Impact Studios

Australia’s no 1 university for research impact

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

Universities are uniquely placed to explore complex problems that our collective future depends on. They do this in a rigorous, ethical, collaborative, and enduring way. Thanks for joining me on this bonus episode of Impact at UTS, a podcast where we speak to some of the top thinkers at the University of Technology Sydney and talk through research engagement strategies, what it takes to deliver excellent game-changing research and how your research can achieve real-world impact. I’m your host Associate Professor Martin Bliemel and over the summer, a few things have changed.

Speaker 2:

Vaccines are coming.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

They’re a great example of university-industry collaboration for broad social benefit. And on a more personal note, UTS is transforming my faculty and into pan-university TD School as in Transdisciplinary School. And my title has changed to Director of Research. My new role, I’ll continue to drive the TD research agenda for the TD school as well as for the university.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

That’ll include looking for creative ways to couple the research with other forms of engagement, like coursework, enterprise learning, consulting, and contract research. At TD research, is an exclusive toss. It occurs across all UTS, but within TD school, we are setting our sights on four themes, futures, technology and humanity, transformative learning and cohesive societies. So if any of those themes appeal to you as a potential collaborator, please reach out you know where to find me. I’d like to take this time now to welcome you to 2021. I hope you managed to take so much needed time out over the holiday to recharge and reflect. For many, 2020 was a challenging year. Some would say unprecedented year. Some people are actually kind of tired of the word unprecedented because there’s been an unprecedented use of the word unprecedented. Either way, I thought we could take the opportunity to begin this year with something more optimistic as we reactivate the campus.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

I want to share with you three conversations with UTS researchers who have creatively found a way to turn 2020s challenges into opportunities. In this bonus episode of Impact at UTS, we’re going to hear from some of our outstanding colleagues who have just been recognised for their contributions at the UTS Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Research Excellence on February 4th, 2021. For those who may not know the UTS Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Research Excellence started over a decade ago. Their purpose is to publicly recognize the outstanding contributions UTS researchers make towards helping shape the world we live in. Whether it’s advancing public health and policy, revolutionising society through future industries or building a more sustainable and livable world. UTS as a public university, committed to delivering excellent research with real-world impact and the Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Awards recognize these efforts. So let’s get started. I’m really excited to introduce you to the three research rockstars you’ll be hearing from today. UTS medal recipient for Excellence in Teaching and Research, Associate Professor of social and political sciences, Christina Ho. She’s from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

A/Prof Christina Ho:

Sometimes I characterise my work as a study of tiger mothers.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

You’ll also be hearing from the recipient of the UTS Medal for Research Impact. Now, this is a familiar voice for you dedicated listeners, Professor David Suggett.

Prof David Suggett:

The key here has been people in partnerships without question. There’s a lot of clever people doing a lot of really cool science and a lot of science that has impact. But transformation of impact really rests on connections.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

David leads the Future Reefs program and the Climate Change Cluster at UTS and was featured in episode two. If you haven’t yet be sure to put that episode of Impact at UTS on your listening list. And finally, the recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Research Excellence, Associate Professor, Shoudong Huang. Shoudong is the deputy director of the Center for Autonomous Systems. He’s published more than 180 research papers and was named one of the hundred most influential scholars in the field of robotics.

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

I always trying to see like as a robot is like a human. For example, a human has different sensors, like eyes, ears, and so on. And robot also have sensors. So really thinking about robots comparing with human make many of our problems seen in robotics very interesting.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

First up, we’re going to be hearing Associate Professor Christina Ho who spoke with Impact Studios, Executive Producer, Emma Lancaster earlier in the week. Just a quick side note, we interviewed all the winners before they knew that they’d taken home the top awards. Listen in as each of these dedicated and insightful scholars discuss their approach to delivering excellent research with impact.

A/Prof Christina Ho:

My name is Christina Ho. I am an Associate Professor in social and political sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. I’ve been nominated for the award for Research and Teaching. My work is really drawn from, a lot of it drawn from my personal experience as a migrant in this country. So I’ve always been interested in looking at how that affects your life chances and I suppose issues around diversity and equality in this country. So that drew me to looking at experiences of migrants in the education system.

