Home' InDaily : November 18th 2010 Contents Vol 21 No 10 November 2010 | 5
China faces growth challenges
China now reigns supreme as the biggest
and fastest growing nation on Earth but
faces significant challenges as it moves
forward to become the world’s largest
economy by 2035 or earlier, according to
Flinders University adviser and
investment banker, Dr Roger Sexton.
Dr Sexton told a conference, co-hosted by
Flinders University and Nankai University
in Tianjin, China, this month that China’s
average growth of 8.2 per cent per
annum over the past 60 years – more
than double the world’s growth over the
same period – masks some fundamental
structural weaknesses which will need to
be addressed by policy makers in order to
achieve substantial prosperity by the
time it becomes the number one
economy in the world.
“As Australia’s leading trading partner, the
future fortunes of Australia are now
inextricably linked to the economic and
social dynamics of China,” Dr Sexton said.
“Failure to address its challenges could
see China succumb to the ‘Japanese
disease’ of a prolonged period of
prosperous stagnation at some point, all
of which would have implications in turn
for Australia,” he said.
Dr Sexton, a member of Flinders
University’s Investment Committee and
a member of the University’s Karmel
Endowment Fund advisory committee,
told the conference that the structural
weakness facing China arose from an
over investment in property at the
expense of capital equipment,
deficiencies in the banking system,
distortions in the urban/rural mix, excess
capacity in ‘old’ industries, inflation, loss
of cost advantages, environmental
pollution and imbalances in education.
He said the ageing of the population as a
consequence of the “one child” policy
would exacerbate the deleterious
impacts of these issues on the economy.
“The implications are that China will need
to ‘re-invent’ its economy as it goes
forward over the next 20 to 25 years to
address these issues,” Dr Sexton said.
Attending his first graduation in Nankai
as Chancellor, Mr Stephen Gerlach, told
graduates in the Masters of Arts in
International Relations that while trade
in resources will continue to underpin
Australia-China relations, “the
possibilities for expanding the range of
our interactions is vast and educational
services is one sector that has begun to
reveal its potential”.
“Education is the great enabler, not only
for individual intellects but for entire
societies and economies. China’s
resources in terms of its human capital
are enormous, and the education of its
population is perhaps the greatest
investment that China can make in its
people and in its future,” Mr Gerlach said.
“By building human capacity and taking
up the benefits of research in terms of
models of best practice in trade and
commerce, China, and its trading
partners, stands to gain immeasurably,”
Flinders Vice-Chancellor, Professor
Michael Barber, said the University’s close
association with Nankai University
extends back for 10 years, making it “one
of the most fruitful and durable
relationships between tertiary
institutions in China and Australia”.
China growth – Roger Sexton (inset)
Law links with Indonesia on the up
Despite the very different origins of the
Australian and Indonesian legal systems,
links between the Flinders Law School
and law schools in Indonesia are
Professor David Bamford, Dean of Law
at Flinders, said that the latest exchange
with Indonesia has brought three legal
academics from universities in Java,
Sumatra and Kalimantan to Flinders for
three months; two further visitors will
He said that this is the third year that
Flinders has participated in the program
of visits sponsored by Indonesian
“To improve the quality of university
education, the Indonesian government
is offering professional development
programs for its academics that include
enrolment in PhD programs. Many of
them are traveling abroad to advance
their research,” Professor Bamford said.
“We are providing some research
mentoring by matching their interests
both with our academic staff and also
outside the Law School.
“They are highly appreciative of the
opportunity to work with Australian
academics and of their access to the
excellent resources of the Flinders Law
Library; they also get to understand
something of Australian legal culture and
In turn, the visitors provide insights into
Indonesia’s legal system by giving
presentations on their research.
In addition to the two-way educational
benefits, the mentoring program fulfills
a responsibility on the part of the Law
School to be “a good global citizen”,
Professor Bamford said.
“Flinders has a very strong reputation in
Indonesia, and we are building on the
foundations laid by other parts of the
University: we have had lots of
postgraduate students over the past 15
years,” Professor Bamford said.
