30/01/2008 - 22:00

Curtin research plan

30/01/2008 - 22:00

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Curtin University of Technology is preparing to launch its own sustainability research group, after recruiting a number of staff from Murdoch University.

Curtin research plan

Curtin University of Technology is preparing to launch its own sustainability research group, after recruiting a number of staff from Murdoch University.

The group, called the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, has leased a property on Pakenham Street in Fremantle’s west end, and will begin operations next month.

The institute will be overseen by former director of Murdoch’s Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy, Peter Newman, who retired in November after 33 years with the university.

He will be joined by four other former colleagues from Murdoch, including Professor Dora Marinova, who will be head of the CUSP Institute.

Professor Newman told WA Business News Curtin was taking a major initiative with its sustainability program, while Murdoch had not been replacing staff in the field at the time of his retirement.

He said the new group would offer professional courses to businesses, in addition to its research activities.

“We are based in Fremantle because we are committed to working directly with the community, business and government and because we can nearly all walk to work,” he said.

About 25 PhD students will join the team, with an undergraduate course being planned for next year.

The institute has also drafted a partnership with engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, and is hoping to establish similar joint ventures with local governments.

Meanwhile, Murdoch is rebuilding its sustainability team, having recently advertised for a professor of sustainability and recruited six new academic staff in the sustainability field.

The university is undergoing a faculty restructure and will retain ISTP within its faculty of sustainability, environment and life sciences.

Dr Brad Pettitt, who is acting dean of the school of sustainability, said climate change would be a major research area, although the school’s existing focus on urban sustainability would continue.

Murdoch is also investing in research areas such as plant ecology and desalination, and is establishing a biofuels research centre.

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