Emma Lancaster:

So your research, it’s about cultural diversity, equity and education.

A/Prof Christina Ho:

I like to think of my work… sometimes I characterize my work as a study of tiger mothers. So there are these stereotypes about these pushy Asian tiger parents who forced their children to just study over time. And that for me, that has raised a lot of misunderstanding, I think, between different members of our community, where people don’t understand why perhaps Asian parents approach parenting and education maybe slightly differently to non-Asians in Australia. And I suppose in recent years with the escalation of migration from Asia, it has really transformed the face of our education system in some ways. I’ve particularly looked at kids of Asian migrants who do really well in school.

A/Prof Christina Ho:

So if you look at HSC results, you look at who goes to selective schools. There are a lot of Asian Australian students who are dominant there and that’s given rise to some kind of anxiety, sometimes even resentment against Asian migrants for being tiger parents. I think the accusation is that they push their kids too hard, and that means that other kids are being left behind. So I guess I wanted to research how true are these stereotypes and where does that kind of behavior come from? And that’s what led me to write my book that was published last year called, ‘Aspiration and Anxiety.’ Because they’re the sort of twin motivations that I see as driving this so-called tiger parenting.

Emma Lancaster:

And Christina, what kind of questions do you think your research rises for society, for us to kind of grapple with. What’s the discussion that you want to provoke?

A/Prof Christina Ho:

The main questions that I think come out of my research are questions that I think will be familiar to a lot of people that live in, especially cities like Sydney and Melbourne, where there is a lot of cultural diversity, but there’s also a lot of competition and anxiety and education. And I think the combination of those two has led to somewhat of a racialization of this debate. And now I think because our education system is so competitive, it’s so hierarchical. We’ve got private schools, we’ve got selective schools, we’ve got partially selective schools. These kinds of anxieties, really I think, play into our ideas about race, ethnicity, and culture because Asian Australians are stereotypes to do very well. So I think there is a lot of sort of cultural elements to the kind of anxiety that we are now facing. And I guess I would like to ask the question, where does that anxiety come from? And I suppose, what can we as a community and what can government policy do to try and address that.

Emma Lancaster:

In the Impact at UTS podcast, we often talk about a researcher’s approach or strategy to engagement when it comes to their research. Engagement being communicating your research with people outside of the Academy. Can you tell me what your approach to engagement is when it comes to your work?

A/Prof Christina Ho:

My research relies on me talking to a lot of different people. So I guess it is inherently something that is based in specific communities. So I get out into school communities and I talk to parents and students about their experiences of education. I also talked to educators in schools and in other places of learning such as tutoring centers. So I suppose I see my research as trying to reflect the conversations, the concerns, the anxieties that are happening there. And I have some pretty strong links with education researchers, but also educators, people that are involved in education policy. So for instance, the New South Wales Department of Education, the Teachers Federation, various kinds of professional bodies. And I try to just stay in touch with these people because they’re the ones that know what’s happening on the ground at a day-to-day level.

Emma Lancaster:

And how do you approach those end users or involve them in your research?

A/Prof Christina Ho:

Well, sometimes it is about getting their advice. So because my research does involve getting into communities and talking to people, I often do need some advice on how best to do that. How best to approach school communities, for example, local communities. But also I like to report back to the end users. So sometimes if I’ve released a report or a paper, I’ll just let them know. Sometimes they’ll invite me to do a talk to staff or to a conference or a forum or something like that. So I like to see it as a two-way process.

Emma Lancaster:

And do you think that two-way process, is that what helps you generate research impact?

A/Prof Christina Ho:

I think, yes. I think the two-way process does help with getting some kind of impact from my research, because ultimately what I want to do, I want to see change happen from my research. So for example, just to take a specific example, my research on selective schools has raised a lot of questions about access and equity issues relating to who gets to go to these schools. And at the same time, I know that the New South Wales government has been conducting a lot of research themselves in a review into gifted education. And so I’ve been involved in consultations, but I guess more broadly because I’ve been trying to get my research out there in the broader community. Those public debates that are happening in communities, in the media, online, there are a lot of people also discussing these things now and asking questions about well, are our selective schools meeting the brief that they were supposed to?

