Australasian Colloid and Interface Society

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ACIS Newsletter – Issue 23, December 2020



Dear members,

Welcome to our 23rd issue of ACIS News! We produce a quarterly newsletter - sent around in February, May, September, and December - to keep ACIS members informed of our initiatives and for members to directly communicate with our Society. We publish job announcements, meetings of interests to our society, career development opportunities and any exciting research that you would like to share with us. To keep you up to date with the on-goings in our colloids society, please send your suggestions and items for the next newsletter to


President’s Corner

Welcome to the second ‘President’s Corner’. This time around I would like to talk about the dirty little word ‘grants’. Of course I would like to congratulate those among us that were successful in the recent ARC and NHMRC grant announcements. However it does highlight the gulf between success and ‘not successful’ applications – and it is not just a financial gulf. The voice of experience tells me that grants from the major funding schemes are more about validation than they are about obtaining sufficient resources to effectively conduct research. Receiving the validation is a fantastic feeling, it makes it worth the effort, you get the pats on the back (in a Covid-safe manner of course) and congratulatory emails; the flipside is that for every one that has that feeling there are 6-7 that have the opposite and there is a mental health penalty that is paid for that. They put in all the effort (often much more), and their achievement in pulling together and submitting a grant should be celebrated – grants are an input not an output and there should be appropriate perspective around that. Unfortunately promotion committees rarely seriously recognise grant submission, only grant success. I believe in the case of industry co-funded schemes (e.g. in Australia the various Linkage programs) that this approach is even more misguided – to convince an industry partner to commit often substantial amounts of cash to a project is high validation even if the grant is unsuccessful. A Linkage application should be weighted more than a successful Discovery/Marsden grant in my opinion (again the ‘President’s Corner’ is all about opinion and I am happy to debate when we next meet!).

So, what can we do about it?

Celebrate the submission as an achievement even if only with yourself! Pat colleagues on the back in early March when grants are submitted, not just in November when the results are released.

As content experts we see a lot of each other’s grants. The temptation is to consider them competition, which automatically introduces bias in review but we are in such disperse interdisciplinary groupings that there is so much more competition at the panel level that our impact on each other’s chances is negligible. We cannot continue to pull down each other’s grants over nit picky points – sure if a grant is completely flawed it needs to be pointed out, but be mindful of the subtle or not so subtle negative comment that really does not need to be made in the big picture – less familiar panel members will grab them and run with them.

Support your colleagues, as we lift the profile of colloid science all of us can find success.

The Board keen to have an event in the next fortnight or so before Christmas to assist those putting together DPs for the next round. The form of this is not yet sorted, but keep an eye out for it, as one spot in the rankings can make all the difference. This is not meant to replace the resources provided by your institution but be more about advice from those closer to your science. If you have ideas for what would be useful and/or would like to contribute please let me know.

Best regards and all the best however you celebrate the upcoming holidays!

Ben Boyd



ACIS 2021 Hub Conference Update

Abstract submission is open! Please submit your abstracts through the ACIS website before the deadline of Friday 11th December.

Poster abstracts will be accepted until Friday January 8th. Those attending a hub will be able to present their poster in person, and those attending online only will have the option of submitting a 3 minute, 3 slide presentation to accompany their poster that will be screened to all participants.

Registration is open, and officially closes on 31st December. Some hub venues have limited capacities, so please register early to indicate your hub preferences and guarantee your place.

Plenary speakers have been announced, and we have a world-leading lineup of exciting science to share:

Jennifer Lewis - Harvard University

Howard Stone - Princeton University

Monica Olvera de la Cruz - Northwestern University

Wilson Poon - University of Edinburgh

Key dates:

Oral presentation abstracts close: 11th December 2020

Poster presentation abstracts close: 8th January 2021

Registrations close: 31st December 2020


To submit your abstract and register please visit the ACIS 2021 website.


Non-Academic Career Pathways Event – Recap

In November, the ACIS Equity & Diversity committee (including Geosmin Turpin, Hana Shiraz and Charlotte Conn, ably assisted by Aaron Elbourne) held a panel session focussed on non-academic career pathways. ACIS ECR members had the opportunity to hear from a range of excellent speakers and panelists including Miles Kenyon, DMTC, Michael Saleh, ANSTO, Dr. Annabella Newton, Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick, Dr. Melanie Bradley, Orica and Dr. Gavin Styles, Dept. of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Topics covered included the need for networking, the importance of having a strong mentor, and building communication skills. Audience members also benefitted from experiencing the wide range of different career paths described. We thank the speakers and organisers for their hard work on this event. Given the strong interest and participation in this event, ACIS hopes to run something similar next year so stay tuned!


Call for Nominations to the ACIS Board of Directors

The call for nominations to the ACIS Board of Directors is now open. We have four Directors rotating off the Board so there are lots of opportunities for people to get involved at a very exciting time for the society.

Nominations to the Board of Directors

Members are invited to nominate candidates as Directors of the Board of ACIS. As defined in the Constitution, the term of a Director is three years. We are looking to elect up to four new Directors at the 2021 AGM.

