International Relations Office

Updates on the University's global engagement activities

Topic: Research

My internship at Université Laval, Canada

  

📥  Culture, Funding/Scholarship, Research, Visit

I have recently returned from Quebec City, Canada after completing a six-month internship at the Department of Wood and Forestry Sciences, Université Laval. It was funded by the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship worth CAD $11,000. This scholarship aims to activate a dynamic community of young global leaders across the Commonwealth countries, creating an impact at an international level through inter-cultural exchanges encompassing international education, discovery and inquiry, and professional experiences.

Entrance to the Université Laval

Entrance to the Department of Architecture, Université Laval

The facilities were impressive in terms of a wide range of equipments available to carry out state of the art research and experimentation in laboratories. The lab staff were very helpful in providing training on new equipments, helping with experiments and making sure labs are running smoothly. The department staff members were also very friendly and I felt welcome throughout my stay.

The department laboratory

The CIRCERB department laboratory

I attended some departmental events such as the 'Summer School' and 'Direction de Bureau' nuturing networking opportunities with industrial partners who have collaborated projects running with the Department. The all-day event was packed with presentations by people from industry, poster sessions by students and group discussions.

I took part in the "Festival Forestier" with other Queen Elizabeth scholars. It was interesting to visit the countryside over the weekend and experience the artwork (wood, iron, farming and cultivation) of local Quebec residents during this festival. I also volunteered in the 'Fall Festival' event organised by the Voice of English-speaking Quebec. It was enjoyable meeting English-speaking families in Quebec City.

Volunteering at Fall Festival

Volunteering at Fall Festival

A view of Quebec City, Canada

A view of Quebec City, Canada

The internship was an overall good experience to work in a new environment and establish good networking opportunities for future. The work completed there is a substantial part of my PhD research contributing to scientific publications. Having the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II scholarship during the PhD would be a plus on my CV. Moreover, doing a collaborated research work opens new doors for my career by meeting new people in the field.

I would like to thank my supervisors here at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Dr Mike Lawrence and Dr Juliana Holley, who encouraged me to apply for this scholarship and guided me throughout the internship. I wish to acknowledge the BRE Centre for Innovation Construction Materials and the ISOBIO project for supporting my PhD research at Bath. Being the first student to go under this scholarship from Bath, it has been a highly enriching experience right from the application process till the end of the internship. Special thanks to Prof Pierre Blanchet and Dr Diane Schorr at the Université Laval for their support for the smooth progress of my research work.

Atif Hussain at the Department of Wood and Forestry Sciences

Atif Hussain at the Department of Wood and Forestry Sciences

Greetings from Seoul!

📥  International Strategy, Partnership, Research, Visit

Seoul in September is a city in transition from the baking heat and humidity of high summer to something crisper and altogether more comfortable for a northern European like me. Over the 10 days I have been in South Korea, I have seen - and felt - this transition take place as more autumnal weather arrives in town. Tomorrow I shall be coming back home to Bath.

Overlooking Seoul, South Korea

Overlooking Seoul, South Korea

My trip to Seoul was made possible by an award of £4,000 from the University of Bath’s International Research Accelerator Scheme to visit colleagues at Yonsei University, as part of a planned research project with the provisional title Discounting our future: towards an understanding of how we model pure time preference and how this impacts upon environmental policy making. Once again, I would like to thank the University and colleagues who took the time to look at my proposal and give me this opportunity to deepen research links with colleagues at Yonsei.

Hans Schattle, who is a Professor of Political Science at Yonsei and also visited Bath last year as part of our Global Mobility Scheme, is hosting me on my visit. I first met Professor Schattle when I visited Yonsei as part of a University of Bath delegation in June 2013. We have kept in touch, through a PoLIS delegation I led to Yonsei in October 2013 and at the official University of Bath reception hosted in Seoul in October 2014 by our Vice Chancellor and Chancellor. Yonsei University is one of Bath’s key strategic partners and my working relationship with Professor Schattle is further evidence of our International Strategy starting to generate stable and productive research collaboration around the world.

While I was in Seoul, I also hosted a reception for a group of Bath alumni in the buzzy downtown district of Gangnam (made familiar to many outside South Korea through the K-pop star PSY’s worldwide hit ‘Gangnam Style'). We had a really excellent turnout, with one alumnus travelling over three and half hours from elsewhere in South Korea to attend the event. Bath alumni also took the opportunity to wish the University of Bath a Happy 50th Anniversary. I would like to thank Cassie Long for her organisation at the University of Bath and to our local alumni volunteer Youseok Cho, who was responsible for the logistics in Gangnam.