He hopes that a Flinders law academic
will visit Indonesia next year to build on
“Although the Indonesian legal system is
founded on a Dutch model, it makes
sense for us to establish strong
governmental and legal links with one of
Australia’s major strategic partners,”
Professor Bamford said.
Visiting Indonesian law academics
(from left) Sri Suatmiati, Rommy Patr and
Purnawan D Negara.
4 | Vol 21 No 10 November 2010
Flinders doubles ARC grant success rates
Australian Research Council grants are
the lifeblood of research in universities.
The grants are keenly sought and there
is strong competition across the country.
Mike Bull has an unsurpassed track
record having secured ARC Discovery
Grant funding for every year from
1977– 2013 – except for 1984 when he
was on sabbatical leave. In total,
Professor Bull has been the first named
chief investigator on 19 separate grants
which, given the grants have a three-
year duration, represents 57 years of
Professor Bull was again successful in
2010 – an ARC round in which Flinders
University doubled its number of ARC
Discovery grants over the previous year
and secured ARC Linkage grants at a rate
well above the national average. Twelve
Discovery projects received a total of
$2.95 million, and three Linkage Grants
totalling $385,000 were made to
collaborative projects with industry.
Flinders Deputy Vice-Chancellor
(Research) Professor David Day,
welcomed the high incidence of
first-time recipients among the grants
saying, “it augurs very well for the future”.
Professor Bull is playing his part in
contributing to future ARC successes by
mentoring young researchers and
providing insights into the drafting of
A member of the ARC College of Experts,
Professor Bull reviews up to 150
applications in a funding round.
So which applications succeed? “We are
looking for the stunning science, the
outcomes that will set the world alight.
What sets the great applications apart is
that the researcher has seen something
beyond the point we have reached – they
are taking another step forward.”
Over the past 34 years, Mike Bull has
certainly taken some big strides of his own
at Flinders University.
Photo: Dale Burzacott
Sleepy lizards: at the centre of several ARC grants.
No longer a remote connection with mobiles
Dr Paul Gardner–Stephen’s unique
mobile phone technology has sparked
interest around the world. It has now
attracted a $360,000 research fellowship
from Flinders University.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research),
Professor David Day, said the three-year
fellowship was an investment in rural,
remote and humanitarian
telecommunications aimed at further
developing new technology to allow
mobile phones to operate in remote and
disaster areas lacking regular mobile
“This is exactly the blend of applied,
cross-disciplinary research that Flinders is
good at,” Professor Day said.
“Significantly, Flinders is not planning to
exercise the usual Intellectual Property
rights over the software – technology
such as this is too important to be locked
up by restricting its use or distribution,”
In cases where mobile network
infrastructure has been destroyed, such
as in the case of the 2004 Boxing Day
tsunami, the 2008 cyclone in Myanmar,
the 2009 bush fires in Victoria and the
2010 Haiti earthquake, the ability to
establish or maintain a functional mobile
phone system quickly would be a
Dr Gardner–Stephen said a prototype of
the technology had been demonstrated
recently in a remote area of the
Flinders Ranges where the nearest
mobile phone network was more
than 100 kilometres away.
“The prototype passed this very tough test
with flying colours and the Flinders
Research fellowship means we can press
on with further development of what is a
very exciting communication device,”
Dr Gardner–Stephen, who takes up this
new fellowship later this year, will
relocate his team to Flinders where he
will also be teaching communications
topics in the School’s Computer Science
and Engineering courses.
Flinders offers a number of highly-
regarded engineering courses and
students will be able to undertake
projects that will have them participate
in the development of this revolutionary
and potentially life saving technology to
the point where the software can be
downloaded and used across the world.
Dr Gardner–Stephen was a finalist in the
2010 ABC New Inventors series and can
be heard as resident scientist in ABC 891
Adelaide’s Science in the Studio.
Dr Paul Gardner–Stephen tests mobiles in
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