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Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Monash to become first 100 percent renewable energy powered university in Australia

By the year 2030, Monash University expects all of the energy used on its campuses will be clean and renewable.

Monash to become Australia's first 100 per cent renewable energy powered university

Solar panels at Clayton campus (Photo: Monash University)

The university is investing $135 million to achieve its aim with a project called Net Zero.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the Net Zero initiative was the most ambitious project of its kind undertaken by an Australian university.

“Leadership in sustainability, of the kind to which Monash aspires requires much more than being carbon neutral by offsetting emissions through carbon credits or similar mechanisms. The university strives to completely eliminate its dependence on fossil fuels,” Professor Gardner said.

“Monash is actively reducing its emissions and, by transforming our energy infrastructure and following a deep decarbonisation strategy, ensuring that all the energy we use on our campuses is clean.”

As well as committing to net zero carbon emissions from their Australian campuses, all of Monash’s operations will also be carbon neutral by 2030.

Residual emissions from operations—such as plane travel—will be offset by purchasing certified and socially conscious carbon offset programs.

“Clean affordable and reliable energy is something that we all want. This target is about putting our world-leading research and campuses to work to show that a 100-percent renewable future is not only possible, but good for business and the planet too,” said Monash Engineering and Sustainability Manager Dr Rob Brimblecombe.

Net Zero is not an overnight revolution. Monash has been greening itself for some time, beginning in 2005 when the university began measuring its performance in emissions, energy use, waste, water and transport. It then set an energy reduction target of 20 percent based on those early measurements.

In 2010 the first solar panels went in on each campus.

Now there are more than 4,000 panels in place, enough to power 100 average Australian households.

Building is now underway at the Clayton campus for an on-site microgrid that will help the university control when and how energy is used.

The Monash microgrid will be connected to the Victorian energy grid, which in the future can reduce the demand and strain on the network during peak times.

The state government, through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), contributed $100,000 seed funding for the Monash Microgrid.

The Net Zero Initiative is set to directly benefit research at the university, which is building the microgrid to model and assess the performance of energy network systems.

“The Monash Microgrid will provide a real-world example demonstrating how communities can keep their energy system affordable and resilient, in particular during peak periods and extreme weather events,” said Director of the Monash Energy Materials and Systems Institute, Dr Jacek Jasieniak.

“We’re using our campuses and research to develop scalable clean energy solutions that can be tested here and deployed around the world,” Dr Jasieniak said.

By the end of 2020, the university will complete its biggest solar roll out. By then, it will be generating 7 GWh of energy, the equivalent of powering 1,000 homes in Victoria for a year.

The project supports the concept of Monash as a living lab, with research and teaching linked to operational sustainability.

Monash University is also eliminating gas and moving to 100 percent electricity.

“By 2030 all of our energy consumption will be electric and from renewable sources,” Professor Gardner said.

The university is also reducing the overall energy consumption of their operations. This includes updating all of their campus lighting to LED, ensuring sustainability certification of all new buildings, and only investing in appliances and equipment that are energy efficient.

Monash University is asking

  • How do you make Australia’s economy carbon neutral?
  • How do we solve the water crisis?
  • What does a sustainable city look like?

While the researchers, educators, partners and funders may speak different “languages” (science, the arts, engineering and policy for example) they are working together to achieve a common purpose.

The Monash Sustainability Institute programs and initiatives investigate how to build water-sensitive cities and better manage water resources. They are catalysing action across Australia’s economy to reduce greenhouse emissions and valuing and integrating indigenous knowledge to help manage natural resources, putting environmental sustainability at the centre of decision making. Monash is understanding and influencing human behaviour, training and educating the next generation of leaders in sustainability, and much more.

Apply to a Monash Environmental Sciences Program!

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Would you like to study sustainability? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Heather Brown at heather@oztrekk.com for more information.

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Introducing the new UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Resources and energy, climate change, urbanisation, population growth, conservation and sustainability will be areas of focus for a new University of Queensland school.

Introducing the new UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Professor Aitchison is head of the new UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (Photo: UQ)

The UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences came into being on Jan. 1 and now combines UQ’s School of Earth Sciences and the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management.

Professor Jonathan Aitchison, who will head the new school, said it would be an interdisciplinary powerhouse of academic expertise, developing practical solutions to big issues.

“The school will give greater breadth and depth to the study of earth and environmental sciences, greatly benefitting students, strengthening research capacity, and will provide greater disciplinary coherence and opportunity,” said Professor Aitchison, the Head of UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“It makes sense to bring earth and environmental sciences together in the university.