Meeting Bath alumni at the Reception

Meeting Bath alumni at the Reception

Finally, whilst at Yonsei, I gave a public lecture on what still appears to be the number one topic worldwide at present: Brexit. Over 50 students, Bath alumni, and other stakeholders attended the lecture and the question and answer session was a pleasure: Yonsei students are sharp, well informed, and engaged. Just like our own students, in fact, whom I look forward to teaching again in just over a week’s time.

Professor Charlie Lees at the public lecture

Professor Charlie Lees at the public lecture in Seoul

Charlie Lees is the Professor of Politics at the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies. 

Bath International Funding Schemes - an update!

📥  Funding/Scholarship, International Strategy, Partnership, Research

International Research Accelerator Scheme

The deadline for the extraordinary call for the International Research Accelerator Scheme is fast approaching - Wednesday 25 May!

The ‘International Research Accelerator Scheme’ supports larger scale research activity with University Strategic Partners, such as the organisation of interdisciplinary and multi-partner workshops or symposia. Successful applications will be expected to lead to a number of concrete, high-quality research outputs, including external funding bids and joint publications.

Visit the Bath International Research Funding Schemes pages for further information.

Don't forget that applications should be submitted to the Head of Department for comments two weeks before the submission deadline and then to your Dean for comments one week before the submission deadline.

FAPESP-Bath Scheme

In this year’s first FAPESP-Bath funding call we have funded one project.

  • Dr Davide Mattia (Chemical Engineering) will be collaborating with colleagues from the University of Sao Paulo on tailoring oxide based nanoparticles for the mineral nutrition of plants.

Second call now open

We are now inviting bids for the next call of FAPESP - Bath funding to support projects in all fields of knowledge that involve the exchange of researchers. The invitation is open to researchers affiliated to either the University of Bath or higher education and research institutions in the state of São Paulo who are Principal Investigators of ongoing research projects funded by FAPESP.

Want to find a potential collaborator with an ongoing FAPESP research project? Why not use the FAPESP search engine.

Visit the FAPESP-Bath website for further information and application guidance. Deadline: Monday 25 July 2016

 

Major funding opportunity to deepen strategic international research partnerships

📥  Funding/Scholarship, International Strategy, Partnership, Research

International Research Accelerator Scheme – extraordinary funding call now open

Deadline: 5pm, Wednesday 25 May 2016

We are delighted to announce an extraordinary call for applications to the University’s 2015-16 International Research Funding Schemes. The ‘International Research Accelerator Scheme’ supports larger scale research activity, such as the organisation of interdisciplinary and multi-partner workshops or symposia. Successful applications will be expected to lead to a number of concrete, high quality research outputs, including external funding bids and joint publications.

The call is open to all disciplines in the faculties and the school.

A total of up to eight awards of a maximum of £15,000 each will open for applications until 5pm Wednesday 25 May 2016.

Details of our Strategic Partners can be found on the website.

Professor Colin Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Internationalisation)

Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)

Eligibility: Academic staff in Education and Research job family (and Research Officers)

Key assessment criteria: A clearly articulated plan for the step change in scholarly activity with concrete outputs detailing:

  • academic rigour
  • clear articulation of the sustainable development of the relationship
  • leveraging critical mass at Department/ Faculty or Institutional level
  • plans for creating impact that enhances our institutional reputation
  • preparation and delivery of joint bids and publications in excellent, high-citation outlets
  • planning and organisation of larger-scale research activities (workshops, symposia, conferences)
  • commitments to leveraging or attracting clearly identified external funding at an appropriate scale
  • commitments to interdisciplinary and/or multipartner research activities
  • value for money
  • strategic fit with University's International Strategy

Application forms and assessment criteria are available.

Alternatively, please visit the International Relations Office wiki pages where you will also be able to find details of other internal and external international funding sources.

For further information, please contact Katja Nieminen, International Partnerships Manager.