A/Prof Christina Ho:

And that has actually led to some questions being raised in terms of policy. And certainly education ministers over the years have come out and addressed some of the concerns that people have raised about access to these kinds of very prestigious schools. The amount of money that some families are spending on getting their kids prepared to do the selective school test. For example, Mark Scott, who’s the New South Wales secretary Department of Education came out and said, “There are issues around inequality of access to these schools. When some families are spending tens of thousands of dollars investing in private tutoring to prepare their kids for the test.” So I know now it’s on their radar and for me that’s a really rewarding outcome to have from my research.

Emma Lancaster:

And do you have any particular plan in mind, Christina, for how you’re going to continue your research work in 2021? As we continue to work under the impacts of a global pandemic.

A/Prof Christina Ho:

My research plans in 2021, are really contingent on what happens with COVID, but I’ve been lucky so far that I am working with some schools and I’m hoping to actually go into those schools. We’re liaising with a lot of the school principals at the moment. And I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll let outsiders come into the school to talk to people and to observe classes. They’ve said a tentative, yes, but I’m really looking forward to being able to go do some field work in schools, talk to teachers, students, and families. And that’s really the next stage of my research. Looking at issues around education, diversity, inequality, and access to really high quality education that really all of our kids deserve.

Emma Lancaster:

So you’ve been nominated for the UTS Teaching and Research Medal. How does your research compliment your teaching and vice versa?

A/Prof Christina Ho:

I teach in the social and political sciences major as part of the Bachelor of Communication Degree. And in my teaching, I find that there’s quite a good confluence between my research and my teaching, because the same kinds of themes crop up in both. So in my teaching, we focus a lot on issues around social inequality, cultural diversity, and really kind of just the pressing sort of social policy issues of the day. So there’s a lot of overlap between what I research and what I teach. I’m able to use a lot of, for example, case studies from my research to illustrate what might look like abstract points in social sciences in my teaching. For instance, the work that I’ve done with a lot of migrant communities really helps me to illustrate the kinds of issues around inequality, diversity, racism. And these are the kinds of things that come up in our social and political sciences in our teaching all the time.

Emma Lancaster:

And in your opinion, Christina, what does it take to deliver excellent research?

A/Prof Christina Ho:

For me excellent research is research that addresses a real world issue that can help us to address something that has been a longstanding problem in our society. So for me, it is about issues around inequality and diversity in education. There’s plenty of research out there that shows that there are growing inequalities in education. And for me, excellent research is research that can really shed some insight into why this is happening and what we can do about it. In terms of how to do excellent research, what I really appreciate about working at UTS is the enormous autonomy that we are given to determine our own research agendas. I don’t get anyone telling me that’s the wrong approach, or that’s the wrong topic to research. There’s a trust that we understand how to approach our research and how to frame our research. And I really appreciate that freedom.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

That was Associate Professor Christina Ho from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in conversation with Impact Studios Executive Producer, Emma Lancaster. Christina was the 2020 recipient for the UTS Medal for Excellence and Teaching and Research. Congratulations Christina. I always love it when teaching and researchers are integrated together into one amazing, I guess, product or outcome. And if you want to find out more about Christina’s award-winning research, why not check out her book, Aspiration and Anxiety: Asian Migrants and Australian Schooling. Just head online or find it at any good bookstore. Now for those avid listeners of Impact at UTS, this voice will sound familiar.

Prof David Suggett:

I’m hoping what’s going to keep me busy is really resuming our activities in the field. I mean, literally we are bags packed by the door and we’re waiting to get on the plane to Queensland.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

Last year, we spoke to Professor David Suggett about how he and his research team have found a small solution to a big problem that’s facing the world’s largest reef. And that solution came by engaging those whose life and livelihoods are tied to the health of the Great Barrier Reef. David has just been announced as the winner of the 2020 UTS Medal for Research Impact.

