Awards & Accolades

The School of Molecular Science has been recognised by the Australian Financial Review and the UK's AHE program for innovative technology and excellence in teaching and learning.

The School of Molecular Sciences at La Trobe University has been announced as a finalist in two award categories for this year’s Australian Financial Review (AFR) Higher Education Awards, with both submissions highlighting innovation in online teaching.

Continuing in the theme of exemplary teaching and learning outcomes, acknowledgement for lecturers from the School of Molecular Sciences continues with four lecturers receiving recognition in teaching excellence from the UK’s highly regarded Advanced Higher Education (AHE).

Australian Financial Review Awards

The Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards represent the top 14% of Australian Universities top education innovations. The La Trobe University School of Molecular Sciences is proud to have received two nominations for the 2020 awards.


Inspired to solve a pre COVID challenge of communicating more effectively with students, physicist Dr Russell Anderson developed a technology he termed the “Lightboard”. Housed within a new multi-function studio at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University, Lightboard gives the impression of writing in mid-air.

Dr Anderson explains “We can create videos with animations, equations and even physical demonstrations without turning our backs to the students. Lecturers can walk into the studio empty handed and exit with an engaging, ready-to-stream video.”

In a world filled with COVID-19 related restrictions this resource has proved invaluable to the lecturers and students of La Trobe University. It means teachers can create meaningful and engaging lectures delivered remotely to their students.

Lightboard from La Trobe University is a finalist in the AFR’s Education Technology category. Winners will be announced on 18 November.

For more information on Lightboard.

Far Labs

A cornerstone of VCE and undergraduate science education is laboratory experience. But how does one deliver a lab class when COVID-19 restrictions require remote learning?

Prior to arrival of COVID-19 Drs David Hoxley, Brian Abbey and Paul Pigram had been working on transforming the way secondary students engage with science, leading to the creation of the ‘Freely Accessible Remote Labs’ (FARLabs) platform. FARLabs allows science experiments to be conducted and controlled by students online using a web browser. For example, students are able to manipulate radioactive sources, measure and log environmental data, explore photoelectric data – and much more.

The virtual laboratory network brings state-of-the-aAwards and Accoladesrt facilities from three Australian universities – La Trobe University, James Cook University, and Curtin University – directly to students so that they can undertake physics experiments remotely and collect data in real time.

"FARLabs invites students and teachers to access the world of discovery and share in the pleasure of scientific observation and exploration," says Director, Dr Hoxley.

With the onset of physical distancing and related restrictions Dr Hoxley saw an opportunity to apply the same innovative technology to undergraduate science students who could no longer access the university lab, providing an invaluable resource in times of physical distancing.

FARLabs is a finalist in the AFR’s Learning Experience category. Winners will be announced on 18 November.

FARLabs was originally funded by the Australian Maths and Science Partnership Program (AMSPP).

For more information on FARLabs.

Advanced Higher Education (AHE) Fellowships

The School of Molecular Sciences are proud to announce that four of their teaching staff have been acknowledged internationally for their excellence in teaching.

A trio of academics from La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus – Jennifer Selkirk-Bell, Jason Buccheri and Terri Meehan-Andrews have been awarded a fellowship from the highly regarded Academy of Higher Education. Making this a particularly remarkable achievement is that the trio all belong to the Department of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science. Each has shown sustained excellence in the teaching and learning space, improving the student experience and collegial support.

And from La Trobe’s Bundoora campus, Mandeep Kaur from the Chemistry and Physics Department has achieved Fellow (FHEA) status in recognition of her excellence in teaching and learning support within Higher Education.