 

 

First round of 2015/16 Bath International Research Funding Scheme award winners announced

📥  Announcement, Award, Funding/Scholarship, Research

Following the first call for funding applications to the 2015/16 Bath International Research Funding Schemes we are delighted to announce the winners are:

International Research Initiator Scheme

  • Dr Petra Cameron (Chemistry) will visit Koç University to increase collaboration in the field of Energy Materials and Photovoltaics leading to joint research bids.
  • Dr Bryan Clift (Health) will develop long term collaborations with colleagues from University of Sao Paulo (USP) and host a workshop in Bath  on the topic of urban transformation and mega-sport events in Brazil such as Rio 2016.
  • Dr Katharine Fraser (Mechanical Engineering) will conduct biomedical engineering and cardiovascular fluid dynamics research with collaborators at Koç University.
  • Prof David Galbreath (Politics, Languages & International Studies) will welcome colleagues from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to Bath to develop research proposals and grant applications in the field of technology, politics and society.
  • Prof Andrew Heath (Architecture & Civil Engineering) will travel to Stellenbosch University with colleagues from Bath to further links between the BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials (BRE CICM) and the Stellenbosch Unit for Construction Materials and initiate research projects that will lead to joint funding proposals.
  • Prof Andreas Kyprianou (Mathematical Sciences) will visit colleagues at Koç University and host a reciprocal visit aimed at furthering collaboration in the field of probability theory.
  • Dr Jane White (Mathematical Sciences) will collaborate with colleagues at Stellenbosch University to research the control of HIV-related cancers and mathematical modelling for infectious disease control with plans to develop joint funding bids.
  • Dr Chenjian Zhang (School of Management) will work in collaboration with Zhejiang University and Cornell University researching the emergence of the social enterprise sector in China.

International Research Accelerator Scheme

  • Dr Wali Aslam (Politics, Languages & International Studies) will host workshops in Cape Town and Singapore to bring together colleagues from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Stellenbosch University and the University of Sao Paulo (USP) on the topic of Misplaced States and the Politics of Regional Identity.
  • Dr Lee Bryant (Architecture & Civil Engineering) will be working with colleagues from Stellenbosch University to conduct fieldwork and develop a WRC proposal in the field of water quality, pathogen transport and mobilization, and mitigation.
  • Dr Sarah Halligan (Psychology) will conduct a small scale research project looking at child and adolescent mental health following PTSD in South Africa in collaboration with colleagues from Stellenbosch University to develop joint research funding bids.
  • Prof Alastair Spence (Mathematical Sciences) will host a workshop at Bath with colleagues from with Koç University to explore further collaborations in the field of Eigenvalues: Numerics and Applications. Joint funded with the Faculty of Science.
  • Prof Tamas Szekely (Biology & Biochemistry) will host workshops at Bath and Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) discussing new genomic and phylogenetic approaches for sex determination systems and to develop joint research proposals.

Future Research Leaders Incubator Scheme

  • Dr Lee Bryant (Architecture & Civil Engineering) has a PhD student that will spend 6 months carrying out field work with colleagues from Stellenbosch University and collaborating on a review paper with colleagues at Emory University on the topic of water-quality effects of storm water runoff in South African slums.
  • Dr Emma Carmel (Social & Policy Sciences) has a PhD student that will visit the Harvard Graduate School of Education for 4 months to research and present findings on 'race', ethnicity & education.
  • Prof Dimo Dimov (School of Management) will supervise a PhD student from Stellenbosch University for 6 months whilst at Bath researching enterprise engineering, innovation management and entrepreneurship.
  • Dr Darrell Patterson (Chemical Engineering) will supervise a PhD student from the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Spain for 3 months to research Catalysis and Reaction Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Sustainable Chemical Technologies and Water Engineering.
  • Dr Weijia Yuan (Electronic & Electrical Engineering) has a PhD student that will visit Tsinghua University for 6 months to research and build a novel power electronic controller for a superconducting magnetic energy storage and battery hybrid energy storage system. Dr Yuan will then host and supervise a PhD student from Tsinghua University here at Bath for 4 months to continue testing and research.

 

International partnership exchange to Stellenbosch University, South Africa

📥  Funding/Scholarship, Research, Visit

At the end of May this year I had the opportunity to visit the University of Stellenbosch for 3 months as part of the Global Partner Research Scholarships (GPRS).

I have spent the time on my PhD which examines the process of low energy recovery and the purification of biofuels and biochemicals from the fermentation media used to produce them.

