University Events


One of the unexpected early outcomes of COVID-19 was environmental reprieve.

farmer in drought

Stories have emerged from across the globe showcasing how our local environments have changed over the last eight months such as immediate reductions in pollution; in the air, on the ground and in the ocean. There is strong evidence that the global ‘shutdown’ due to COVID-19 delivered direct and significant environmental benefits.

Join revolutionary Professor Paul Dastoor as he explores how the current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of the global environment and the urgent role that scientific research and technology development must play in building a sustainable future. Professor Dastoor, along with his team of 30 researchers, is well-known internationally for the development of printed solar panel technology and has recently installed the first large scale public demonstration in Lane Cove, Sydney.

Professor Dastoor will be joined by a panel of experts and together they will discuss whether the recent global crisis has changed perceptions and perspectives about the significance of building a sustainable future. Has it accelerated climate action and have government policies across the globe responded to the opportunity to sustain the environmental reprieve? What can we do to drive a longer-term change agenda to achieve ecological sustainability? How do we support and educate the next generation to manage their eco-anxiety and channel their passions productively to make an impact on the health of our environment?

Please join Paul and his panel of thought leaders.

  • Date: Tuesday 22 September 2020
  • Time: 5:15-6:30pm
  • Location: Online
Watch the lecture here

Keynote Speaker

Professor Paul Dastoor

School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Paul Dastoor is a Professor in Physics in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the director of the Centre for Organic Electronics at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

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Panel Members

Debbie O'Byrne

Debbie O'Byrne

Circular Economy Lead, Lake Macquarie City Council

Debbie has been involved in the Circular Economy space for many years, having made it the focus of her MBA Master’s thesis. Over the past few years she has been working with a range of government organisations, Crown Research Institutes, Iwi and large corporates in New Zealand to integrate Circular Economy principles into the redesign of their business strategy. In 2019 she was part of a working group hosting the first international Pacific Circular Economy Summit with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and was subsequently invited to attend their thought leader’s conference in London. She is also part of a working group liaising with the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and Coreo on circular labs and start-up spaces. She has recently taken up a Circular Economy Lead role at Lake Macquarie Council where she is working on projects related to policy, material flows and post-coal economic development.

Dr Joss Kesby

Conjoint Lecturer, School of Engineering
CEO and Co-founder, Diffuse Energy

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Professor Roberta Ryan

Office PVC - Business and Law

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Daan Schiebaan

Environmental Manager
Infrastructure and Facilities Services

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Alexa Stuart

Alexa Stuart

Newcastle School Strike 4 Climate co-organiser
Newcastle Young Citizen of the Year, Lambton High School Captain 2021

Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

7 - Affordable and clean energy9 - Industry, innovation and infrastructure13 - Climate action

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.