Excellence (Research, Education)
Monash University research continued to improve its standing across many key indicators in 2021, including global university rankings, research income and highly cited researchers. For every dollar of research funding we receive, Monash contributes approximately an additional dollar, in the support of research of the highest international quality that addresses global challenges, and to develop understanding and solutions for the betterment of our communities.
Monash researchers have produced the first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate in Australia. The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences team, led by Professor Colin Pouton, received $5 million in funding through the Medical Research Future Fund to develop a COVID-19 vaccine based on mRNA technology, with phase one clinical trials to be conducted by the Doherty Institute in early 2022.
An agreement to manufacture this vaccine candidate has been signed with Australian pharmaceutical company IDT Australia, and would leverage $50 million in Victorian Government funding committed to state-based mRNA manufacturing capability.
Monash University researcher Professor Allen Cheng was seconded to the State Government for a year as Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer in 2020-21. He also served as co-chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, which advises the Minister for Health on COVID-19 vaccinations, the National Immunisation Program and other immunisation issues.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton, is also a Monash adjunct, and Professor Euan Wallace, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is currently Secretary of the Victorian Department of Health.
Researchers from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute mapped the 3D structure of the COVID-19 non-structural protein 9 (Nsp9) protein at atomic resolution using the Australian Synchrotron. The function of Nsp9 is still not fully understood; however, studies on the related SARS virus suggest it may function in viral replication.
This represents the start of an accelerated program of research within Monash University, aimed at developing antiviral treatments while understanding how the immune system combats this virus.
Led by Professor Qasim Ayub, this facility contributed to SARS-CoV-2 research by conducting sequencing and analysis of genomes from RNA samples received nationwide.
The world’s largest global climate-related mortality study, led by Professor Yuming Guo from Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, found that more than five million extra deaths a year can be attributed to abnormally hot and cold temperatures.
The study found that deaths related to hot temperatures increased in all regions from 2000 to 2019, indicating that global warming due to climate change will increase this mortality figure in the future. This paper was the most featured climate-related paper in the media in 2021, having been published in 865 online news stories from 617 outlets.
The Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre’s research on misogyny and the gender norms that drive recruitment to violent extremist groups and its destabilising impact on international peace and security has been recognised by the United Nations, and informed new policy and programming.
In 2021, research on misogyny and violent extremism during COVID-19 was commissioned by ASEAN’s Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime, and was disseminated at speaking invitations to major international policy meetings.
Monash researchers, led by Associate Professor David McCarthy from Monash University’s Faculty of Engineering, developed the ‘Torpedo Passive Sampler’ – an affordable, accurate and simple testing device to detect SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. As the intellectual property is open, the 3D printing files can be shared rapidly with governments and health professionals across the world. The devices are currently being used in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg and South Africa.
They are also comparatively cheap – about $20 each – compared with more than $5000 for the alternative automatic samplers on the market.
The World Mosquito Program (WMP) is saving lives by working to prevent the incidence of dengue and Zika virus in vulnerable communities around the world.
During 2021, WMP published the results of its largest trial to date in the New England Journal of Medicine, the world’s most prestigious medical research journal.The findings showed WMP’s Wolbachia method dramatically reduced dengue incidence in a randomised controlled trial in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
In 2021, Monash University continued to provide high-quality teaching and learning under the significant pressures and unpredictability of COVID-19. We transformed our educational offering to enable our students to complete their studies in a virtual environment, where necessary. We were able to significantly enhance on-campus and online learning, and conduct assessments remotely. The year saw high full-time graduate employment rates and new opportunities for students around the world to study with Monash.
Monash University continued to navigate the ongoing disruptions of COVID-19 in regard to its international engagements in education and research, and across its global sites and presences. The University developed and implemented ways of sustaining international engagement through new models of education, research and digital collaboration. We continued to work with the higher education sector and state and federal governments to prepare for, and facilitate, the return of international students to Australian campuses in a safe, secure and timely manner, while also preparing for the safe reactivation of international experiences for students at Monash campuses outside Australia and at our international partner universities.
- Southeast University-Monash University Joint Graduate School enrolled 513 new master’s students and there were 240 graduates
- Thirty-four Monash PhD students are currently enrolled and based at Suzhou, and a further 19 PhD students are enrolled under the Monash-Southeast University (SEU) joint PhD.
- The Joint Research Institutes (JRI) and Monash Suzhou Research Institute (MSRI) commenced the SEU-Monash joint master’s by research programs and expanded collaboration in PhD training.
- Monash signed 14 formal agreements related to education collaboration with Chinese institutions in 2021.
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay-Monash Research Academy
- 35 students commenced the PhD program and 28 graduated.
- Twenty industry funded partnerships
- PhD students undertook the program remotely for the first half of the year with staff and students returning to the academy campus from July.