Currently this process is incredibly energy intensive and hinders the cost comparability of biofuels and biochemicals with crude oil derived products. My PhD research explores membrane separations, a novel method for separating different components of a liquid mixture. When applied to the separation of fermentation products, this method would provide enormous energy and cost savings, which results in an improvement in the efficiency of the overall process.

At the University of Stellenbosch, I focused on two parts of my PhD project.

First, I was in collaboration with Professor Len Barbour in the Department of Chemistry to work on applying novel materials called Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) to these types of separations and the mechanism of separation involved. The collaboration has opened up new avenues for my research looking at applying some of the new materials being studied within the group.

The second part of the project involved working alongside Dr Percy van der Gryp within the Department of Process Engineering. We attempted to apply the MOF membranes to the separation of a fermentation product from water. The work has produced some promising results which we aim to publish in the near future.

Pervaporation rig used for testing the membranes

Pervaporation rig used for testing the membranes

Between running these experiments in South Africa, I had the opportunity to take advantage of some of the great scenery and fantastic surfing.

Beautiful scenery of Stellenbosch

Beautiful scenery of Stellenbosch

Surfing in Stellenbosch

Surfing in Stellenbosch

The trip was a great chance to work with experts from the University of Stellenbosch. It has allowed for my PhD to go in new directions that would not have otherwise been possible.

Chris Davey is a PhD student at the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies working on the low energy recovery of fermentation products using membrane processes with Dr Darrell Patterson and Professor David Leak.

 

Research trip to Ohio State University

📥  Development, Funding/Scholarship, Research, Visit

Travelling to a new country is always an exciting experience, but working in new country, under a new professor, can be daunting.

Once all the necessities had been acquired - visa, accommodation, flights ect. and the final pint had been drunk with my research group, I hopped on a plane, crossing the pond to the USA.

After a connecting flight to the Midwest (which is really still in the east of the States), I landed in Columbus, Ohio.

Getting off a plane in a country where you speak the same language, you might say it is a little less exciting, but that is not to say there aren't language barriers (and people asking you if you have met the Queen). From the minute I stepped off the plane to the moment I got back on to return home, I had an amazing time.

I spent my first day travelling around the university, and you can call it travelling when they have a university bus service solely for navigating the campus. It was nothing like any university I have been to in my life. I was taken on a tour of their 100,000 seat stadium that was home to the American football team.

Ohio State University crest

Ohio State University crest

Ohio Students Union Building

Ohio Students Union Building

Brutus Buckeye the OSU mascot

Brutus Buckeye the OSU mascot

I had a wander around the power station that they use to burn the waste the university produces, and found the library that looks like an only slightly smaller version of the White House. Finishing my tour with the Chemistry Department where I was to work for the next three months. Though this was a department that had four, six story buildings in its arsenal.

The Ohio State University Library

The Ohio State University Library

At the end of my tour I met with my new Professor, Malcolm Chisholm. While touring his lab, we discussed what I was going to work on for the following months. The facilities at their disposal were fantastic, from having eight glove boxes to the personal NMR machine in the basement. We decided that I would be working on the polymerisation of lactide with an aluminium catalyst, which is closely related to my current PhD research under Professor Michael Hill.

The Koffolt Laboratories building

The Koffolt Laboratories building

Several glove boxes in a lab

Several glove boxes in a lab

The following day was my first day in the lab. I met Malcolm’s research group and with their help, I dived straight into work. I can honestly say from my first day in the lab to my last, I had no idea where the time went. It was incredible.

My group showed me the ropes of Columbus, which is an amazing city. They taught me the do's and don’ts and most importantly, how to cross the road without getting arrested. I have to thank them first because my experience of Ohio State University could have been very different without them.

The research that I worked on with PhD students Mathiu and Bala is now in the process of being submitted. Research collaborations between the Chisholm and Hill groups are continuing.

Finally, I have to thank Malcolm and Mike; without them and the Bath International Research Funding Scheme, my trip would not have possible. If this opportunity ever presents itself to you, I highly recommend taking it. It is not just for personal or professional development, but also for the collaborations which help foster the combined knowledge and drive the research forward.

 

Hans Schattle's partnership visit to University of Bath

📥  Award, Funding/Scholarship, Mobility, Research, Visit

Recently the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies has had the honour of hosting Hans Schattle, Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, with help from Global Mobility Scheme Funding.

Here is what he had to say about his visit:

"I had the great pleasure of visiting the University of Bath, for the month of June, based in the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies (PoLIS).

