French Researchers in Australia Network 2014 forum

France's Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Christophe Lecourtier. (Photo: Grant Turner/Mediakoo)

Over 140 French researchers converged on UNSW for the two-day forum.

UNSW Chemical Engineering was proud to be represented at the ‘French Researchers in Australia Network’ forum held in mid-November at UNSW.

This was the third annual forum, jointly hosted by the Embassy of France, UNSW and the Australian Academy of Science. The event brought together more than 140 French scientists working in Australian research agencies from every capital city.

His Excellency Mr Christophe Lecourtier, Ambassador of France to Australia, Mr Aleksandr Voninski, Executive Director UNSW International and Mr Xavier Sticker, French Ambassador for the Environment, officially opened the forum.

Associate Professors Cyrille Boyer and Francois Aguey-Zinsou from UNSW Engineering presented during the forum’s ‘research focus’ session. Cyrille’s talk addressed “Engineering nanomaterials for bioapplications”. Francois’ topic was the development of Australia’s first hydrogen fuel-cell bicycle, the Hycycle, in his presentation, “Hydrogen energy: French-Australian advancements and an electric bicycle prototype”.

Dignitaries were able to inspect the Hycycle and also another UNSW-led French–Australian innovation being developed with GoGet, a prototype of a self-driving car.

The primary aim of the Australia-wide network – the first of its type outside France – was to facilitate information sharing, advice and support, and to assist collaborations between French and Australian scientists and industry. By the end of the year, more than 430 collaborative agreements will have been signed between French research institutions and Australian universities.

Left to right: A/Prof Pierre Le Clech, A/Prof Cyrille Boyer, Eric Soulier (Head of Culture, Education, Science & Technology at the Embassy of France in Australia) and A/Prof Kondo Francois Aguey-Zinsou.

Two representatives from the French government provided a special address to the delegates: Ms Marie-Hélène Aubert, Adviser to the President of France for the Environment and Climate, and Mr Nicolas Bériot, Secretary General to the National Observatory of the effects of climate change, French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

More than 15 scientific presentations showcased the diversity of research being undertaken in Australia covering the themes of atmospheric climate change, oceans and the changing climate, and the impacts of climate variability.

The forum allows researchers the opportunity to meet with key industry representatives from organisations such as Stallergenes, NewSouth Innovations and Pandrol Australia.

Researchers also presented case studies to highlight science projects that have transitioned from the laboratory to applications in industry.

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