Celebrating UNSW-GWI's research, people and partnerships.
UNSW Sydney Vice-Chancellor and President Ian Jacobs, right, stands with Kenyan High Commissioner H.E. Mr Isaiya Kabira, and University of Eldoret Vice-Chancellor Professor Teresa Akenga, during an event at UNSW’s Kensington campus. Photo: Jacquie Manning
Welcome to our March Newsletter 
Welcome to the March edition of the GWI newsletter. March afforded a number of occasions to celebrate the achievements of UNSW’s water community. A new partnership was launched between UNSW and the University of Eldoret that will deliver training on Transnational Water Management in east Africa through the Australia Award program; Dr Matt Blacka was awarded a prestigious 2019 Endeavour Executive Leadership Award in recognition of his service and research in the Pacific; and Professor Richard Kingsford was awarded an ARC linkage project to develop standards for assessing the health of the worlds critical wetlands. During the month, GWI members gathered to mark World Water Day and to raise money for OzHarvest. We welcomed Dr Paul Okelo Odwori from the University of Eldoret, Kenya, who spoke on aquaculture in rural Kenya and Associate Professor Christopher Higgins who delivered an international perspective on assessment and fate of PFASs in soils which aligns with a recent multi-disciplinary project led by Denis O’Carroll, Mike Manefield, Matthew Lee and Stuart Khan.
The launch of the partnership with the University of Eldoret was special for a range of reasons. It marked a successful collaboration between GWI and UNSW’s Institute for Global Development and it provided an occasion for Professor Teresa Akenga, UNSW alumni and now Vice-Chancellor of the University of Eldoret, to return to UNSW. Professor Akenga has set the bar high for former students, which no doubt will be matched in the future based on the success of Yulia Shutova and Florence Choo, former PhD students of Rita Henderson who were honored at the recent AWA Heads of Water dinner, and current PhD student Nor Hawani Salakin who is working with Suhelen Egan.
Our March newsletter concludes with a reminder to register for the Marine Biotechnology Society Conference. I hope that you enjoy the newsletter and thanks again for your continued interest and support for GWI.
Prof Greg Leslie
Director, UNSW-GWI
Partnership helps prepare Kenya for transnational sustainable water use
UNSW Sydney has formally partnered with the University Eldoret in Kenya to deliver a new short course for leaders in the African water sector working on the challenges of transnational water resource management. The short course, which is expected to commence in September 2019, will enable African professionals to share knowledge, evaluate problems and find solutions to the water challenges they face. Multicounty management of water resources is a key focus of the course.
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Principal Engineer to provide leadership in the Pacific Islands
Congratulations to UNSW Water Research Laboratory Principal Engineer Matt Blacka, who has just been awarded a prestigious 2019 Endeavour Executive Leadership Award. The award will enable Matt to undertake a range of leadership activities in the Pacific Islands this year, focused on researching and implementing professional development opportunities for practitioners in coastal engineering and related climate change resilience.
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Prof Kingsford to lead team in developing global standard for wetlands
A UNSW Sydney project to tackle one of the world’s most difficult environmental problems has received a $779,000 grant in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) funding. Prof Richard Kingsford, Director of the Centre for Ecosystem Science at UNSW and chief investigator on the project, will lead a team of researchers from Australia, Brazil, France, South Africa and the United States to develop a new global standard for assessing and reporting on the status of the world’s most important wetlands.
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Water Research Centre celebrates World Water Day
 Staff and students from UNSW's Water Research Centre (WRC) gathered on Friday 22nd May to celebrate and reflect on "World Water Day". The theme for 2019 was "no one left behind", encouraging people to examine and address the ways marginalised groups are often overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination, as they try to access and manage the safe water they need. WRC staff and students took part in an open discussion about water issues in their home countries and knowledge quiz while helping to raise funds for OzHarvest.
Contributions of Government fish farms in Kenya
Fish farming in Kenya has grown significantly in popularity and has produced multiple social and economic benefits, which can be traced back to the building of 15 Government-owned fish farms beginning in 1948. Dr Paul Okelo Odwori from Kenya’s University of Eldoret is familiar with these fish farms and has witnessed first-hand the multiple ways they have benefited many communities. He revealed the significant value of these fish farms at the UNSW-GWI's latest seminar on 18 March.
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Cleaning up the past: UNSW joins campaign against PFAS chemicals
UNSW researchers are collaborating with several industry partners to develop sustainable remediation technologies to clean up emerging contaminants in water. Professors Mike Manefield and Denis O’Carroll are leading a large research team from UNSW’s Water Research Centre to generate as much information as possible about the problem, and determine how to best use that information to create a product or process for deployment in the field.
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Assessment and fate of PFASs in soils
Associate Professor Christopher Higgins, an environmental chemist from Colorado School of Mines, gave a thought provoking seminar entitled ‘Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in Soils - Assessment and Fate’ at UNSW Sydney on 5 March. A/Prof Higgins is a world-leading expert on grappling with the challenges posed by the widespread PFAS contamination of soils and groundwater.
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In the spotlight
UNSW shines at NSW AWA Water Awards
The AWA NSW Water Awards were held earlier this month, with two of Dr Rita Henderson's PhD students - Florence Choo and Yulia Shutova - both taking home awards. Florence won the Student Water Prize for her research on Real-time Monitoring of Cyanobacteria, while Yulia, UNSW alumna, was awarded the NSW Young Professional of the Year award for her many achievements in the field of water and wastewater infrastructure planning and design. Both now qualify for the National Water Awards, to be announced in May.
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   In Profile
Introducing Nor Hawani Salikin, PhD Student
Diseases resulting from parasitic helminth (nematode – or ‘small worm’) infections have become a serious issue globally. Worryingly, parasitic nematodes are becoming more resistant against current drugs due to high instances of prolonged and underdosed treatments. UNSW PhD student Nor Hawani Salikin is helping to advance the search for a new treatment, investigating how a specific marine epiphytic bacterium may hold the answer.
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Marine Biotechnology Society Conference - Earlybird registration closes this week!
Earlybird registration for the 3rd Australia New Zealand Marine Biotechnology Society Conference closes on Friday 29 March. The conference, to be held at UNSW Sydney on 20-22 May, will include keynote addresses from Dr Pia Winberg and Dr Wayne O'Connor, and present the latest science and industry updates relating to marine biotechnology.
Register now
P: +61 (2) 9385 5097
E: gwi@unsw.edu.au
UNSW Global Water Institute
Kensington Campus, NSW, 2052
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