Prof David Suggett:

About two years ago, whilst we’re on the Great Barrier Reef, we were working in partnership with the tourism industry and they started to tell us that because of climate change, mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef over consecutive years, they were really seeing their what we call high value tourism reefs deteriorate. And they wanted to adopt new tools and workflows under the umbrella of coral gardening as a means to take better care of their sites, what we call site stewardship. And all of a sudden, we sort of realised that our work for the past 15 years actually had this huge applied purpose where we could now take all of this knowledge of how the environment shapes the ability of corals to grow and actually use it to grow coral with an industry that actually needed help. So it is a really exciting development.

Emma Lancaster:

Now you spoke to Impact at UTS last year about how the reef rehabilitation activities that you and your team have been doing, of being integrated into existing tourism operator models. So I’m keen for you to speak a little bit more about that and the plans you have for this year.

Prof David Suggett:

So this sort of epiphany moment we had of understanding that the tourism industry wanted to work with researchers to propagate and grow coral just to rehabilitate their sites, gave rise to a new program that we termed the Coral Nurture Program. And it’s a consortium of tourism operators that we work with to develop tools, workflows and replant coral onto reef. So over the past sort of 18 months to two years of doing this, we’ve managed to grow over 5,000 corals and replant 21,000 corals now it is, across six sites. And this has been an absolute game changer in terms of how we can aid natural recovery by supplementing it with sort of fast tracked recovery. So the Coral Nurture Program has actually received worldwide attention by doing this because all of a sudden, many other stakeholders around the world. It doesn’t necessarily have to be tourism, it may be subsistence fishing, communities have realised that actually by partnering with other organizations and adopting sort of the low tech approach that we’ve been taken to propagate coral. You can suddenly to do this at scale on a scale that matters.

Prof David Suggett:

The one criticism with coral propagation, what was sometimes termed coral gardening, is that it can only be done very locally with minimum impact. We’ve actually changed that idea by being able to do it bigger, better, faster. So where this has now taken us through our consortium of operators under the Coral Nurture Program has been in a slightly different direction. We’ve just gained funding for the next three and a half years through new funding partners. I can’t unfortunately disclose who those partners are just yet. The official announcement will come out in about two or three weeks once we’re back up on the reef. The idea here is to say, well, we know we can replant lots of coral.

Prof David Suggett:

The goal over the next few years is to plant, well, over a hundred thousand corals. And we’re doing this at such high scale, but we’re changing the environment in a way that we don’t really know what it means for reef ecosystems. Okay. We’re trying to replicate the natural ecology, but we can’t do it perfectly. So the real questions we’re asking now is when we replant and rehabilitate corals, upscale or mass replanting, what are the effects both to the ecosystem, but more importantly, what are the effects to society? To the industry, is it a net gain to the industry to society? Does it make the industry more resilient? The reason I say that as well is because as the operators become more skilled at adopting this into their everyday life and business models, they gain new capacity to survive as an industry.

Prof David Suggett:

And this in turn means that they have new financing models available to them to sustain themselves as an industry. So we’re exploring sustainable financing to take this forward as a new management tool into the future. So that’s in a nutshell how we’re going from kind of a new model to a model at scale that will enable not just ecological transformation, but social transformation of a critical industry within Australia.

Emma Lancaster:

Well, congratulations on receiving that funding. So it seems like you’ve been very active in your 2020, how has COVID impacted your research?

Prof David Suggett:

COVID was, obviously it was a terrible year for everyone, but we’ve been very fortunate to gain funding. And actually on that note, I wouldn’t say COVID did us a favor, but I do need to clarify what I mean by that statement. But one of the unintended outcomes of the Coral Nurture Program was that the tourism industry in Queensland was entirely mothballed under COVID-19. Tourism dried up overnight. But through the Coral Nurture Program, what we were able to demonstrate is that industries with this new capacity to propagate coral could repurpose their infrastructure into one of reef maintenance and not just be tourism operators. So again, we were able to show how this really gave rise to new tourism, sustainability industry resilience. So again, it’s shown us that we were sort of a little bit ahead of our time and really how new industry capacity and sustainability could safeguard the industry moving forward.

