Exciton Science Seminars

Throughout 2021 and despite the travel restrictions in place for much of the year, Exciton Science members were lucky enough to get together in person on a few occasions. While both our home cities were locked down for extended periods, we conducted a number of online seminars including hearing from our esteemed colleagues in the UK and Europe.

Summer Seminar - University of Melbourne

The Exciton Science Summer Seminar, staged at the University of Melbourne in February 2021, was the Centre’s first in-person event for over a year due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members travelled from NSW and elsewhere in Melbourne to present research, convene committees, conduct platform meetings and provide updates on equity, diversity and inclusion measures and policies.

Associate Investigator Anita Ho-Baillie of the University of Sydney delivered a keynote address on the future of next-generation solar cells.

A second keynote was delivered by Associate Investigator Colette Boskovic of the University of Melbourne, who spoke about inorganic molecular materials.

Special guest speaker Orania Tokatlidis of the University of Melbourne’s Counselling and Psychological Services team offered important information on mental health care strategies and support for staff and students.

The Centre heard from Tom Supple, an artist specialising in large-scale lighting and sound installations at major events as a preliminary step in exploring a potential collaboration with members regarding research themes and subjects.

A highlight of the seminar was a joint presentation by students Tim Warner and Alice Chen, together with our Connect Program Partner ClearVue PV, a Perth-based company specialising in the manufacture of windows that harness the photovoltaic effect to feed power back into the building they are part of.

Finally, Centre Director Paul Mulvaney and Chief Operating Officer Kate McGeoch delivered a briefing on the proposed preparations for the ARC mid-term review, and announced the winners of our 2020 Best Publications Awards.

Autumn Seminar - UNSW

The Exciton Science Autumn Seminar, which took place at UNSW Sydney in April 2021, was a major landmark in the Centre’s preparations for the ARC mid-term review.

Members from Melbourne and the University of Sydney convened at UNSW’s campus in Randwick for a series of research presentations, committee meetings and intensive workshops to prepare representatives for the ARC panel’s mid-term review interviews and discussions.

The Centre was assisted in this process by consultants Think Different Anyday, who provided insightful coaching and advice and staged stimulating mock interviews.

The seminar began with an ice-breaker session to reintegrate members, involving interactive team-building exercises and a light-hearted quiz about the history and composition of the Centre.

Associate Investigators Nicholas Ekins-Daukes and Ivan Kassal then delivered a fascinating workshop aimed at guiding PhD students and early career researchers to achieve more effective domestic and international research collaboration.

Senior members of the Centre delivered informative updates on the progress of a number of our research platforms.

Centre members were also grateful for the opportunity to socialise informally on campus and during a well-attended dinner in Coogee following a year of severe restrictions on movement and interaction, particularly in Victoria.

End of Year Seminars - Monash & University of Sydney

The Exciton Science End of Year Seminars were events held concurrently at Monash University and University of Sydney in December 2021.

COVID-19 restrictions precluded interstate travel to a particular node, prompting the Centre to develop a hybrid structure in which members convened online via Zoom for joint sessions, before conducting in-person activities within their respective physical locations.

The sessions were opened with a welcome from the Director Paul Mulvaney and a joint Acknowledgment of Country, led by Asaph Widmer-Cooper.

The focus then shifted to in-person mentoring activities, during which the cohorts in each location were divided into small groups and cycled through four different informal professional learning and development subjects.

Led by Chief Investigators, the groups discussed international and domestic academic collaboration, research paper writing, industry collaboration, and resilience and adaptation in face of COVID-19 interruptions.

At the conclusion of these sessions, members of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee provided updates on their recent activities, with a particular focus on the recently introduced Misconduct Policy.

Chief Investigator Salvy Russo of RMIT announced the winners of the 2021 Best Publication Awards.

A Speed Research Dating session afforded members of the Centre a rapid-fire opportunity to catch up on the work on different colleagues, a mechanism intended to promote collaboration and establish a rapport following the arrival of new members and in the enforced absence of recent in-person activities.

Finally, the tables were turned on our Chief Investigators, who were required to deliver a three-minute thesis on their career and research focus to the cohorts in each location.

Needless to say, very few were able to meet the tight time limit, demonstrating to our students and early career researchers the challenge of achieving brevity in delivering an elevator pitch to an academic audience.

Online Seminar Series

Exciton Science’s online seminar series was introduced in 2020 as a response to enforced social distancing measures brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After initially preferencing in-person research collaboration and communication where possible, the online series resumed in mid-2021 amid new restrictions brought about by outbreaks in New South Wales and Victoria.

Dr Manoj Sharma, a Research Fellow at Monash University and recent arrival to the Centre, opened the series with a talk about doping in colloidal quantum wells.

Other highlights included Dr Adam Surmiak presenting an update on work to establish a combinatorial high-throughput system for accelerating the process of identifying and testing new compounds for perovskite solar cells.

RMIT’s Dr Mike Klymenko spoke about NanoNET, an open source, extendable Python framework developed for modelling electronic structure and electron transport.

Dr Lars Goerigk of the University of Melbourne, who became an Exciton Science Associate Investigator in 2021, offered an informative and engaging introduction to his research group and sought to highlight potential areas of collaboration and cooperation with Centre members.

We also heard from Eric Hoefgen of the University of Melbourne's Knowledge and Technology Transfer team. Eric’s presentation addressed the importance and benefits of engaging in research translation and the different pathways to achieve research impact.

Online Seminars

International Partner Seminars

In late 2021, as a response to continuing international and domestic travel restrictions, Exciton Science initiated the International Partner Seminar Series.

This was intended as a mechanism for engaging with the high-impact research being conducted by the Centre’s globally renowned network of Associate Investigators, Partner Investigators and International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) members, past and present.

Former ISAC member Professor Neil Greenham of the University of Cambridge opened the series with a talk titled ‘Photon recycling in perovskite light-emitting diodes’.

Neil’s talk, scheduled to allow audiences in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and elsewhere to participate, was the Centre’s best attended remote research event of the year.

It was followed by a presentation from current ISAC member and Associate Investigator Professor Jochen Feldmann of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität.

Jochen was one of the Centre’s last international visitors before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and his talk, ‘Light-Induced Energy Conversion in Semiconductor Nanosystems’, was well received and well attended by Exciton Science members and associates.

At the time of writing, the Centre is looking forward to hearing from Professor Greg Scholes of Princeton University at its next International Partner Seminar in person in March 2022.