- Monash signed an articulation agreement with Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and an Institute of Eminence (IOE) in India. The agreement will allow students who have completed the first two years of an undergraduate engineering program at MAHE to transfer credit into a range of engineering programs at Monash.
- A similar articulation agreement was signed with Vidyalankar School of IT in Mumbai to facilitate recruitment of students in Monash Business School.
Monash University, Indonesia
- Monash University, Indonesia welcomed its inaugural cohort of students on 4 October 2021.
- The first fields of study include data science, public policy, urban design and business innovation.
- Due to the pandemic, teaching was undertaken almost entirely online for the first semester.
- Under the Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research (PAIR), the Australian-Indonesia Centre (AIC) published findings from four pilot projects. These are the first steps towards designing larger strategic integrated projects.
- Twelve COVID-19 Rapid Research reports were produced for the policy community on issues aligned with the Australian Government’s Partnerships for Recovery agenda. These findings were a focus of discussion at the 2021 PAIR summit.
- The centre continued to expand on PAIR’s Talent Accelerator Program, running a series of webinars on the topic of research impact.
- The AIC signed a memorandum of understanding with the South Sulawesi Provincial Government to deepen cooperation and explore young people’s human capital development needs. A memorandum of agreement with the Indonesian Ministry of Research and Technology National Research and Innovation Agency (RISTEK/BRIN) was also signed in April 2021.
Monash University Malaysia
- Semesters one and two commenced fully online at Monash University Malaysia (MUM). For the majority of the year, campus access remained limited to essential staff and students for critical research and on-campus laboratory activities.
- The October semester commenced with both on-campus and online options to allow all students the opportunity to progress their studies as planned.
- As of 9 December, 2021, MUM had 9506 students enrolled, with 28 per cent of total enrolments international students (students from outside Malaysia), and 72 per cent were domestic students (citizens of Malaysia). The total student load increased by 2.7 per cent when compared with the same period in 2020.
- MUM continued to build its research profile and exceeded its publication target.
Monash University Prato Centre, Italy
- The Prato Centre celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2021.
- Staff worked remotely until September and under a hybrid model from then onwards.
- The Monash Data Futures Institute established the Monash Prato Dialogue Distinguished Lecture Series in Artificial Intelligence.
- Academics from Monash and the University of Siena co-taught a new Monash undergraduate unit, ‘Exploring Tuscany: Tradition, Innovation and Sustainability’, which was delivered online in November 2021.
Alliance with the University of Warwick, United Kingdom
- Major joint research initiatives in particle physics and antimicrobial resistance are active.
- Alliance-funded projects have continued amid COVID-19 through online means.
- The International Conference of Undergraduate Research took place for the ninth year with more than 561 student presenters from 14 institutions across five continents.
- The virtual internship program, TeaMWork attracted 239 students working on projects from 44 organisations across Australia, the UK and Malaysia.
- The Alliance Intensive Study Program launched with 179 students from Monash and Warwick undertaking virtual units collaboratively.
- More than 160 co-authored research journal papers were produced by Monash and Warwick staff.
- Researchers and jointly appointed professors from both universities continued to secure domestic and international research investment in our research work sources, including the United Kingdom Economic and Social Research Council, the Australian Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council, the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust.
- The partnership between Monash University and King’s College London continued, with seven projects in the areas of cardiovascular research and healthy aging progressing.
- The newly formed partnership between Monash University and the University of Padua in Italy progressed with the launch of a joint award scheme.
- Monash continued to support capacity-building through education and training, research collaboration and consultancy contracts, and continued to develop strong relationships with emerging economies in the region.
- Projects included online professional development programs and short courses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia in the areas of health sciences and intercultural experience.
- The University has worked with partners in the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to provide curriculum licensing in the areas of medicine and health sciences, paramedicine, clinical embryology and disaster management. Monash also licensed the Bachelor of Education curriculum to Akfa University in Uzbekistan.
- Due to the pandemic, projects under the sixth year of the joint award scheme with the Tel Aviv University were extended and no future rounds of awards have been launched.
Teach out of the former Monash University Campus in South Africa
- Students continued to be supported to complete the degree course they enrolled in, with transition arrangements to conclude by the end of 2022.
- Monash worked with IIE MSA to navigate ongoing disruptions to student learning due to the pandemic and student unrest by adopting a hybrid delivery model, implementing changes to the assessment format and scheduling and providing access to Monash student academic support measures.
- Research relationships continued with with Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), the University of California San Diego and the University of British Columbia.
- The Monash-Penn State collaboration grew, with a joint virtual global engagement symposium in June focused on the internationalisation of classrooms; joint funding of collaborative online international learning projects; virtual student exchange; and with Penn State joining as a new partner in the International Conference of Undergraduate Research.