Emma Lancaster:

So tell me a bit more, David about your unique approach to partnerships. I’m keen to hear where the UN comes into all of this as well.

Prof David Suggett:

Yeah, that’s a really interesting development for us as well. Because of our success through the Coral Nurture Program, it really was a world first. Through our new tools and workflows of the Coral Nurture Program. One of which I haven’t really spoken about yet, which we called Coralclip. It’s a new device to basically reattach corals really quickly to the reef. That’s what enables us to get out so many corals back to rehabilitate reef sites. That’s what also has really gained global attention through the sort of new tools, new workflows, new partnerships. That meant that I was asked to chair a new working group for an international committee to basically provide a set of guidelines to governments on how to adopt coral gardening within broader management frameworks, and really just thinking about reef management into the 21st century, where we really want to ensure the future of reefs.

Prof David Suggett:

And this coincided with the UN launching their Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, which actually officially has launched in June this year and will last until 2030. And so we were approached through UNEP the United Nations Environment Program to really provide the documentation to really then inform governments how to do this and Coral Nurture Program and the work of UTS in partnership, the operators is featured as a major case study behind that and how you can start to build novel partnerships, to achieve new management goals at scale.

Emma Lancaster:

David, in terms of the Coral Nurture Program, it’s only really been formally active, my understanding is, from 2018 and in that time you and your team have achieved an incredible amount. So I’m just wondering if you have a unique approach, how have you been able to achieve so much in such short period of time? Why is research impact so important to you?

Prof David Suggett:

I think the key here has been people in partnerships without question. There’s a lot of clever people doing a lot of really cool science and a lot of science that has impact, but transformation of impact really rests on connections. And certainly in our case, we had a serendipitous moment where the industry operators we were working with, we just really gel. We had lots and lots of common ideas and common goals from different directions. And I think that that sort of common interest creates a lot of synergy and energy to do something new and different. And of course, when you engage with stakeholders on coral reefs, it really is their livelihood. And to be able to see how your research can impact on someone’s livelihood directly is quite a transformative moment I think for you as a scientist. Quite often we do research and we kind of know what our impact is in a passive sense.

Prof David Suggett:

It will have benefit to X, Y, and Z. But really until you talk to those beneficiaries and really understand the problems actually implementing your impact is not really possible. So a lot of our sciences is really fantastic, but it’s not necessarily feasible in terms of a real impact and demonstrable impact. So I would say that our unique approach has been talking to people. Really recrafting our questions from people’s perspectives and really embedding impact into the really fundamental science. But as I said, it comes back really down to talk to people at the end of the day.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

That was professor David Suggett and Marine biologist and leader of the Future Reefs Program. The core team within the Climate Change Cluster at UTS. I can’t believe the Coral Nurture Program was only started in 2018. The widespread impact David and his team have had in such a short time is inspiring. I can’t wait to see what he does next. So we know that discovery, problem solving, creativity and integrity are all crucial to great research and learning environments. One UTS researcher who knows the importance of a strong research culture is Associate Professor Shoudong Huang.

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

A good research environment is very important for us to deliver good research outcomes. And there’s a research environment in our Center of Autonomous System is a very good one. We are all collaborating with each other. We trust each other. We give opportunity to others. So this good environment, good research culture it really help everybody.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

Shoudong Huang has received the Chancellor’s Medal for Research Excellence in 2020. This award honors a sustained research excellence at the highest level. Shoudong is the deputy director of the Center for Autonomous Systems. His research lies in the areas of applied mathematics and robotics and his brilliant mind imagines technologies that have never existed before. Here he is in conversation with Impact Studios Executive Producer Emma Lancaster. A few days out from being named the winner of the Chancellor’s Medal for Research Excellence.

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

My name is Shoudong Huang I’m an Associate Professor in robotics. I’m in school of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering in Faculty of Engineering and I.T. I’m nominated for Chancellor’s Medal for Research Excellence.

Emma Lancaster:

So what drew you to your work in the field of robotics?

