Hearing Festival of Ideas

More than 100 researchers and big thinkers from across the University gathered in one room on Friday 10 August to spark ideas and generate global solutions for hearing health care.

Event organiser Dr Erin Semon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Sakkie Pretorius and Professor Mike Withford were among more than 100 staff participating in the Hearing Festival of Ideas.

The Hearing Festival of Ideas – based on the successful 2013 Festival of Ideas event format that helped shape the University’s current Research Framework – was designed to harness the power of Macquarie’s interdisciplinary thinking, with staff working in cross-departmental teams to brainstorm solutions for hearing loss, prevention and care.

Key industry partners were welcomed to the afternoon session to hear the innovative ideas, with participants then invited to ‘fund’ ideas with mock dollars (distributed, naturally, by the University’s Chief Financial Officer Robin Payne). Several of the ideas were identified as having commercial potential.

Director of Hearing Research, Professor David McAlpine said it was exciting to witness so many great minds working together to improve the lives of the one-in-six Australians that suffer from hearing loss.

“The Australian Hearing Hub is already a world leader in hearing research,” he said.
“By collaborating with our colleagues across the University today, we can achieve even greater things.”

Building lego
The day started with an icebreaker activity whereby participants created a Lego model that represented what they could bring to the discussion.

Professor Sakkie Pretorius, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, says the event was a fantastic demonstration of what can be achieved when the collective brain power of Macquarie people is harnessed.

“The passion and engagement of everyone in the room led to some truly inspirational ideas,” he says. “The event has started an exciting conversation and direction for Macquarie’s hearing strategy.”