Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Common Cold: Cured by Australians?

We’re here in Melbourne, Australia. Ground zero for what might be the biggest medical breakthrough since the HPV vaccine: The cure for the Common Cold?! The Common Cold is a virus that always seems to pop up right before a vacation. It may not be a scourge but it produces over 40% of lost worktime in the USA. That’s 126 million workdays gone!

Biota, an Australian pharmaceutical company better known for Relenza, has found a breakthrough in treating the rhinovirus (Common Cold). With their drug in stage two of clinical studies, they found that the severity of cold symptoms dramatically decreased. An oral drug is estimated to be five years down the line.

In a perfect world, this means no more sniffling and aching. Fewer sick days. Since this treats asthma infections, that means you don’t have to be the sickly kid that can’t play kickball anymore. Between 75 and 100 million doctor visits every year could be saved annually. Entire nations could balance their healthcare budgets!

No longer cute and cuddly if Aussie researchers have their way

In an alternative world, this may not work. One thoughtful commenter argues that this drug may “turn us all into zombies.” Zombies are scary enough as it is. Zombie kangaroos? Even scarier.

You better start shorting those stocks in tissues and start investing in this Australian pharmaceutical firm. Better yet, get the chance to work for them by studying medicine there!

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Be Youthful in the City of Brisbane

Right in the hustle and bustle of the east coast is Queensland’s capital and Australia’s third largest city, Brisbane. Pronounced “Briz-ben”, Australia’s new world city has been the nation’s fastest growing since the 80’s. Over two million people call Brisbane home. The bend of the Brisbane River creates miles of prime (and affordable) coastline. This winding river makes the skyline seem straight out of Sim City.

Just an average afternoon in Brisbane

Brisbane is said to consist of youthful, forward-thinkers. The world famous nightlife here has attracted Australians looking for a fun weekend out. The appropriately named Fortitude Valley features some of the nation’s best DJs and entertainers for what is sure to be a great night out. Day trips to Australia’s budding tourist town of Gold Coast can be reached for about $17.

The population of the Central Business District has doubled over the last five years. With such a growing influence in the world, this city has become the largest economy between Sydney and Singapore. Classified as a World Beta City, Brisbane ranks with Perth in global influence.

University of Queensland's campus

Whoever does these world rankings seems to love Australia. Brisbane is the 16th Most Livable City in the World as well as the 22nd best student city in the world. The QS Top 50 University of Queensland campus is based in Brisbane. Griffith University has above world standards Physical and Earth Science programs here according to the ERA 2010 Report. Also the Queensland University of Technology has Australia’s highest ranked Informational/Computer Science and Language/Communications programs. The Australian Catholic University, Central Queensland University, James Cook University, University of Southern Queensland and the University of the Sunshine Coast all have local campuses as well.

If you don’t decide to study in Brisbane, it is really worth a weekend trip. This is said to be the most vibrant and laid back Australian city. Since that seems to be the reason WHY so many of you want to study Down Under then shouldn’t you get the full effect?

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The 2012 Endeavour Award Scholarships are Here!

From medical nanotechnology to invertebrate taxonomy, researchers are choosing increasingly specialized fields in Australia. But research half way across the world can be expensive. This is why the Australian government is bringing the Endeavour Award to you. Many of the recipients will be working on some REALLY interesting stuff.

Adam Scott – He was awarded the 2012 Endeavour Executive Award for his work in urban design and consultancy. Adam will work with city planners in the state of Victoria to market a central neighborhood centre.

Dr. Suzanne M. D’Addio – She was awarded the 2012 Endeavour Fellowship Award for her work in nanoscale biosensors. Her research at the University of Queensland will enable anti-Tuberculosis drugs to better reach the lungs with nanoparticles and aerosol carriers. These nanomachines will become more and more influential across all walks of health programs.

Dr. Amanda Windsor – She was awarded the 2012 Endeavour Research Fellowship for her work in invertebrate taxonomy. She will work with classifying the crab superfamily Majoidea. These invertebrates are being studied at every depth and habitat around Australia. Her research will take place at the Australian Museum in Sydney.

