For the 20 UNSW researchers selected as inaugural PLuS Alliance Fellows (see box), the international partnership opens up new avenues for research collaboration. They are in fine company, joining 40 Fellows from King’s College London and Arizona State University.

The scholars will work across the three universities, in the key areas of the Alliance’s efforts: global health, social justice, sustainability, and innovation and technology. Additional Fellows will be announced as the Alliance develops.

The Fellows were named at the launch of the PLuS Alliance at London’s Bush House in February. Also announced was the first PLuS Alliance Professor, former Cochlear CEO Chris Roberts.

I’m excited to be part of bringing together these three great universities through innovation and entrepreneurship.– PLuS Alliance Professor Chris Roberts

After 40 years in the medical device industry, Professor Roberts is now leading the charge to grow biomedical engineering’s footprint in Australia and the world.

Professor Roberts, who has two degrees from UNSW, said joining the PLuS Alliance after 11 years at the helm of Cochlear was a major change of direction: “I’m excited to be part of bringing together these three great universities and facilitating the Alliance activities through innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said.


At the PLuS Alliance launch in London.

Based at UNSW Engineering, Professor Roberts will spend significant time at the Alliance universities to identify opportunities for collaboration.

Professor Mark Hoffman, Dean of UNSW Engineering, said the appointment would be a catalyst for linking Engineering and Medicine in complementary areas of expertise and for identifying any gaps in technology that are holding back innovation. “Using his experience, high-level advice and networks, Professor Roberts will assist in building teams of engineers and medical professionals to address shortcomings in this field.”

Professor Carla Treloar, hepatitis C researcher and deputy director of UNSW’s Centre for Social Research in Health, is one of the 60 inaugural PLuS Alliance Fellows.

“It is such an exciting prospect to be at the cusp of opening up the issue of social justice to the amazing scholars of the PLuS Alliance to work on some of the critical issues of our time,” said Professor Treloar, who will work with her international colleagues at King’s on a project to investigate the experience of people seeking new generation treatments for hepatitis C. “It will use a ‘patient-led’ methodology and work in close partnership with people living with hepatitis C,” she said.

Carla Treloar

Professor Carla Treloar. Photo: Dan White

Speaking at the Alliance launch, the presidents of the three universities said there was a responsibility to work together to solve global challenges.

“Our combined scale, international reach and expertise will enable us to deliver innovative solutions to grand challenges, which are beyond the scope of our individual organisations,” said Professor Ian Jacobs, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor.

With the number of international partnerships growing, King’s President Professor Edward Byrne told Times Higher Education the PLuS Alliance represents a “new layer” of collaboration, one in which “great institutions align their intellectual capacity and their capital resource into big international projects around education and research”.

Dr Michael Crow, President of ASU, said universities must think differently if they are to truly understand the needs of a world that will go from seven to 10 billion people in the next few decades. “The PLuS Alliance will deliver an exceptional international learning experience that creates impactful solutions for a sustainable future.”

Central to that educational experience are innovative digital technologies that will be incorporated into many of the first 20 undergraduate programs being rolled out across a range of disciplines from September 2016.

UNSW’s PLuS Fellows

Global Health

David Cooper

Michael Farrell

Michelle Moulds

Social Justice

Eileen Baldry

Lyn Craig

Thomas Frame

Fleur Johns

Kristy Muir

Carla Treloar


Greg Leslie

David Sanderson

Roger Simnett

Technology and Innovation

Darren Bagnall

Lyria Bennett Moses

Katharina Gaus

Justin Gooding

Scott Kable

Nigel Lovell

Karin Sanders

Chris Tinney