President's Letter - Winter 2022

Written by  Dr Susan Northfield, MRACI

Published 23 August 2022

Dear RACI Victorian Branch community,

Welcome to our Winter newsletter. It’s been a busy few months, so we have a lot to discuss in this letter. 

It was a delight in late May to finally (after two years of lockdowns) be able to present our 2021 Victorian Branch Awards, and 25-year membership awards from both 2020 and 2021. Each awardee had an opportunity to speak when presented with their award, and it was lovely to hear their stories about why they joined the RACI; what our organisation means to them; and their hopes for the RACI in the years ahead. I had a wonderful evening listening to their stories and I thank all awardees for their generosity when sharing.

Shortly afterward, the RACI Congress was held in Brisbane in the first week of July. Many Victorian members were in attendance, myself included, and it was wonderful to see such brilliant science from across the country, and to speak to our colleagues in person for the first time in years. I congratulate the organisers, all volunteers, and the RACI staff on their efforts in bringing this event to life. 

Earlier in August was National Science Week, and the Branch was delighted to use the occasion to launch the 2022 Hartung Youth Lecture! The Youth Lecture is named after Victorian Professor Ernst Hartung, who worked at The University of Melbourne from the 1920s to 1950s. He was a prolific chemistry researcher and engaged teacher, who frequently incorporated live demonstrations in his lectures. The winner of the Lectureship goes out to High Schools to speak to Year 9 to 12 students about the area of chemistry that excites them. It is my pleasure to announce that the 2022 Hartung Youth Lecturer is Associate Professor Rajesh Ramanathan. To learn more about the lecture, and to get a sneak peak of what Rajesh’s presentation will be about, you can view this video that we have just launched on our YouTube channel. Schools are now able to submit expressions of interest to our Branch to be hosts for the Hartung Lecture. The form is also available via the YouTube post.

Additionally, we can announce that we are opening the call for nominations for the 2022 RACI Victorian Branch Awards! There are nine awards in contention this year. Please visit our website  for the list of awards, eligibility criteria, and guidelines. Applications must be submitted by 10am on Monday September 26th. Please consider nominating a colleague, mentors, supervisor, or even a self-nomination. 

I would also like to take this opportunity to let you know about an upcoming symposium that may be of interest to you. The first ever Australia-New Zealand Natural Products Chemistry & Biology Symposium will be held at The University of Melbourne on November 7th to 8th. Registrations are now open and will close on October 7th. Please visit their website for further information.

Speaking of events in early November, some of our members have queried when our Branch AGM will be held this year. I can now advise that the AGM will be held on the evening of November 9th at Graduate House in Carlton. This will be immediately followed by our 2022 Victorian Branch Awards Night. Please save the date so that you can join us for the AGM, Awards Night, or both.

Finally, I would like to again put out a call to you, the Victorian RACI members, to provide feedback about the Branch activities. At your convenience, please click on this link and fill in the provided Google Form. Thank-you to those of you who provided feedback via the link from the last newsletter. The information you provide will be useful for Branch to guide planning activities and events. I will continue to provide this link in each of my remaining newsletter messages as President, so if you think of feedback in the months ahead you will still be able to contribute. 

Best wishes to you all!

Dr Susan Northfield
RACI VIC Branch President



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