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

My PhD and my first two post-doc position or in control area in particular is in a kind of control theory. After I did my post-doc in control area. I got offers doing robotics and also control as well. But I choose to do robotics and come to UTS from 2004 because I found robotics is more interesting. And also how many real applications. I think this pretty attract me to keep working on robotics in the last 16 years.

Emma Lancaster:

Were you interested in robotics as a kid?

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

Not really. Probably when I was young, there’s no much robotics there yet. Yeah. But I think when I really started doing robotics, I feel more and more interesting and I really enjoyed the work.

Emma Lancaster:

And Shoudong you imagine technologies for a world that doesn’t exist yet. So where do you draw your inspiration from?

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

I always trying to see like as a robot is like a human. For example, a human has a different sensors, like eyes, ears, and so on and robot also have sensors. And the human has hand and the robot has hand as well. So I’m always thinking about how can we make the robot as close as human being? And we have brains and the robot has a computer inside its body and so on. So really thinking about robots comparing with human, make many of our algorithms in robotics very interesting. And we are developing some like a very normal and a good algorithm on that aspect. So I’m feel really proud of being able to develop those algorithms and trying to make the robot behave more similar to human.

Emma Lancaster :

And how would you explain that work you do to a lay person?

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

Yeah basically one… As human perform any task, we need to first use our sensors, for example, our eyes to understand environment around us. And then also we learn to work out our own location we see in the environment. Then we can start to really move our body, move our hands to do the task. Similarly, for robot. Robot also needs to use sensors to understand the environment and work out its own location relative to the other things in the environment. And after that robot can take appropriate actions to complete any task. So my research area focus on developing algorithms for robot to use the sensors, to understand the environment and then workout its own location within the environment.

Emma Lancaster :

The work that you’re doing Shoudong, who are the end users or who is it that you expect to use these robotics?

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

The problem is a useful in most of our robot navigation tasks, especially when the robot moves to an unfamiliar environment. And this can be a robot search and rescue. Can be robot operating in a challenging, difficult unknown environment. For example, we have a project with RMS about underwater robot bridge pile cleaning. So this robot need to be able to go across the bridge pile and sense the bridge pile to understand which part need to be cleaned and then perform operation using high pressured water to clean the bridge pile. So we have some practical project. We’re also working on multiple robot system for container terminals. There’s a autonomous straddle carrier used in both Brisbane and Sydney. And we work on how to coordinate those straddle carriers, such that they can complete the tasks, moving different containers from here to there very efficiently. So we do have some practical industry related products, they are our end users. But in general, our work on robotics can be applied to many areas, for example, search and rescue and autonomous driving and so on.

Emma Lancaster:

So you’re creating robots that can be placed in an unknown location and then operate in a way making decisions about their environment and potential hazards. I can see that working really well in natural disaster zones. And like you said, for cleaning those underwater bridge pile-ons.

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

Yes.

Emma Lancaster:

Is there any particular approach you take when you’re trying to conduct research engagement?

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

I would say my approach to engagement is to keep telling people around me about what I’m doing and I’m really exciting about what I’m doing in research. Probably one interesting story is I actually injured my leg and my arm when I play football, I feel yesterday. And I talked to my surgeon who treated me at that time. I told him I’m working in robotics area and my research is kind of related to surgical robotics. So the surgeon saw some interest but he was a bit busy in those days. But from last year, I think that because of the COVID, they are less busy and he brought his friends to come to talk to us about exactly what we are doing. And we have a few meetings and discussions. And after a few discussions, they had agreed to support us to work on a research project. And that project is about using a robot manipulator to help performing hip replacement, which is a very important operation in their area.

Emma Lancaster:

Wow. So let me get this straight. So you had an injury last year?

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

Yeah, and I think probably two to three years back, but yeah, but I broke my arm and I also broke one of my ligaments and the doctor treated me a few times.

Emma Lancaster:

And through that connection, you’re now collaborating together on a robot to assist in hip replacements.

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

Yeah, hip replacement. Yes.

Emma Lancaster:

Wow. Okay. Well, I guess you never know who you’re going to meet or collaborate with.

