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Fostering International research talent

Date posted: Thursday 26 May 2011

Fostering International research talent

The Victorian Government has recognised the outstanding calibre of seven international students, including two from Swinburne, who are conducting specialised doctorate-level research in Victorian universities with the awarding of Victorian International Research Scholarships.

Under the Coalition’s Victoria – Leader in Learning initiative, the Victorian Government will provide $20,000 per year for three years for each of these scholarships which, together with support provided by the host Victorian universities are valued at $90,000 per student.

After securing a Victorian International Research Scholarship, Swinburne PHD student, Sepideh Minagar relocated from Iran to pursue her long-term ambition.

The next four years of Ms Minagar's life will be devoted to finding a better way to coat titanium implants with nanostructures of titania, or calcium, phosphate – the key minerals found in bone. If implants can be successfully coated with the right quantity of material, they will naturally knit together with injured bones.

 “I think that science and technology can always change our lives for the better.  I think it’s very important to manufacture the things that scientists find and use it to help other people. That is my dream, to work with someone to successfully fabricate implants at the end of my PhD.” She said.

Gonzalo Diaz is also undertaking PhD studies at Swinburne, into the first era of our Universe, 13 billion years ago, when the first star formed, setting off the biggest change in the history of the Universe: moving from darkness to light.

Mr Diaz measures the properties and position of galaxies that are so distant in time that the entire galaxy appears as a dot on the world’s most powerful telescopes; then charts and analyses the characteristics of that dot in a bid to unlock some of the oldest secrets of space.

“I was born this way. All my life I think I was an astronomer and a scientist. I was never in love with the sky, though; I never had a telescope in my room, I had books. I have always been fascinated by the science,” Mr Diaz said.

Diaz completed his undergraduate studies in his native Argentina and then undertook a global search for a supervisor who could guide his doctoral research into the Epoch of Reionisation, the very first billion years of the Universe after the Big Bang.

“I had never heard of Swinburne before but when I came here I discovered that it is huge and growing (in astronomical and astrophysics research).”

Innovation, Services and Small Business Minister Ms Asher, presented recent recipients with an award at a ceremony at Parliament House last night.



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