One of the continuing challenges of the stewardship of an ARC Centre of Excellence such as CEPAR is keeping everyone connected and, in a multidisciplinary centre like ours, providing opportunities for cross-disciplinary interactions is an important component of this. We do this throughout the year through a number of mechanisms but the cornerstone for these interactions over the years has been the annual two-day workshop. The pandemic has impacted our ability to host these workshops in person over the past few years and, while we have maintained connection through a variety of means, the two-day intensive workshops have been sorely missed.
So the annual workshop in mid-November was something of a watershed. For the first time since 2019, over 70 CEPAR members gathered at the Q-Station, Manly, from all across Australia, and all 11 Chief Investigators joined. I felt it was an experience which rejuvenated the CEPAR community.
Research progress was presented by all four research streams, and by the Ageing Asia Research Hub as well, a CEPAR adjunct which has progressed by leaps and bounds under Pip O’Keefe’s, Katja Hanewald’s and Bei Lu’s leadership. But the two days offered much more. A panel session on “navigating a research career in the 21st century”, led by Chief Investigator Marian Baird, with panellists Myra Hamilton, Katja Hanewald, and Fedor Iskhakov, was very well received. A panel session on how to generate impact, with Chief Investigators Kaarin Anstey, Hazel Bateman and Warwick McKibbin covering pathways to impact in the spheres of academia, business and policy practice, and Pip O’Keefe offering an end-user perspective, also stimulated much discussion. PhD students and early career researchers also had the opportunity to present their posters. Congratulations to Yuchen Xie and Doreen Kabuche for receiving the Best Poster Awards!
And following the annual workshop the mid-career researchers stayed a day longer, to come together for CEPAR’s Future Leaders in Ageing Research development program, led by Chief Investigator Sharon Parker.
I would like to thank the professional staff for putting together the program and the logistics. For me, it was a re-establishment of the new normal for CEPAR, and very rewarding.
It is a great way to end 2022. Time now for a break, to gather our strength for an even better 2023. Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and joyous holiday season, and a terrific new year.