La Trobe Graduate Research School launch

One of Australia's leading biologists and science communicators, Professor Timothy Entwisle, has formally launched La Trobe University's Graduate Research School (GRS).

Professor Entwisle is Director and Chief Executive of Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens. He is also a graduate of La Trobe and winner of a 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award.

The new School was set up as a focal point to foster a greater sense of research community among graduate researchers, their supervisors and early career researchers.

The School is one of a number of initiatives led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Keith Nugent that responds to the research objectives outlined in the University's Future Ready strategy.

Community benefits

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the GRS supports a wide range of programs and processes for graduate researchers, including PhD students, aims to facilitate more partnerships with industry and gain wider philanthropic support for research.

He said La Trobe had a long and proud tradition as a PhD training institution. The new school was taking the best of this tradition and making it even better.

Professor Dewar said 1,500 PhD students were enrolled at the University. 'We completed 220 PhD students in 2013, easily the highest number of all the Innovative Research Universities.

'A lot of their work will make a real difference to society and we want the community to know about the importance and relevance of this research.'

Opening new doors

Professor Entwisle said after his initial degree at the University of Melbourne, he came to La Trobe because in his field of botany and biological science, La Trobe provided access to the right supervisor, new facilities, and had fantastic library holdings.

He stressed that curiosity and advanced study can open many doors, enabling people to try new things. 'It means that in life you can make your own decisions as far as possible, instead of having others make them for you,' he added.

Professor Entwisle took up his post as head of Melbourne's Botanic Gardens in 2013, after two years at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK, and eight years as Executive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in Sydney.

An expert in freshwater algae – a genus, family and order of algae were named after him last year, – Professor Entwistle has a broad interest in all plants and related life forms, having edited and written for the four-volume Flora of Victoria.

More than  150 people  attended the launch, which was hosted by the Dean of Graduate Research, Associate Professor Dr Chris Pakes,  and compered by microbiology PhD researcher Lara Bereza-Malcolm, last year's winner of La Trobe's Three Minute Thesis(3MT) People's Choice Award.

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