“The new school is a recognition of the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of geological and geographical sciences, environmental management, coastal processes, urban planning and safety science.”

Professor Aitchison said UQ had a strong international reputation for excellence in earth and environmental sciences.

It ranks number 1 in Australia in life sciences in the Times Higher Education Ranking and number 12 globally, number 32 internationally in geography, and is in the world’s top 100 Earth and Marine Sciences institutions in the 2016 QS rankings by subject.

“The combined staff of the new school are recognised as experts in their fields,” Professor Aitchison said.

“They conduct pure and applied research with strong links to our industry, government and university partners who have provided excellent support over many years.

“In addition, our people have a strong reputation for quality teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students in all discipline areas across the new school.”

Professor Aitchison said integrated teams of earth scientists, physical and social scientists, environmental management specialists, health and safety experts, and urban planners would work together to generate new knowledge and opportunities for further discovery.

Current collaborative research projects and consulting pieces would continue as usual and new projects would begin as funding and support becomes available.

“By providing a new academic structure for these related disciplines we will provide opportunities to improve end-to-end delivery of services and research outcomes,” he said.

“This benefits industries, government, university partners, and communities, and continues availability of state-of-the-art facilities for industry and research project work.”

Professor Aitchison is a geologist and an expert in plate tectonics, palaeontology and geo-microbiology.

University of Queensland Environmental Science Degrees

Master of Agribusiness
Master of Agricultural Science
Master of Conservation Biology
Master of Conservation Science
Master of Environmental Management
Master of Geographic Information Science
Master of Integrated Water Management
Master of Mineral Resources
Master of Responsible Resource Development (Environment)
Master of Rural Development
Master of Sustainable Energy

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Find out more about your study options at the new UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

Griffith environmental sciences student gets real world experience

A fairy tale and university study may seem an unusual pairing but for Griffith University student Tahlia Rossi a Heron Island field trip was just that.

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Tahlia Rossi at Heron Island (Photo: Griffith University)

There were no glass slippers to be found, but flippers were the footwear of choice for students diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Tahlia is studying a double degree, Urban & Environmental Planning and Science with a double major in Marine Biology and Climate Change Adaptation, so real world experience that puts the skills she’s learning into action was the perfect environment for her.

The marine field course sees students embark on a week-long science experience at Heron Island on the reef where they undertake research projects as part of their degree.

Having been “deeply inspired by nature and learning of its intricate functions and beauty,” Tahlia has always been excited by the  concept of contributing knowledge through research.

She’s hoping to bring a science background to a career in urban planning to give her more credibility and the knowledge and ability to collaborate with people in other disciplines.

Her degrees have given her amazing opportunities as well as allowing her to work as a Research Assistant at Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation. Tahlia will also represent Griffith at the 2016 Advance Global Australian Summit at the Sydney Opera House as a mentee.

“It has been inspiring to be given so many opportunities like going on exchange to the University of Copenhagen for one year, attending a sustainability summit in Singapore, going on this research trip to Heron Island, receiving training in mentoring, resume writing, communication skills and presentation skills,” she says.

“I have been challenged by the length of my degree and the difficulty of some of the science subjects, but on the other hand, to overcome these challenges gives me confidence and strength.”

Advance is the preeminent global community of high achieving Australians and alumni abroad, with more than 40,000 connections in 90 countries. Advance forges connections with the one million Australian diaspora, drawing on their experience and networks to open doors and opportunities for Australia, Australian companies and Australians around the globe.
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Would you like to study environmental science at Griffith University? Contact OzTREKK Admission Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information.

Monday, April 25th, 2016

UQ sparks electric vehicle revolution

The University of Queensland is embracing the future of sustainable transport, installing four solar-powered electric vehicle chargers at its St Lucia and Gatton campuses.

UQ sparks electric vehicle revolution

Car at the Veefil DC fast charger (Photo credit: UQ)

The chargers are the first solar-powered fast-charging infrastructure to be built in Queensland, and are available for free use by the public as well as staff and students.

UQ Chief Operating Officer Mr Greg Pringle said UQ was helping lead the charge for widespread use of electric vehicles.

“UQ is committed to creating a more sustainable future, and we see the installation of this infrastructure as a real milestone for the development of sustainable transport in Queensland,” he said.

“We hope the chargers will motivate staff, students and the wider public to consider the many benefits of electric vehicle travel.

“They’re powered by UQ’s solar arrays, meaning that when the sun is shining, charging is emissions-free.”

