Dr Derek Collinge has redefined his position as Laboratory Manager for the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology within the ANU Research School of Biology to extend his impact beyond the laboratory.
He has redefined the ways the Centre interacts with professional staff across the School, to better manage relationships in a positive and constructive way.
With his passion for science, he leads the Centre's outreach programs in the ACT. He also coordinates a broad spectrum of science outreach activities encompassing local and interstate high schools, young adult events at Questacon and ministerial engagement events at Parliament House.
His outreach programs and ability to use photography to capture the essence of plant biology have been recognised with multiple awards for science communications photography.
Dr Collinge has a strong solutions-driven work ethic and initiates team-based problem solving processes that have helped drive forward the research and careers of many students and early career researchers.
He is an exemplar of professionalism in the workplace and has become a role model for interacting with staff, students and academics, having built extensive working relationships across all parts of the School.
He has completed numerous training courses on mental health, workplace disputes and conflict resolution, allowing him to proactively deal with and advise on often complex personal issues.
Dr Collinge's approachable demeanour and ability to connect with people of many backgrounds means he has become a valuable point of contact for staff and students needing to discuss personal and professional problems.
He has been heavily involved in a program to identify talented undergraduate students and provide them with an opportunity to join research laboratories to gain experience.
"I've always been a facilitator of research," he says. "By helping to solve the day-to-day problems of students, early career researchers and academics alike, I afford them more time to undertake world-class research and achieve their full professional and personal potential."