by Stephen Gray
As I write this final newsletter column for 2019, the natural place to start is to look back on many of the highlights of the year that is drawing to a close.

The most recent one, of course, is the success of this year’s CLEX workshop at the Hobart Function and Conference Centre. It’s a huge honour each year to be a part of the team that puts together this event which draws over 150 participants.  Feedback received during the workshop and in the subsequent online survey was very positive. Thank you particularly to those who took the time to offer suggestions for ways that next year’s workshop can be improved even more.

At the workshop, we took the opportunity to congratulate the winners of this year’s annual CLEX prizes. This whole column could be filled with individual congratulatory messages for those in the Centre who have won prizes, promotions, grants and fellowships this year. Several more columns could be written to congratulate all the unsung heroes in the centre who bring enthusiasm and dedication day-in-day-out, irrespective of seniority, titles or roles.

I would particularly like to mention the work of the CLEX operations and admin team, without whom the Centre would quickly grind to a halt. Alina, Christine, Jenny, Karla, Sook and Vilia do an absolutely tremendous job as individuals and as a team of professionals. I was recently invited by the ARC to give a presentation to incoming directors of the new 2020 Centres of Excellence. CLEX was acknowledged in that forum as being a leader in terms of operational best practice. This recognition is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of the fantastic group of people who work tirelessly to support the success of CLEX.

The Centre’s excellence in science communication and media impact was also recognised by the ARC by their invitation to Alvin Stone to present his expertise to new centre directors at the same forum. Alvin’s portfolio within CLEX is a very broad one, covering many facets of external and internal communications. He is very generous in sharing his time and expertise with researchers at all career stages within the Centre. Whether it’s help with editing a plain-language summary of your work to feature on the CLEX website; providing tips on making seemingly obscure research relevant and interesting to people outside your field; ideas on how to improve the effectiveness of scientific posters; or long term mentoring on how to work with the media, Alvin is on hand to help. With his guidance over several years, the Centre is well placed as a trustworthy, objective and independent source of expertise.

So on this positive note, I wish everyone a safe and happy summer break!