Each campus has one Veefil DC fast charger, which can charge fully electric vehicles or compatible plug-in hybrid vehicles, and one Tesla Destination Charger designed for use with Tesla vehicles.

Mr Pringle said Veefil chargers were designed and built in Brisbane by Tritium, a leading clean tech company founded by UQ graduates Dr Paul Sernia, Dr David Finn and Mr James Kennedy, who began working together on the UQ solar racing team in 1998.

“UQ is delighted to host the chargers, playing our part in the positive change these graduates are creating,” he said.

Tritium CEO Dr Finn said he was excited to be working with UQ to help kick-start the electric vehicle revolution in Queensland.

“The Veefil charger at Gatton is a first for Queensland as it allows easy inter-city electric vehicle travel between Brisbane and Toowoomba,” he said.

“We’ve installed hundreds of our chargers in North America and in other parts of the world, but it is great to see more going in where it all began.”

The Veefil chargers can provide a range of up to 70 kilometres for every 15 minutes of charging – about 10-times faster than traditional charging options.

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Would you like information about sustainability and other environmental sciences programs available at UQ? Contact OzTREKK Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

UQ solar milestone

The University of Queensland has slashed grid electricity use at its Gatton campus by 40 per cent since bringing Australia’s largest solar research facility on line a year ago.

UQ’s Manager of Energy and Sustainability, Andrew Wilson, said the 3.275 megawatt facility generated more than 5.8 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy since installation in March last year.

Sydney Dental School

Solar research facility at UQ’s Gatton campus (Photo: UQ)

“This is equivalent to the annual electricity usage of more than 1,000 average Queensland households, and the displacement of more than 5,300 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Wilson said.

“We’ve seen the net electricity consumption from the grid of the Gatton campus reduce by almost 40 per cent as a result.

“This is achieved by exporting energy back to the grid when the campus’ consumption is lower than the energy generated by the array, typically during the middle of the day,” Mr Wilson said.

Director of Clean Energy at UQ’s Global Change Institute (GCI), Professor Paul Meredith, said the environment was not the only beneficiary as the solar farm had saved UQ more than half a million dollars in electricity costs so far.

“These savings are being invested back into research programs at the university, helping to solve the complex challenges of transforming the way we produce energy,” Professor Meredith said.

“The full-scale research we’re able to conduct with the Gatton facility is helping us to better understand how clean energy options like photovoltaics fit into our state and national electricity mix, from both an engineering and economic perspective.”

Mr Wilson said the first year of operation for the plant hadn’t been without its challenges.

“The cost of maintaining the grass at the 10-hectare site was higher than we anticipated.

“We will soon arrange for sheep to graze between the rows and keep the grass manageable,” Mr Wilson said.

In addition to reducing ongoing operational costs this initiative will increase the available land on campus for agricultural research.

Real-time and historical information on the Gatton Solar Research Facility and all of UQ’s solar arrays can be viewed on the UQ Solar website. (www.uq.edu.au/solarenergy)

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Learn more about sustainability and other environmental science programs available at the University of Queensland. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Griffith launches Green Labs program

Griffith Sciences and Griffith Health laboratories are going green.

Griffith University Green Labs program

Griffith Sciences Technical Manager Stephen Boyd, Eskitis Institute Director Professor Jennifer Martin and Sustainability Project Officer Kay Ollett at the launch of the Green Labs program at Nathan campus (Photo credit: Griffith University)

The Green Labs program aims to provide more sustainable practices in laboratory procedures and management.

“In laboratories sustainability offers real challenges and opportunities in minimizing energy, water consumption and chemical/biological waster,’’ says Stephen Boyd, Griffith Sciences Technical Manager.

“Compared to other work areas such as office space, laboratories are high-energy consumers and/or producers of these factors.

“Making even small changes in energy consumption or waste production will provide a significant benefit in reducing the carbon footprint and environmental load from laboratory operations.”

Green Labs objectives:

  • Reduce energy and water consumption
  • Improve waste disposal and recycling practices
  • Raise environmental impact and protection awareness in laboratories
  • Improve purchasing decisions in laboratories
Griffith University Green Labs program

Second-year Bachelor of Science student Clinton Carty-Lewis uses a lower fume cupboard hood sash height to conserve energy (Photo credit: Griffith University)

“Simple practices include switching off electrical appliances when not in use, reduction of fume cupboard hood sash heights which reduces waste of conditioned air, and appropriate sharing of chemicals to minimise duplication and accumulation in stock.

“Universities worldwide are implementing sustainability initiatives including similar Green Lab programs. Griffith University will continue to develop the program to be as comprehensive as possible.”

