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CEO report

Photo of Shaun Jenkinson

On behalf of Dr Adi Paterson and the Senior Leadership team, the financial year 2019-2020 has presented unprecedented challenges, and I am proud of the role ANSTO has played in supporting both Government and industry in responding to these challenges.

Despite living and working in a pandemic, our staff have shown great resilience, agility and unfailing dedication to continuing to safely deliver essential research, nuclear medicines and other products and services to support Australia.

The macromolecular crystallography beamline at ANSTO's Australian Synchrotron on our Clayton campus has played a key role in Australia’s fight against COVID-19. The beamline essentially produced a molecular map of the protein structures within the virus that causes COVID-19. This information is vital for the development of a vaccine and in screening potential therapeutic drugs to block the ability of the virus to infect and replicate in the body.

Despite COVID-19, ANSTO has made progress across our key projects, including the installation of supporting infrastructure for the first of the new beamlines for the Australian Synchrotron as part of BRIGHT Project. ANSTO’s Innovation Precinct continued to build momentum, and I welcome the ongoing support from the NSW Government in the development of the Greater Sydney Commission’s ANSTO Collaboration Area Place Strategy in May 2020.

Industry graduates are key to delivering ingenious thinking and new solutions for industry. In December 2019 we launched the Graduate Institute, with the first cohort of graduates being supported by the NSW Government. We have called for applications for a second wave of graduates in recent months. I am excited to see this develop alongside the success of nandin, which now has 16 start-ups or entrepreneurs working within the ANSTO precinct in Southern Sydney.

ANSTO manufactures and distributes nuclear medicines that are essential to the diagnosis of a range of cancers as well as heart, brain, bone and endocrine diseases. ANSTO also produces therapeutic nuclear medicine products. Applied Molecular Therapies Pty Ltd (AMT), a joint venture company between ANSTO and Australian radiopharmaceutical company Cyclotek, is in now in the establishment phase. The venture was formed to develop, manufacture and supply therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals within Australia and in the Asia-Pacific, and will be a focus for the next four years.

Enabled by our OPAL multi-purpose reactor, ANSTO is a global leader in the irradiation of silicon, which is ultimately used in high power high voltage applications such as power infrastructure. Experiencing a growth of 13 per cent over the reporting period, Australia now holds more than 58 per cent of the global market ANSTO is also well placed to become a global leader in the advanced manufacturing of nuclear medicines as the new Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) Manufacturing Facility continues to develop.

Our people are at the heart of our successes and I am pleased that so many ANSTO staff members have been acknowledged this year.

As part of the University of Wollongong (UOW) led 'Blue Carbon Horizons Team', Dr Debashish Mazumder and Atun Zawadski won the 2019 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Environmental Research.

Long-time employee Michael Druce was awarded a Public Service Medal in the 2020 Australia Day honours for his outstanding service to nuclear medicine production.

Professor Vanessa Peterson was the first female ever to receive both the 2020 Bob Cheary Award for Excellence in Diffraction Analysis by the Australian X-ray Analytical Association and the Australian Neutron Beam Users Group (ANBUG) neutron award for "Outstanding research in neutron science and leadership promoting the Australian neutron scattering community”.

To support the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experts, ANSTO proudly supported this year’s International Youth in Nuclear Conference (IYNC) in Sydney in March, which was attended by 298 of the world's brightest young STEM minds from 43 different countries.

ANSTO is in a strong position for future research and developments. The appointment of a new Chief Operating Officer and a Group Executive Research Translation will strengthen our Senior Leadership team into the future. The establishment of the Nuclear Precinct on the Lucas Heights Campus in Sydney will ensure we continue to manage our activities in a safe, secure and sustainable manner.

I would like to thank our Board for their contribution and good governance of ANSTO over the past year, and again acknowledge the tremendous efforts of our staff during this challenging period.

Shaun Jenkinson
Acting Chief Executive Officer