Watch the event recording

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?
Join us for this live streaming of our panel discussion in Perth and a live Q&A with one of our panellists, Professor Daniel Franks, who will answer your questions live.
Date: Monday 26 September 2022
Time: 9–10am AEST / 4–5pm San Francisco / 7–8pm New York
Location: online event



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.

Professor Franks 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. He originally trained as a geologist and began his career as a field geoscientist, but later retrained in political and social sciences. He is currently a member of the scientific board of UNESCO’s International Geosciences Programme, advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme on mineral sustainability issues. He previously held the role of Chief Technical Advisor at the United Nations Development Programme,.

Professor Franks was invited by UNEP to support the implementation of the UN Environment Assembly Resolution on Mineral Resource Governance by convening a global consultation 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 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 economies 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

Ms Stafford’s career has focused on the commercialisation of technologies to improve the performance of resource operations in Australia and across the world.

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


Emerita Professor Sarah Dunlop

Emerita Professor Dunlop established the Plastics & Human Health program at the beginning of 2020. The research examines the impact of plastic exposure on human health with the goal of stopping harmful plastic pollution by redesigning plastic and improving chemical regulation. Emerita Professor Dunlop 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.

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

Dr Wenzel has a background in work psychology, data science and social impact and supports the many experts and programs within the Minderoo Foundation. He is actively engaged in outreach and the translation of research into practice – regularly speaking at national and international conferences.

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.

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