- The US accounts for almost half of the total international investment in Monash research (A$47 million in 2020, the last full year of data available).
- The University built new links in Chile, Mexico and Brazil, including with Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, University of São Paulo, Tecnológico de Monterrey, and the Universidade Paulista (UNIP).
- Monash welcomed sponsored students funded by the Fundación para el Futuro de Colombia scholarship program (COLFUTURO), with 22 per cent of the Australian cohort choosing Monash as their study destination, and 33 Colombian students receiving funding.
International student mobility
- International travel restrictions continued to affect student travel and resulted in the cancellation of all physical mobility programs in 2021.
- Intercultural learning as a key feature of the Monash student experience, expanding the global online learning opportunities on offer and promoting cross-border learning through innovative digital platforms and formats.
- In total, 405 Monash students (as of November 2021) participated in 17 curricular and co-curricular global online programs such as the Monash Warwick Alliance Intensive Study Program, virtual student exchange programming through Pennsylvania State University’s ‘World Campus’, and collaborative online international learning initiatives, several of which were supported through New Colombo Plan funding.
- Based on figures reported in 2021, Monash was the largest exporter of research services in the Group of Eight, securing almost $98 million in 2020 (Higher Education Research Data Collection Category 3 international income).
- Monash academics contributed to 6634 international co-publications in 2020 (the last full year of data available), an increase from 5959 in the previous year. Of these, the top three countries for collaboration were the US, the UK, and China.
- By the end of December 2021, Monash had produced more international co-publications in 2021 (7457) than in the full year of 2020 (6634).
Monash University has continues to build deeper connections and enduring partnerships with industry, government and global communities.
The Woodside Monash partnership
- The largest single industry-academia partnership has totalled $66.5 million to date.
- The partnership attracted global recognition in 2021, including:
- Australian Financial Review Higher Education Award in Industry Engagement
- Engagement Australia Excellence Award – Excellence in Industry Engagement
- The Monash Carbon Capture and Conversion team, mentored by academic leaders of the Monash Woodside Partnership, was recognised with a US$250,000 global XPRIZE Carbon Removal Student Prize for its work to develop innovative, sustainable CO2 removal solutions.
Monash Food Innovation (MFI)
- Successfully concluded the New Frontiers Innovation Program, partnering with Singaporean small-to medium enterprises, to provide the opportunity for 34 students to work across five industry partners in developing innovative solutions to industry-defined business challenges.
- Facilitated an innovation course in the Master of Food Science and Agribusiness course.
Monash Industry Team Initiative
- 54 student placements across 14 industry partners in the 2021-22 program.
- Alignment and scaling through Monash Industry Team Initiative and MFI frontier programs provided work-integrated learning recognition across the University.
- Sharp focus on addressing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Investment was provided by local, state and federal governments to develop and delivering a range of initiatives including COVID-19 vaccines, manufacturing resilience, community and public safety enhancements, and environment and circular economy leadership.
- Significant effort was also invested in supporting the development of public policy via responses to government reviews and discussion papers.
The Monash Technology Precinct
- Played a leading role in the establishment of the Monash Precinct Network in collaboration with key precinct and government partners.
- The network hosted multiple activities in 2021, creating opportunities for industry, government and researchers to connect, collaborate and deliver impactful initiatives.
- Facilitated the transfer of ownership of Water Sensitive Cities Australia, previously operating under the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities, to Monash for the continuation of research and enterprising endeavour.
- Coordinated the Modern Manufacturing Initiative with two projects shortlisted ($73 million).
- Embedded major project tools and resources into University-wide systems to support capability and consistent standards.
The Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @ Monash
- This hub connecting researchers and industry has been extended until 30 June 2023.
Monash University is collaborating with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV and GlaxoSmithKline to develop a novel, simple-to-use, inhaled form of oxytocin for the prevention of postpartum haemorrhage deaths.
Mental Health Training
In 2021, the Federal Government allocated an additional 12,000 undergraduate national-priority Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) for short courses. Through a competitive merit-based process. Monash was awarded CSPs for several undergraduate certificates, including mental health. Monash offered 200 places to aged care industry partners and first responder placement providers in semester one, and 800 places to Victoria Police in semester two.
- 110 new disclosures from researchers
- 31 commercial deals involving licences, options and assignments
- Attracted $24 million in new equity investment
- Spun out five new companies based on Monash University research and intellectual property
- Provided support to the portfolio of 21 spinout companies
- Two previously licenced Monash Technologies have entered clinical trials: PureTech Health and QPex Biopharma
A new Monash spinout to commercialise industrial-scale production of green ammonia, based on an electrochemical process to generate ammonia using nitrogen from the air and hydrogen from water, and powered by renewable electricity. Green ammonia is considered a leading candidate to replace heavy fuel oil as part of the decarbonisation of international shipping, and provides a carrier mechanism to transport ‘liquified’ renewable energy. Jupiter Ionics raised a seed round of $2.5 million from Tenacious Ventures and a consortium of angel investors.