Griffith School of Environment

Since its inception, Griffith has had an ongoing commitment to the environment and sustainability. As a forerunner in the field, in 1975 Griffith launched Australia’s first environmental science degree and since then, has continued to lead in areas of environmental science, education, research and practices.

In 2010 Griffith reinforced its sustainability commitment when it signed up to the UN Global Compact—the world’s largest voluntary corporate and sustainability initiative. The Compact has 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

‘To be a sustainable university’ is one of five key goals in Griffith University’s Strategic Plan 2013–2017.

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Would you like to study environmental science at Griffith University? Contact OzTREKK Admission Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com for more information.

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Innovation leader is new head of UQ Dow Centre

The University of Queensland has appointed Professor Chris Greig as chair of its multi-million-dollar Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation.

The centre works globally to drive technological advancement, frontier research and world-class education programs to find solutions to the core sustainability issues of the 21st Century.

UQ Engineering School

Chris Greig (Photo: University of Queensland)

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said Professor Greig’s leadership would play a vital role in the university’s response to global sustainability challenges.

“His impressive record of contributions to the university and to the energy sector mean he is well-equipped to ensure the Dow Centre fosters innovations that create real change around the globe,” Professor Høj said.

“His extensive experience tackling challenges in sustainability will help ensure the Dow Centre contributes to delivering a sustainable future for the planet.”

Professor Greig, a UQ alumnus who also leads the UQ Energy Initiative, said the appointment would allow him to build even stronger international collaborative partnerships across academia and industry, to build on UQ’s work to provide knowledge leadership for a better world.

“I hope to increase the impact of our research by aligning the focus to real world challenges,” he said.

The Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation is a collaboration between UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the UQ Global Change Institute and the UQ School of Chemical Engineering.

Professor Greig founded and led a successful process innovation company for 15 years before working in senior executive roles in the construction and resources sector.

Before joining UQ he was Project Director and CEO of ZeroGen, which conducted one of the world’s most comprehensive studies on the potential of a large scale, low-emissions coal-fired power project incorporating carbon capture and storage.

“I see partnerships between universities and global industrial companies like Dow Chemical as critical if we are to play a serious role in enabling a more sustainable future in which economic growth can occur without compromising the well-being of future generations,” Professor Greig said.

Professor Høj said inaugural Dow Centre Director Professor Eric McFarland had left a long-lasting and positive legacy for the centre.

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Find out more about studying sustainability and engineering at UQ. Contact OzTREKK Australian Engineering Schools Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston for more information at shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Monday, January 11th, 2016

UQ researchers find major gaps in marine protection

A new study led by University of Queensland researchers has found that more than 17,000 marine species worldwide remain largely unprotected.

The study, which is the first comprehensive assessment of protected areas coverage on marine life, appears in the international journal Scientific Reports.

UQ environmental sciences

Not all marine species are covered by marine protection areas (MPAs) (Photo credit: UQ)

“The process of establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) that could safeguard marine diversity is not trivial as they impact livelihoods,” said the study’s lead author Dr Carissa Klein of the UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management (GPEM), and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED).

“It is essential that new MPAs protect biodiversity while minimising negative social and economic impacts,” she said.

“The results of this study offer strategic guidance on where MPAs could be placed to better protect marine biodiversity.”

The authors looked at the ranges of some 17,348 species of marine life, including whales, sharks, rays and fish, and found that 97.4 per cent of species have less than 10 per cent of their range represented in marine protected areas.

Nations with the largest number of “gap species” or species whose range lie entirely outside of protected areas include the US, Canada, and Brazil.

Despite these results, the authors say the study underscores opportunities to achieve goals set by the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect 10 per cent of marine biodiversity by 2020.

The authors say that it is imperative that new MPAs are systematically identified and take into account what has already been protected in other places, in addition to socioeconomic costs of implementation, feasibility of success and other aspects driving biodiversity.

Co-author Dr James Watson of UQ’s School of GPEM and the Wildlife Conservation Society said timing was important.

“As most marine biodiversity remains extremely poorly represented, the task of implementing an effective network of MPAs is urgent,” he said. “Achieving this goal is imperative not just for nature but for humanity, as millions of people depend on marine biodiversity for important and valuable services.”

Australia’s exclusive economic zone has 1,846 species that are very poorly represented in MPAs.

“There is an opportunity for Australia to make a substantial contribution to improving the status of marine biodiversity protection globally by systematically placing new MPAs,” Dr Klein said.

However, she warns that MPAs are not a panacea for conserving marine biodiversity.

