Chancellor is that we partner, collaborate and connect with other researchers, universities, industry partners and communities to ensure we leave an indelible mark.
It is exciting for me to be standing in front of you today in the auditorium of this incredible state-of-the-art facility. The newly completed Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre brings together over 240 researchers and partners from UWA, CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the WA Department of Fisheries and constitutes the largest marine research facility in the Indian Ocean rim.
The IOMRC partnership draws upon the combined expertise of these organisations and has also resulted in the wonderful space at Watermans Bay, just north of the city. IOMRC researchers, staff and students have been busy moving into the building since November last year. I’m told there is a real energy around the building as researchers – once distanced by location - are now able to work more closely together with access to outstanding laboratories and highly advanced equipment.
The university is very privileged to house this facility on campus and the International Indian Ocean Science Conference is the first significant event to be held in the building. Congratulations to the conference organisers, including Dr Nick D’Adamo and the UWA Oceans Institute, for their outstanding work in preparing for this event.
The UWA Oceans Institute helps to pave the way forward in the oceans and marine research space. The Institute draws upon expertise from all disciplines across the University including engineering, science, health and social sciences. We are incredibly proud of the inspiring and meaningful marine research they are doing which is focused on solving the grand challenges facing our oceans.
And leading the new vision for the UWA Oceans Institute is the newly appointed Director, Professor Erika Techera.
Professor Techera, the former Dean of Law, has a particularly interesting research focus and has collaborated with a number of our researchers on projects involving maritime law, governance arrangements for sharks and marine environmental governance around the Indian Ocean rim.
I’d like to take this opportunity to formally congratulate Professor Techera on her appointment and I know she will do great things in this space.
I hope this conference will provide new insights as well as stimulate discussion and cooperation.
Enjoy your time here at UWA, and I trust that this conference – where you meet to discuss common interests and challenges – will help pave the way for new networks and collaborations.
I’d like to leave you with a quote from the most inspirational undersea explorer, the late Jacques Cousteau, which seems fitting to describe the energy and calibre of skills and talent going into this conference. “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” That certainly holds true for many of you here today and I look forward to discovering what inspiring new marine research will be discussed over the week.
Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy the evening.