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The Science Place An $80 million project at James Cook University will revolutionise science and health education for rural, regional and remote students.

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, announced the project in Townsville. JCU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sandra Harding, said The Science Place would provide a teaching and learning facility connected to schools and communities across northern Queensland. “This is a very exciting development for JCU and will have an enormous impact on the region’s communities and economy,” Professor Harding said. “It will transform the way in which rural, regional and remote students at all levels experience science education.” In addition to teaching and research facilities, The Science Place cluster will include sophisticated audiovisual and videoconferencing facilities for remote teaching, an outreach centre with interactive displays to engage with high schools and the community, and facilities for CSIRO Education NQ.

Photograph: Sue Wellwood

Green warrior honoured

Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan joined Professor Sandra Harding to announce the project.

The Science Place, to be constructed on JCU’s Townsville campus, includes multi-storey buildings and lecture theatres. Work is expected to begin this year and to create more than 500 jobs during construction. The Australian Government will inject more than $46 million from its Education Investment Fund (EIF) into the project. JCU will invest more than $32 million with smaller

“The Science Place is the latest in our building program,” Professor Harding said. “The bricks and mortar will be on our Townsville campus, but the teaching and research that it will support will be happening across the north and far north of the state.”

PhD student Nandini Velho is officially a Green Warrior, receiving a Royal Bank of Scotland Earth Heroes Award for her advocacy for wildlife and forest conservation.

The awards were presented at a ceremony in Hyderabad, coinciding with the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

“Nandini has been a force of nature in advocating for wildlife and forest conservation in her native India,” her supervisor Professor Bill Laurance said.

In an investigation of the impact of diseases such as malaria on the management of India’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, Ms Velho found that in one tiger reserve more than 70 per cent of staff had suffered from malaria over a fouryear period.

“She works with the government at the local and national levels, and has built up a fantastic rapport with communities and decision-makers in India.” “In addition to her PhD research she has done a great deal of writing for popular media on issues including conservation and hunting.

“ PhD student Nandini Velho.

contributions from collaborative partners.

“It’s an honour to receive the award, and it was also an excellent opportunity to meet influential people who were attending the Conference of Parties,” Ms Velho said.

With the help of Mumbai’s Sumitomo Chemicals, she distributed insecticide-treated mosquito nets to all forest watchers in anti-poaching camps in Pakke Reserve.

Nandini is having an impressive impact on nature conservation, and I’m delighted to see her win the very prestigious Earth Heros award.

www.jcu.edu.au/discover

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Discover, February 2013  

JCU Discover magasine

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