Welcome to the Joint Congress and thank you to all of you who have come from overseas – believe me, those of us who live in Australia know how far away we are!
Melbourne was recently named the world’s most liveable city for the 5th year in a row by The Economist. We are particularly proud of our strong history and present strength in medical research with both the University of Melbourne and Monash University having highly-ranked medical schools. We are especially strong in immunology with great names of the past such as Burnet, Nossal, Jacques Miller, Ian Mackay, Peter Morris, Ian McKenzie and many others working here, as well as many current luminaries including of course Peter Doherty after whom a major institute has recently been named.
This is a great time of the year to visit Melbourne. Spring is very much in the air and Melbourne’s rather grey and wet winter and obsession with Australian Rules Football is over for the year. Spring to Melburnians means not only hay fever but the Spring Racing Carnival culminating in the Melbourne Cup, which was held two weeks ago, and the coming cricket season in which Australia will play against touring teams from New Zealand and the West Indies. The traditional Boxing Day test will be only just over when the Australian Open tennis championship begins. You can see Melbourne is sports mad and that is why our Congress Dinner will be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground – one of the world’s great stadiums and home of the 1956 Olympics as well as regular football and cricket matches – this year over 98000 people attended the football Grand Final.
But Melbourne is not just about sport – there is a rich multicultural society with nearly two centuries of diverse immigration resulting most obviously in a fantastic range of restaurants and local wines. I hope you will take the opportunity to enjoy these – in moderation of course. There are also many green spaces within our large city – make sure you leave time for a walk in our beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens that remind us of our colonial past. And use the tram network, laid out in the 19th Century when Melbourne was one of the richest cities in the world thanks to our Gold Rush, to get around town. It’s free in the CBD.
The most important thing of course is the opportunity for scientific exchange with colleagues from around the world and I hope you will agree our Program Committee has put together a really strong foundation for these discussions.
I look forward to meeting all of you here – please come and ask me for any local tips, I’ll be so happy to share!
IPITA - IXA - CTS 2015 Joint Congress