New Colombo Plan Boosts its Support of Collaborative Chemistry Consortium

Tuesday, 3 October 2017


The Australian Future Chemist Consortium, a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Murdoch University, Australian National University, Flinders University and RMIT University, was recently announced successful in attaining New Colombo Plan 2018 funding.

The Australian Government will provide financial support through its New Colombo Plan Mobility Program to allow undergraduate science students to travel abroad to China to participate in the University of Science and Technology in China’s (USTC) Future Chemist International Summer Camp (FCISC) over the next three years.

With the support of a New Colombo Plan Scholarship, the opportunity to take part in the camp, which brings together science enthusiasts from all over the world, is considered a “once in a lifetime opportunity” by two of this year’s returned scholars, Bachelor of Mathematics/Bachelor of Science student, Hayden Robertson, and Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) student, Levena Gascoigne (pictured far left and second from left with fellow scholars Anthony Katselas and Sophie-Wei Qi).

In addition to conducting laboratory research under the supervision of leading Professors of Chemistry such as Professor Yang Mu, taking part in camp activities such as seminars, cultural sessions and field trips were not only fun and informative, but also opened Hayden and Levena’s eyes to the range of study and career options available internationally.

“I gained greater confidence in my laboratory abilities and a clearer understanding of my future career aspirations. Attending academic reports on research conducted at USTC enabled me to discover intriguing disciplines within chemistry that I would not have considered previously,” Gascoigne explained.

As well as gaining invaluable international research experience, the camp also helped reaffirm both scholars’ study directions and their desires to seek careers within the Chemistry discipline.

“After attending the camp, I am most definitely a chemist, and would love to pursue a career in physical chemistry and mathematics, and maybe even pursue postgraduate studies and advance into research,” Robertson declared.

When asked what the most interesting aspects of the camp were, Hayden relayed that absorbing the Chinese culture, having the opportunity to work one on one with leading professors and conducting research in the specialised laboratories were highlights of his visit, whilst acquiring lab experience in a current research field of her choice and establishing international contacts for future research collaborations were the most memorable parts of Levena’s experience.

As part of the 2018 New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program, UON was also awarded $1,620,300 in new funding, which will support global student mobility projects across the Indo-Pacific region.