Do you have a research background? Want to use this research in real life applications? The Endeavour Award is a generous, merit scholarship offered to many just like you. Applications begin March 31st. You should be applying!

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Driving Across the Outback… Without Gas?!


If you had to describe Australia in one word what would it be? Sunny. Australia is the sunniest continent on the planet. Go figure, Australia is also the sunniest country in the continent of Australia. The sun may be the culprit of skin cancer but it is also the likely solution to sustainable energy. Solar power has advanced far beyond those solar calculators you used in Calculus. Vehicles running entirely off of the sun’s energy are winding their way across continents. Who is at the forefront of this solar vehicle revolution? Why Australian universities, of course!

Well not so famously depicted

The World Solar Challenge occurs is held every two years. The biennial event runs from Darwin to Adelaide, trekking through the harsh Red Centre. The world’s first (and still largest) solar race attracts top engineers and environmental advocates from around the world. The grueling race was famously depicted in the 90’s blockbuster hit Race the Sun.


We wouldn’t expect anything less from our host country. The world’s fastest solar powered vehicle is the University of New South Wales Sunswift IV. The “IVy” is both student designed and driven. Reaching a top end speed of 88 km/h (55 mph), the “IVy” smashed the record. The same team previously won the Silicon class in the 2009 World Solar Challenge.

Just an afternoon stroll

Finishing only seven minutes slower than the “IVy” in 2011 was Australia’s own Aurora. This vehicle is a collaboration among the University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University, Swinburne University, University of New South Wales and the University of Technology Sydney. The South Australian Trade School (TAFE SA) also fields a team with a unique solar powered vehicle of their own.

If you’re into sustainability studies, there isn’t a better place to be. With plentiful sun, wind and waves, the resources for alternative energy are almost infinite! With the next Solar Challenge over a year away, there is still time to contribute at an Australian university.

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How are Australian States and American States Different?

More similar than I thought!

Australia and the USA are almost the same size. Their climates are even similar. They’re quite comparable if you flip the map over eachother (opposite hemispheres). If America glanced in the mirror they’d probably see Australia. Albeit, a more laidback self with a cooler accent. The states (and territories) Down Under aren’t too far off select American states. Let’s match ’em up!

Canberra is a planned city chosen as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne. Much in the same way Washington, DC was chosen over New York and Philadelphia.
Population: 345,000
Universities: Australian National University, Australian Catholic University and the University of Canberra.

Today, we could have been calling Aussies “New South Welshman”. Before “Australia” was “Australia”, it was “New South Wales“. The colony of New South Wales was founded in 1788, comprising much of modern Australia. The atmosphere here very much shares Southern California’s laidback lifestyle. Cities such as Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle are popular study abroad destinations.
Population: 7.2 million
Universities: The University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, the University of Technology, Sydney, The Australian Catholic University, the University of Notre Dame Australia, the University of Newcastle, the University of W0llongong, the University of New EnglandCharles Sturt University and Southern Cross University.

The smallest mainland state, Melbourne dominates Victoria with over 75% of the population living in the metropolis. This metropolis seems to share many similarities with New York City.
Population: 5.5 million
Universities: The University of Melbourne, Monash University,  Charles Sturt University, Deakin University, La Trobe University, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Ballarat, Victoria University and the Australian Catholic University.

The tourist attraction of Australia. Queensland has been one of the fastest growing states. Popular destinations include Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Cairns. With all of the tourism hub-bub (over $4 billion in revenue annually) surrounding this tropical peninsula, I’m reminded of Florida.
Population: 4.5 million
Universities: Bond University, Central Queensland University, Griffith University, James Cook University, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Queensland, University of Southern Queensland and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Rugged Western Australia. Not only is Western Australia the largest Australian state, it is one of the largest in the world. Despite the state’s monstrous size, most of the population is concentrated in Perth. This state has become a major mining boom and generates the third most iron worldwide. If everything is truly bigger in Texas, then they must have never heard of Western Australia. The state is so large and signal-free that it is in the running for the world’s most powerful radio telescope.
Population: 2.3 million
Universities: The University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University and the University of Notre Dame Australia.

