On behalf of The University of Queensland (UQ), we would like to invite you to attend the U21 Presidential Symposium, either in-person or online.

As part of the global network of research-intensive universities, UQ is honoured to host the prestigious U21 Annual Network Meeting and Presidential Symposium from April 26–28 2023. The theme for this year’s event is 'Partnering for change: what role do universities have in achieving a net-zero future?'.

Date: Wednesday 26 April 2023
Venue: Room 212, Sir Llew Edwards Building, UQ St Lucia campus – or online
Time: 1.15–5.15pm (AEST)
RSVP: Monday 24 April 2023 - registration is essential for in-person and online attendence 

Register to the Presidential Symposium 

The higher education sector has a critical role to play in the journey to Net Zero, in terms of reducing its own environmental footprint, by helping to develop new technologies, and by influencing high-level-decision making across public and private sectors.

With expert analysis from university leaders, research champions, and partners across industry and government, the Symposium will showcase how the U21 network can support the global energy sector to navigate the transition towards decarbonisation and achieve Net Zero emissions targets by 2050.


Time (AEST)





Professor Deborah Terry AO, Vice-Chancellor and President, The University of Queensland (UQ)

Mr Andrew Flannery, Chief Operating Officer, UQ (MC)

1:30-1:45pmKeynote addressAssociate Professor Simon Smart, Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation and UQ project leader for Net Zero Australia
1:45-2:30pmPanel 1: Teaching and learning to support a new energy future

The energy transition will transform the economy, creating millions of new renewable energy jobs, while also requiring the mainstreaming of green skills and competences in many existing occupations. This panel will unpack the role of universities in shaping a new generation of energy professionals and discuss the opportunities and challenges of embedding Net Zero ambitions across all career levels.

Chair: Dr Tony Heynen, Senior Lecturer/Program Coordinator, School of Chemical Engineering, UQ

Panellist: Professor Karen Mossman, Vice-President, Research, McMaster University

Panellist: Associate Professor Tao Ren, China-UK Low Carbon College, Shanghai Jio Tong University

Panellist: Professor Radenka Maric, Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Connecticut

2:30-3:15pmPanel 2: Harnessing interdisciplinary research expertise and knowledge leadership

By harnessing research strengths across diverse disciplines, such as the bioeconomy, universities can shift the global reliance on fossil fuels and find a balance between emissions and emissions reductions. This panel will explore how a collaborative approach to new materials, fuels, and technologies will lead to a cleaner and more prosperous future.

Chair: Professor Ben Hankamer, Professorial Research Fellow, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, UQ

Panellist: Professor Deanna D’Alessandro, Net Zero Initiative Director, Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow, School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney

Panellist: Assistant Professor Aura Istrate, Lecturer/Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin

Panellist: Associate Professor Chong Cheng Tung, China-UK Low Carbon College, Shanghai Jio Tong University

3:15-3:45pmAfternoon tea 

Concurrent case study presentations

Leveraging the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games to shape sustainable cities

Associate Professor Tim Kastelle, Director of External Engagement, School of Business; Director, Andrew Liveris Academy for Innovation and Leadership, UQ
Universities as living laboratories for Net ZeroProfessor Jaime Toney, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Solutions, The University of Glasgow
4:25-5:10pmPanel 3: Partnering with industry and government to drive policy agenda

To advance Net Zero policy, deep collaborations and meaningful partnerships are needed across a wide range of sectors. In this panel, experts will discuss how universities can work proactively with governments and industry to develop a robust energy road map and achieve impact on a global scale.
Chair: Dr Vigya Sharma, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, UQ

Panellist: Professor Karen Hussey, Deputy Director-General, Queensland Department of Environment and Science

Panellist: Associate Professor Sebastian Vicuna, Director of the Centre for Global Change; Department of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
5:10-5:15pmClosing remarksProfessor Aidan Byrne, Provost, UQ


Room 212, Sir Llew Edwards Building, UQ St Lucia campus – or online