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

Yeah. Also something not very good at the beginning and obvious something good at the end.

Emma Lancaster:

Shoudong, you have impressively published over 180 research papers. You’ve been named one of the a hundred most influential scholars in the field of robotics in 2018 that was. How do you deliver excellent research with impact? How do you approach your work and how do you have so much success?

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

You obvious aiming for excellence in research. And this is what I’m doing and also what I’m telling my team to do. So if only myself, I can’t achieve that much for a good results, but with my excellent team members, we are able to work together and achieve a lot of good results. So I think one thing is to set a good example for my team members and then we all work happily together and helping each other to grow. I think that’s probably one good reason for us to be able to achieve this.

Emma Lancaster:

So collaboration is key here?

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

Yes.

Emma Lancaster:

And what advice would you have for any early career researchers who are just starting out? Any particular words of wisdom that you could share?

A/Prof Shoudong Huang:

I think for early career researchers, I think, keep the curiosity is probably very important in research. So we always use this curiosity to ask many important questions and try to answer many difficult questions. So keep the curiosity is a good one and also good research takes time. So don’t expect to be able to do something good with a very short time period. So be patient and also keep an open mind. Always learn from others and keep improving yourself. That’s some keywords I want to say to early career researchers. But I think another thing I want to add is a good research environment is very important for us to deliver a good research outcomes. And the research environment in our Center of Autonomous System is a very good one. We are becoming a robotics institute, shortly, but this group of people are all collaborating with each other. We trust each other, we give opportunity to others. So this good environment, good research culture, it really help everyone. So yeah, I really appreciate its environment as well.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

That was Associate Professor Shoudong Huang with some great advice for those who are just starting out on the research journey. Curiosity, collaboration, time, and a strong research culture. And a strong research culture is what we have here at UTS. But research culture can be hard to define. Excellent research should be a given for universities, but a good research culture is about more than excellent research and includes being open to collaborating across disciplines and making your work accessible to others outside the ivory tower. Cultures are also a living thing and change over time. Across many universities, the KPIs and incentives and the metrics are shifting from rewarding publishing within narrow fields of research to incentivising, collaborating across disciplines and sectors on projects that are equally issues-based and theory driven. That means we need to be solving the societal challenges facing us and rise up to those challenges.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

And at UTS, we’re agile. We’ve shown we can adapt and change to work within new environments and work closely with the partners, governments, industry, and communities. By doing this, we can actually transform society and come up with solutions we need for our future. So that brings us to the end of this bonus episode of Impact at UTS. Congratulations to all the winners of the UTS Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Research Excellence. The work you’re doing to make game changing research with real world impact is so important and needed. Keep going. Thanks to the three research rockstars Associate Professor Christina Ho, Professor David Suggett and Associate Professor Shoudong Huang. We loved hearing from you.

A/Prof Martin Bliemel:

You can find out more about the research taking place at UTS and the exciting things we have happening here. Just visit uts.edu.au and click on the research and teaching tab. While you’re at it, why not check out our research strategy, or complete the RES Hub research impact module. You’ll find the links in our show notes. Thanks to everyone who has listened, contributed, fed back or completed the research impact module after listening to the Impact at UTS podcast. It’s been a pleasure putting this together for you. I’m your host Associate Professor Martin Bliemel. I hope 2021 proves to be a year for you to create, discover, problem solve and innovate. And as Associate Professor Shoudong Huang suggests, remain curious.

Speaker 6:

Thanks to everyone that made this series possible. To our resident at Impact and engagement expert, Julian Zipparo. For the brain stress in the UTS research office, including Catherine McElhone and Scott McWhirter. And UTS external communication advisor for research Andrew Parker and internal communication officer for research, Samia Rahman. To our wonderful host Associate Professor Martin Bliemel. And of course the team at Impact Studios. Allison Chan, audio producer. Andrew Moulton, sound engineer. Ben Vozzo, Impact Manager. Impacts Studio Executive Producer, Emma Lancaster, and Impact Studios Managing Director Tamson Pietsch.

 

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