A four-dimensional x-ray imaging technology providing a non-invasive means to understand real-time lung motion and airflow is Food and Drug Administration and Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved with clinical trials underway. A $28.9 million Medical Research Future Fund grant funding was announced in April 2021 for the Australian Lung Health Initiative.
A 2019 spinout using real-time inspection of hardware and cloud-based machine learning software to ensure consistent production quality in 2021 signed a deal with Volkswagen, following an earlier $1.6 million in capital-raising led by IP Group. Volkswagen will use the Additive Assurance AMiRIS™ solution to verify the quality of each manufactured component, to assure precise replication. The founders of this spinout benefited from the Monash Generator program, demonstrating a successful pathway from researcher to innovator through to commercial operation.
A new therapeutic approach to treat fibrosis, a condition associated with many chronic diseases where tissue damage leads to scarring and a loss of organ function. Inosi raised a seed round of $2.5 million from Tenacious Ventures and received $1.5 million seed funding from IP Group and Monash University, as well as $704,000 in funding from the Australian Government’s Targeted Translation Research Accelerator program.
Low FODMAP diet app
A partnership with ModifyHealth in the US to raise further awareness of the low FODMAP diet protocol and app to manage irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), following a recommendation by the American College of Gastroenterology. The partnership will increase engagement with consumers and healthcare providers, and expand awareness of the latest research and developments of the protocol.
A BioCurate spinout based on Monash IP to develop novel, innovative and targeted medicines that improve outcomes for cancer patients. The company is starting with its first-in-class agonist antibody, addressing current clinical challenges associated with immunotherapy, such as improving the rate and quality of response in a variety of solid tumours.
- Four Monash startups received investment from Galileo Ventures and two from Skalata Ventures – the two early stage venture capital funds that support startups emerging from university accelerators that Monash has invested in.
- Half the teams from the 2020 Accelerator Program had raised investment by year end.
- Mindset Health, which went through the 2017 Accelerator program, raised $6.7 million in 2021.
- The Centre for Monash Professional Development and Monash Online Education coordinated the development of 76 professional development offerings, 100 course implementations, eight new micro-credentials and awarded 1190 digital badges.
- Monash short online courses attracted almost 70,000 enrolments on the FutureLearn online learning platform.
- The Boot Camp program with Trilogy Education Services attracted 550 learners.
- The Monash Online offering was expanded to 23 courses in 13 disciplines.
- There were 1450 EFTSL students, an increase of 27 per cent when compared with 2020.
- Delivered innovative data solutions to support University decision-making and strategic direction, with key responsibilities across the areas of student load planning, institutional planning, institutional performance, and major opportunities.
- Implemented a new scholarship structure providing clarity for students and donors and focused on increasing the level of financial support to students from under-represented communities.
Equity, access and diversity – low socio economic status
- Access and participation rates for students from low-SES backgrounds increased – in 2021, 28.4 per cent of commencing domestic undergraduate students were from a low-SES background (an increase from 28 per cent in 2020), and 27 per cent of all domestic undergraduate students were from a low-SES background (an increase from 26.6 per cent in 2020). The proportion of students from low-SES communities accessing postgraduate study rose from 26.4 per cent in 2020 to 27.2 per cent in 2021.
- The Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) and Monash Guarantee Scheme continued to support students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds to access the University. There was an increase in students eligible for both schemes in 2021, which resulted in a higher number of offers being made to students from low- SES communities, and a subsequent increase in the number of enrolments of low-SES students. Due to new SEAS considerations, including the 2019 bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, there was a substantial increase in the number of offers under SEAS, from 1037 students in 2020 to 1677 students in 2021.
- In 2021, 14 new Monash Humanitarian Scholarships were awarded, with 63 students receiving a scholarship to cover full course fees and a study support allowance.
- The Access Monash Mentoring program delivered intensive one-on-one mentoring by Monash students to Year 11 and 12 students from low-SES backgrounds aspiring to attend university. In 2021, the program was successfully delivered online to 670 mentees across 41 schools, with the support of 449 mentors. Analysis of the mentoring program showed that mentees who enrol at Monash have a higher retention rate in comparison to other under-represented school students.
- Recruitment of students from low-SES communities for alumni mentoring programs continued to be a focus in 2021. The Betty Amsden AO Alumni Mentoring program supported a number of Monash final-year students from low-SES backgrounds to transition successfully into the workforce and beyond. On completion of the program, mentees expressed that they felt greater clarity regarding their career goals and aspirations, and greater preparedness for the transition to graduate positions or further study.