The state of South Australia (shouldn’t it be Southern Australia?) has a population concentraded around the city of Adelaide. The first state to offer women’s suffrage, this is a progressive state that has always looked ahead. Not too different than the nature of Northern California’s Silicon Valley or Bay area.
Population: 1.6 million
Universities: The University of South Australia, the University of Adelaide and Flinders University.

The small island state of Tasmania is draws sparse tourists. Almost 37% of the land lies on a World Heritage or State Park site. The natural landscape compares to the rain-heavy region of the Northwestern USA. Though the Tasmanian Tiger doesn’t quite look like the Looney Tunes character and the infamous wolf is likely to be extinct, the state has plenty of unique fauna.
Population: 507,000
University: The University of Tasmania.

The Northern Territory is not a state but a territory. This could have to do with the territory’s heavy population of aborigenes. The famous Mick “Crocodile” Dundee hails from the territory’s Walkabout Creek. Don’t expect a university out in the bush. Most of the population (and the only major university) is in Darwin.
Population: 230,000
University: Charles Darwin University.

The study experience in each state vastly differs. It’s a reality that students want to go to a place with a comfortable lifestyle and climate on top of the educational quality. So maybe Australia and the USA aren’t so different. Which one is the “evil twin”? That’s up to you to decide! If you think think of additional comparisons, comment below!

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Perth: The Remotest City on Earth

If Australia is “Down Under” then Perth is “Way Over”. Perth comprises about 1.7 million people. That is the roughly the size of Canada’s capital Ottawa and the USA’s capital Washington combined. Perth is often referred to as the most isolated major city on earth. Don’t make this stop you from visiting. A metropolis that seemingly sprang out of the lonely west coast of Australia has to have a story behind..

That dot in the SW corner is Perth

Known as the “City of Light” for the uncanny ability to stick out in the vast expanse of Western Australia. When a space shuttle passed overhead in 1962, the residents of Perth turned their lights so the city could be seen from orbit. The name is fitting for it’s distinction as the sunniest city in Australia.

You made it Perth. What to do? King’s Park is the largest inner-city park in the world. Bigger than Central Park. Galleries, museums and zoos galore. Cable Beach is one of the most well known beaches in the world and not too far away. Camel riding over water on a mile wide beach at sunset? That’s one activity you need to add (and proceed to cross off) your bucket list. You’d be happy to know that Perth is far less touristy than Sydney and Melbourne.

So it’s got beaches. It’s got sun. It’s close to Asia. It’s one of the Most Livable Cities in the World (like every Australia city seems to be). What about the universities? With four public universities, Perth was rated the 25th best student city in the world. The 73rd world ranked University of Western Australia has a globally renowned Life Science program. Curtin University, with their ranked engineering/IT programs, is also there along with Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University.

"It's a snap!"

Some Hollywood stars have even called Edith Cowan University’s Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts their alma mater. This includes Hugh Jackman and Heath Ledger. Speaking of filmography, the Central Institute of Technology vocational school managed to create this snazzy recruitment video that has gone viral. I won’t scare you and embed it here but you can see for yourself how “creative” those Aussies can be.

A primary motivator of studying in Australia is the notion of sticking out. What sticks out more than studying in the city that sticks out?

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Australia Celebrates International Women’s Day

Prime Minister Julia Gillard

To mark International Women’s Day, a host of scholarships were announced by Parliament. Women are being encouraged to take up typically “blokey” activities. Fields such as mining are exponentially growing and lacking women. Engineering has been attracting more and more women.

Speaking of mining, the field has grown so much (especially in Western Australia) that Gina Rinehart’s mining stakes may soon make her the richest person in the world. She isn’t the only powerful woman of Australia. Aussieland’s own Julia Gillard rose to become the nation’s first female Head of State. One of Australia’s prominent universities, Edith Cowan University, is even named after the famous social campaigner and MP.

Women are encouraged to break into fields that aren’t traditional. Our Washington, DC office was delighted to meet the Young Australian of the Year, Marita Cheng. Her work as Robogals founder includes encouraging women to enter engineering fields as well as promoting the field of robotics.

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