For some species, the best conservation outcome may be achieved with other strategies, including fisheries regulations and land-use management, which is underway in the Great Barrier Reef.

The study’s authors include scientists from the University of Queensland, CEED, University of California Santa Barbara, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Imperial College London and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

UQ School of Geography, Planning & Environmental Management
Unique within Australian higher education, the multidisciplinary structure of the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management (GPEM) at the University of Queensland combines teaching and research coupling natural and built environments. With an integrated, interdisciplinary approach, GPEM helps educate tomorrow’s leaders facing important environmental issues such as climate change, urbanisation and sustainable development. The school’s mission is to understand the processes, structures, and interfaces of natural and human systems and to use this knowledge to create and inform the next generation of knowledge leaders and to help shape policy, planning and management to enhance sustainability.

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Learn more about environmental science programs available at the University of Queensland! Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at 1-866-698-7355 or shannon@oztrekk.com for more information.

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

UQ’s first sustainable building wins national architecture award

The University of Queensland’s landmark six-star sustainability building has been recognised at the nation’s leading architecture awards.

The Global Change Institute won the David Oppenheim Award for Sustainable Architecture and the National Award for Interior Architecture at the Australian Institute of Architects’ Annual Awards.

Environmental sciences at UQ

Professor Peter Høj, Dr Penelope Wensley, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and Mr Graeme Wood (Photo credit: UQ)

GCI Director Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said the zero-carbon, sustainable building reflected the university’s commitment to challenge and lead in the community.

“This is a great example of UQ creating change by pushing the barriers in design and construction,” he said.

“This building is more than a place to work—it’s a place that demonstrates the future and inspires others to develop buildings that are not only practical, but good for the environment as well.

“The institute regularly hosts tours for political leaders, building professionals and academics wanting to know more about sustainability in practice.”

The Australian Institute of Architects judging panel noted the use of sustainability in the GCI’s design, and called the building’s sky-lit atrium “a triumph, transforming a former service zone into a showpiece for the university.”

The building was made possible through the support of UQ alumnus and philanthropist Mr Graeme Wood.

“We wanted a building that would turn heads as well as inspire both workers and visitors,” Mr Wood said. “Sustainability in building design and function is no longer an option, a ‘nice to have’. Congratulations to all those on the team who demonstrated such powerful applied imagination.”

About the Global Change Institute

The Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia, is an independent source of game-changing research, ideas and advice for addressing the challenges of global change. The Global Change Institute advances discovery, creates solutions and advocates responses that meet the challenges presented by climate change, technological innovation and population change.

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Learn more about sustainability and other environmental science programs available at the University of Queensland. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information: rachel@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Making Melbourne resilient

The University of Melbourne and City of Melbourne are joining together to strengthen Melbourne’s resilience in the face of sustainability challenges including global warming.

University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne hopes to promote sustainability

In an announcement made Oct. 20, The City of Melbourne Chair in Resilient Cities is being established to provide a key point of leadership to align the resilience activities of both the City and the university.

Located within the Melbourne Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning and working closely with the Melbourne Sustainable Society’s Institute, (MSSI) the Chair will work to enhance and support the many initiatives supporting resilience in the City, the university, their partners and communities.

The Chair will lead this alignment of resilience across the full scope of the university’s faculties and interests.

Professor Brendan Gleeson, Director of MSSI said the Chair will look at urban resilience and identify and seek new partnerships including enhancing student opportunities to build world-class teaching and research programs.

“MSSI is strongly committed to building a collaborative and supportive network to achieve our high expectations.  The new role will build capacity to develop and support open communication based upon trust and respect,” Professor Gleeson said.

Such a key role will aim to influence and stimulate public debate and policy through engaging with both local and international communities.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said the Chair will become another key element in promoting sustainability across the university and beyond.

“The aspiration for a clean and green environment, and resilient society, informs the values of the university, and is in turn reflected in our work.”

“This Chair builds on this aspiration. We’re excited about the opportunities this collaboration with the City of Melbourne will bring in promoting our shared goals for sustainability, and further enhancing Melbourne’s role as a national leader in knowledge based urban resilience.”

“As a knowledge city, the City of Melbourne is delighted to partner with the University of Melbourne in a joint chair, a chair of resilience and of cities in general,” said Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle.

“This is a first for the City of Melbourne and the University of Melbourne but one that we feel will add great firepower to the study of not just what makes us such a liveable city but also such a resilient city and, more importantly, how that can be sustained in the future.”

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Are you interested in studying environmental sciences at Melbourne? Contact OzTREKK Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.