UQ ChangeMakers has partnered with Minderoo Foundation and we're coming to Perth.

Innovation and science play a critical role in driving a brighter future for humanity, from measuring the health impacts of plastic particles and chemicals, to creating new building materials which lower our carbon footprint.

However, the world's most ‘wicked challenges’ like climate change, often require experimental, risky or creative solutions that traditional investors aren’t always as willing to fund. This is where philanthropic organisations and universities can make an impact as places with the resources and the freedom to explore and be curious.

At this ChangeMakers event, we’ll be discussing the different roles we can play in advancing innovation for the greater good. Researchers might come up with the ideas, but how can industry implement those ideas to make a difference? And what are some of the challenges we face in translating great ideas into tangible, world-changing solutions?

Your ticket price is inclusive of the panel discussion, followed by a networking function with light refreshments.

Event: UQ ChangeMakers: Necessity is the mother of innovation
Date: Monday 19 September 2022
Time: 5.45pm for 6–8pm (AWST) – Note time in the calendar invite appears as AEST to accommodate the time difference in Perth.
Location: Forrest Hall II, 21 Hackett Drive, Crawley WA 6009
Cost: $35 per person



Professor Deborah Terry AC
Vice-Chancellor and President
The University of Queensland




Our panellists


Professor Daniel Franks
Bachelor of Science (Honours Class 1) '00
Professor and Deputy Director (Research) at the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute.

He is known internationally for his work on the interconnections between minerals, materials and sustainable development, with a particular focus on the role of minerals in poverty reduction. Originally trained as a geologist, he began his career as a field geoscientist, later retraining in political and social sciences. He held the role of Chief Technical Advisor at the United Nations Development Programme, is currently a member of the scientific board of UNESCO’s International Geosciences Programme, and is an advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme on mineral sustainability issues.

Professor Franks was invited by UNEP to support the implementation of the UN Environment Assembly Resolution on Mineral Resource Governance by convening a global consultations that involved more than 1,200 people, from 123 countries. The partnership strengthened international cooperation on the topic and led to a new UN resolution agreed at the UN Environment Assembly held in February 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Professor Franks has also worked with a wide range of industry partners to introduce sustainability innovations in the mining sector. His research on circular economy has led to breakthrough solutions to drastically reduce mine waste by creating sand by-products for the construction industry. He is also collaborating with a wide range of partners to introduce low carbon cement to the Pacific.


Ms Lauren Stafford
Bachelor of Applied Science '05

Lauren Stafford is currently the Deputy Head of Technology Development at Woodside Energy. Originally from Brisbane, Lauren’s career has been focussed on the commercialisation of technologies to improve the performance of resources operations in Australia and across the world.

Lauren contributes to innovation policy as a Director on the Board of Industry Innovation Science Australia and was a member of the Expert Working Group to produce the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap.  


Emeritus Professor Sarah Dunlop

Currently Head, Plastics & Human Health, Minderoo Foundation. She established the program at the beginning of 2020 to examine the impact of plastic exposure on human health with the goal of stopping harmful plastic pollution by redesigning plastic and improving chemical regulation. She trained at the University of London in heavy metal toxicity and then immigrated to Australia to pursue a research career in neuroscience at The University of Western Australia.

Her medical research career focused on responses and recovery following chemical and physical injury to the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system in animal models and humans. She led a number of discovery research programs including training to promote recovery after peripheral nerve damage and spinal cord injury, novel treatments for diabetic retinopathy, and the inadvertent impact on the developing brain of maternally administered drug therapies to prevent pre-term birth.

Her clinical research on spinal cord injured patients included multi-centre randomized controlled trials to examine novel ways to exercise the paralysed limbs to promote neurological recovery, immediate intravenous cooling to buy time and prevent spreading damage before emergency decompression surgery, and protecting the bladder with biologically-inspired treatments to prevent recurrent urinary tract infection.

Publications. Senior leadership positions include President of the Australian Neuroscience Society, President of the Federation of the Asian & Oceanian Neuroscience Societies, Board Director - Spinal Cord Injury Network and Head - School of Biological Sciences, UWA.



Dr Ramon Wenzel

Ramon Wenzel operates as Research Specialist across Minderoo Foundation. With a background in work psychology, data science and social impact, he supports the many experts and programs in the foundation.

Realising the research we need for the world we want means to co-design solutions that are anchored in robust and actionable evidence, to govern data with integrity and transparency, and to perpetually earn the trust by communicating the process and output of science.



About Alumni events

UQ alumni and community events take place in-person and online, across the globe, throughout the year. UQ alumni are invited to join the UQ ChangeMakers platform to access early event registrations, benefits and discounts.

Join UQ ChangeMakers