One of my main research topics is the concept of global citizenship, an idea situated at the intersection of political theory, comparative politics and international relations.  During my stay, I wrote a chapter for a forthcoming book on education for global citizenship in South Korea, and I also worked on content analysis for a long-term project examining how the idea of global citizenship has evolved in Korean public discourse.

The interdisciplinary setting of the PoLIS department offered me a most wonderful venue to work on these two projects; several conversations with colleagues in the faculty helped me think more richly about the theoretical questions and practical issues facing efforts to expand our horizons of political membership and responsibility beyond international borders.

The regular interaction with faculty colleagues at Bath engaged other academic interests, as well.  During my stay on campus, a North Korean soldier made global headlines by crossing, on his own, the heavily guarded land border into South Korea and asking for asylum. Professor David Galbreath (PoLIS) and I co-authored a news analysis on this incident published on The Conversation.

I am also joining in a study on time preference modeling, global governance and environmental policy now being coordinated by Professor Charlie Lees (PoLIS), my host for the visit, and Professor Michael Finus (Economics).

More recently, I had the pleasure of attending a research workshop in September coordinated by Professor Galbreath at the University of Sao Paulo that included several of the University of Bath's strategic partners, and I expect to collaborate on two projects emerging from this workshop on regional security governance and failed states.

I want to thank Professor Lees, Professor Galbreath and also Pro-Vice Chancellor (Internationalisation) Professor Colin Grant for all they did to make my visits to Bath and Sao Paulo possible, and to all the faculty members who met with me for the kind hospitality they extended.  Thanks to MJ in the Claverton building for many warm welcomes throughout the month as I showed up again and again with various colleagues.  Special thanks also to administrative staff Hannah Cook (PoLIS), Clare Drake (PoLIS) and Michelle Hicks (Humanities & Social Sciences) for their help with various logistics in arranging the visits.

It is wonderful to see closer social science research links developing between Yonsei and Bath, and I look forward to continued collaboration on all fronts."

Hans is the author of The Practices of Global Citizenship and Globalisation and Citizenship, both published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Research trip to Stellenbosch University

📥  Conference, Culture, Research, Visit

In September 2015 I had the opportunity to travel to Stellenbosch University, South Africa, as one of the University’s strategic partners. I was presenting my research at a Newton Fund/British Council funded Early-Career Researcher Links Conference co-sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry on hydrogen storage at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.

The conference was designed to enable early-career researchers in the UK to establish collaborations with other early-career researchers in South Africa and other newly industrialised and developing countries around the world.

Both Dr Valeska Ting from the Department of Chemical Engineering and I gave our talks to the conference delegates during the porous materials day of the conference. Other days focused on storage of hydrogen as chemical hydrides and hydrogen fuel cells.

Dr Robert Dawson presenting hydrogen storage in porous polymers

Dr Robert Dawson presenting hydrogen storage in porous polymers

Dr Valeska Ting presenting her work on characterisation of hydrogen storage in MIL-101

Dr Valeska Ting presenting her work on characterisation of hydrogen storage in MIL-101

The UK delegates were also lucky enough to be taken on a short sightseeing trip around the Gauteng area of South Africa including a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site the Cradle of Humankind where the fossils of a number of early hominoid species have been found, a lion park, the Voortrekker Monument and the statue of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

UK delegates at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria (Dr Robert Dawson and Dr Valeska Ting back left and front left)

UK delegates at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria (Dr Robert Dawson and Dr Valeska Ting back left and front left)

Collaboration with Stellenbosch University

As I was already in South Africa, it was a great opportunity to visit Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape Province to further develop the collaboration already started by Dr Ting from the Department of Chemical Engineering. Dr Ting travelled to Stellenbosch last year on a Global Mobility Scheme award from the International Relations Office.

I was able to continue the collaboration with Professor Len Barbour in Stellenbosch looking at Metal-Organic Frameworks (highly porous crystalline hybrid networks made from a combination of organic linkers and inorganic metal centres) as potential hydrogen storage materials. Professor Barbour and his research group have developed a number of unique characterisation techniques coupling together traditional characterisation methods in order to probe what happens to porous materials when they are under high gas pressures.