Nomination and voting procedures

·       The Director nomination form is available from the ACIS website and is to be completed by the candidate, a nominating member and a seconding member (electronic signatures are acceptable). Nominees need to prepare a statement of approximately 100 words about themselves and their vision for ACIS, plus a one-page CV containing current appointment, employment history, and relevant evidence of impact (please note - without this information in addition to the completed form, the nomination is ineligible). The director nomination form, together with the statement and one –page CV, need to be emailed to the Secretary at by 5pm AEDT Friday 22nd January 2021. If more than four nominations are received, electronic voting will be conducted in the lead up to the AGM. The AGM is being held at ACIS – exact timing will be confirmed, but it will be between the 8th and 11th of February 2021.

·       Please note, all candidates, nominating members and seconding members must be financial members of ACIS. You can check your current membership status on the Society’s website by logging in and going to the membership tab.


Grant Success

There were many members of the ACIS community who were successful in their applications in the latest Discovery and Linkage Programs announced by the ARC and those announced by the NHMRC. Many congratulations to them all!

Following on from the theme of the President’s Corner, we also commiserate with those who did not receive the news they were hoping and acknowledge the hard work and dedication you put into your applications.


Eureka Prize Congratulations!

We would like to offer our congratulations to the team of Ben Boyd, Malinda Salim, Andrew Clulow, Gisela Ramirez from Monash University and Adrian Hawley from the Australian Synchrotron on being awarded the Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology. Their work focuses on understanding how milk and similar systems can be used to enhance oral drug delivery. With the outcome of developing novel formulations for progressing safe drugs for children, including the first ever single dose cure for malaria.

More information on the project can be found here.


Breakthrough for the Catalytic Production of Biodiesel from Waste Vegetable Oils

Members of the ACIS community recently enjoyed significant success as their article featured on the front cover of the journal Nature Catalysis. The article, featuring contributions from RMIT University and the University of Western Australia, together with international partners in the UK, describes the synthesis and characterisation of a new spatially orthogonal hierarchically porous catalyst material. The hierarchical meso/macroporous framework, produced via a novel dual-templating technique, was designed to exhibit spatially segregated acid and base active sites contained within pores of different sizes. This work demonstrated that the active site compartmentalisation and substrate channelling characteristics of this new material protects base-catalysed triacylglyceride transesterification from poisoning by free fatty acid impurities (a major breakthrough for the catalytic production of biodiesel from waste vegetable oils), and promotes efficient two-step cascade reactions requiring acid and base activation in series.

‘A spatially orthogonal hierarchically porous acid-base catalyst for cascade and antagonistic reactions’, with contributions from RMIT University, University of Western Australia, University College London, University of Manchester, University of Plymouth, Aston University, Durham University, ShanghaiTech University and University of Leeds, is published in Nature Catalysis (DOI: 10.1038/s41929-020-00526-5).



ACIS Best PhD Thesis Award

The ACIS Best Thesis prize is awarded annually to the candidate who is judged to have completed the most outstanding PhD thesis in a branch of Colloid and Interface Science undertaken at an Australian or New Zealand University, and whose degree has been approved, but not necessarily conferred, in the previous 13 months. The award will take the form of a $500 cash prize and a certificate.

A full description and award terms can be viewed here.

Key Dates:

Applications close: 14th December 2020 (new extended date!)

Further Information:

For the requirements of the award and further information please contact Prof. Gunther Andersson, Chair of the Awards Committee of ACIS:

Nominations should be sent to:


ACIS ECR Lectureship Award

The Australasian Colloid and Interface Society has established an annual Lectureship to allow outstanding, recently appointed, colloid and interface research scientists to travel around Australia and New Zealand to present the results of their research work. The objective is to provide the Lecturer with the opportunity to achieve broader recognition and exposure at an early stage in their career. This will also help them to develop their network, engage active collaborations, and become invested in the Australian colloid and interface science community.

A full description and award terms can be viewed here.

Key Dates:

Applications close: 14th December 2020 (new extended date!)

Further Information:

For the requirements of the award and further information please contact Prof. Gunther Andersson, Chair of the Awards Committee of ACIS:

Nominations should be sent to:



Lipid Structure in Pharmaceutical Formulations

We’re looking for a postdoc to work on an industry funded project looking at lipid structure in pharmaceutical formulations for one year. PhD in chemistry or related field, experience with soft matter, light and X-ray scattering techniques are essential, cell culture experience and electron microscopy experience are preferred. The project will be carried out in the Self-Assembled Systems group at the University of Newcastle in collaboration with Dr Livia Salvati Manni at University of Sydney.

Send your CV and cover letter to Dr Khay Fong via email



Join our Awards, Communications, Conferences and Events Committees

ACIS needs its members to be actively engaged. Please let us know if you would like to be involved in the committees that will run the activities of the Society: Awards; Communications; Conferences and Events. Or if you would like to propose other activities we should be running. We especially invite students and early-career researchers to become involved. Please email your interest to

Visiting Scientist Register

Are you planning to host a visit by an outstanding scientist in the colloid and interface field? Why not let ACIS members know about the visit? We aim to keep track of visiting scientists, to facilitate their introduction to the Australasian scientific community. Please email details of the visit to

ACIS Membership

Please encourage your colleagues, students and industrial partners working in the field of colloids and interface to join us. General membership is $100 per annum. The membership year is from 1st March each year. Memberships paid after this date are valid until 28th February of the following year. More information is available on our website


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ACIS is now present on LinkedIn. Please join our LinkedIn group and post discussion items on job ads, conference calls, and interesting facts about the wonderful world of colloid and surface science.



The Newsletter team is:

Christine Browne –