In particular we were interested in looking at what happens to our materials when they are under high pressures of hydrogen gas. In the Barbour laboratory they have developed a system to directly measure the heat given off when a material is dosed with different gases using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). This technique enables us measure the enthalpies of adsorption over a wide pressure range and at different temperatures.

Exploring the town of Stellenbosch

While the experiments were running, I also had a little bit of time to explore Stellenbosch, one of the first European settlements in South Africa as well as its surroundings in the wine region with a short wine tasting session.

A church in Stellenbosch

The church in the centre of Stellenbosch

Street scene in Stellenbosch

Street scene in Stellenbosch

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch

A South African wine farm

A South African wine farm

Having returned to Bath, our task is to analyse our data. The funding from the International Relations Office has proved invaluable to our research here at Bath and we hope to publish the results of our collaboration with Professor Barbour soon.

Dr Robert Dawson is a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Chemistry working on the use of porous materials for high pressure hydrogen storage tanks with Dr Andrew Burrows (Chemistry) and Dr Tim Mays (Chemical Engineering).

 

Springtime in Sydney

📥  Award, Funding/Scholarship, Research, Visit

My short visit to Sydney, funded by the Bath International Research Funding Schemes, to build collaborative links with colleagues in the Work and Organisation group at the historic university here, has coincided with the arrival of springtime weather after an unseasonal cold spell.

Spring flowers on campus

Spring flowers on campus

In national politics too it has been a time of sudden renewal, following the leadership coup within the Liberal Party which saw Malcolm Turnbull replace Tony Abbott not just as party leader but Prime Minister. The sixth federal Premier in eight years, Mr Turnbull is currently enjoying a surge of popularity and public optimism, although the honeymoon period will soon be tested by new signs of economic slowdown, which overshadow the upcoming policy summit scheduled to tackle hard fiscal choices and employment relations reform.

An important part of Mr Turnbull’s fresh start has been the focus on women in government, with the reshuffle increasing female representation by 150%. The first key policy initiative of the new government was the announcement of a $100 million programme to raise awareness and strengthen hospital support services in an attempt to reduce domestic violence. Violence against women and children has been the focus of public debates over the last couple of weeks due to a series of horrific and tragic cases, which appear to have doubled in number over the last year. Campaign groups, whilst welcoming the symbolic importance given to the issue by the government initiative and the public debate it has sparked, have also pointed out that sweeping cuts to front-line legal and support services over the last few years still need to be reversed, leaving women and children vulnerable.

University of Sydney Institute Building

University of Sydney Institute Building

At a ‘Sydney Ideas’ talk I attended on the 29 September (in a packed-out 550-capacity Great Hall on campus), former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick spoke of her term of office over the last eight years as a time of transition, with some gains made in promoting gender equality but a lot of ground still to cover. Australia and the UK share roughly similar rankings in gender equality indices (Australia was ranked 24th in the 2014 World Economic Forum report, with the UK close behind in 26th place): Australia does slightly better on the aggregate gender pay gap, whilst the UK has a slightly higher proportion of women in parliament, and both countries have similar numbers of female CEOs and senior managers. Glass ceilings may have been chipped but remain firmly in place.

Great Hall of the University of Sydney

Great Hall of the University of Sydney

There is currently interest here in the idea of ‘daddy quotas’ or ‘use-it-or-lose it’ blocks of parental leave dedicated to fathers, to promote more equal childcaring responsibilities. To my eyes, two related areas of innovation stand out and both are of interest to British policy debates. The first is the rapid progress made in establishing reporting procedures for companies on gender pay statistics and flexible and family-friendly work practices, which in my view holds important lessons for British policy-makers as they examine the results of the consultation process held this summer on pay reporting. Together with colleagues at the University of Sydney I hope to be able to investigate the impact of this reporting process, drawing also on the experience of other countries such as the Nordic states.

The second is the Male Champions of Change network which Commissioner Broderick helped to bring together in 2010 (and of which University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence is a member), to try to translate reporting into transformative action within organisations across the country. Andrew Penn, CEO of Telstra since May of this year, recently posted a blog arguing for a radical programme of incremental small steps towards gender equality, starting for example with flexible working practices, and (as Commissioner Broderick argued last night) listening to women’s experiences across the organisation.

I have been inspired by these calls to action and to reflection on how research can support and promote processes of social change. My visit has been all too brief but I will take away with me some strong collaborative ties, thoughts on how to take my research forward, and musings on how research and policy can work together for the common good.