Media releases

Raising the Bar makes post-work socialising a whole lot smarter

Published 15 March 2024

Experts swap lecture halls and boardrooms for local bars and pubs

On Tuesday 9 April, for one night only, 10 venues across Sydney will help boost your intellect and host 20 free talks about ‘Healthier Futures’ – with topics including the benefits of riding public transport with dogs, how big vape is hooking the next generation and wearable technology that can improve your mental health.

The University of Sydney and the City of Sydney have teamed up to bring the classroom to the pub, inviting 10 researchers and 10 entrepreneurs to combine their visions of a healthy future with Sydney’s thirst for knowledge.

University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Mark Scott says Raising the Bar is a wonderful way for locals to engage with research that shapes their city.

"At the University of Sydney, we believe in the power of knowledge to transform lives and shape the world for the better. Raising the Bar fits with our mission to make education accessible to all and foster a culture of lifelong learning."

Lord Mayor Clover Moore AO added: "Raising the Bar is a fantastic event that brings together renowned academics, industry pioneers, scholars and influential thinkers to inspire and inform through an array of free talks.

“This is an opportunity for the community to directly connect with and learn from academics and their work in a laid-back atmosphere."

This novel learning experience will be hosted by venues including Wayward Brewing Co., Fortress Sydney and Harry’s. Talks start at 6pm and 8pm at each venue. See if your local is taking part.

Some of the talks coming to your local

Riding in cars with dogs Dr Jennifer Kent

Almost half of Sydney’s households have one or more dogs, and research shows that Sydney’s dog owners are doing a lot of travel with their furry friends. In this talk, Dr Kent tells us how Sydney’s ban on pets on public transport promotes our love affair with cars – and the repercussions that might have.

“If we want Sydney to be a liveable, sustainable and global city, we need to let the dogs out on our public transport system,” says Dr Kent.

“Over 40 percent of Sydney’s households owns one or more dogs, but unlike many other cities around the world, we can’t take our dogs on public transport, making the joy of companion animal ownership a really car-dependent affair in Sydney.”

Tickets available now
6pm, Wayward Brewing Co., Camperdown. This venue is dog-friendly, bring along your four-legged friends!

__How big vape is hooking the next generation __ Associate Professor Becky Freeman

Associate Professor Freeman has been exploring the rise of cheap, flavoured, disposable vapes that are fuelling a new public health crisis. Her talk highlights how the tobacco industry has introduced nicotine to a new generation.

“Everything – from the packaging, to the flavours, to the marketing campaigns and of course the high-levels of nicotine – is aimed at hooking a new generation,” says Associate Professor Freeman.

“The tobacco industry is repeating history and targeting Generation Vape with its addictive products.”

Tickets available now
8pm, The Barrie, Chippendale

Can your health be programmed like an app? Pete Field, co-founder and CEO, Affectable Labs

Find out how emerging technologies are evolving to meet our biggest health needs. Three-time startup founder, Pete Field, asks if tech-driven personalised healthcare can solve some of our intractable health challenges and help us get the sleep we need to live our best lives.

“Our discussion ventures into the transformative potential of technology in personal health,” Pete said.

“By exploring the ways we can interface with our bodies, much like we do with technology, we uncover a new paradigm for enhancing human health. By actively engineering health, the future of health optimisation is not just a possibility but a reality.”

Tickets available now
8pm, The Abercrombie, Chippendale

Unravelling the mystery of your business carbon footprint
Afonso Firmo, co-founder and co-CEO, NetNada

Sustainability in business is no longer just a nice-to-have, it is becoming a license to operate., and consumer demand and mandatory sustainability reporting are on the rise. Afonso Firmo, from sustainability software company NetNada, will give an expert rundown on carbon measurement.

“Achieving really bold sustainability goals is possible when employees have the freedom to innovate,” Afonso said.

“In most companies, this requires investment in education and culture shifts that everyone has a role to play.”

Tickets available now
8pm, The Private Kitchen, Chippendale

Other University of Sydney speakers

  • Could understanding dark matter save the world? – Dr Ciaran O’Hare at Brix Distillers
  • Should local councils create better food systems? – Dr Belinda Reeve at Clare Bar
  • New neurological disease treatments (and a wobbly cat) – Dr Collin Anderson and Dr Daria Anderson at Fortress Sydney
  • Corridor cultures: gender and sexuality at school – Dr Victoria Rawlings at Harry’s
  • Is depression a form of jetlag? – Dr Jacob Crouse at Hermann’s Bar
  • How the disease detective stops outbreaks in their tracks – Associate Professor Meru Sheel at Soultrap
  • Changing reality with stories – Dr Tom Van Laer at The Abercrombie
  • Tiny tech delivers a global health knowledge shake-up – Associate Professor Manoj Thomas at The Private Kitchen

Other City of Sydney speakers

  • Biology and engineering meet to build a sustainable world – Sarah Berhane at Hotel Harry
  • Migrapreneurs can unlock a better future for all – Usman Iftikhar at Soultrap
  • How tickets for good is evolving capitalism – Jenny Chung at Clare Bar
  • The blueprint for building cooler cities – Emma Bacon at Fortress Sydney
  • Unleashing purposeful investment for a better world – Vis Vythilingam at Brix Distillers
  • Ocean advocacy is for everyone – Emily Rowland at Hermann’s Bar
  • Harnessing brain waves to improve mental health – Cameron Higgins at The Barrie
  • The future of electric flights - Siobhan Lyndon and Andrew Moore at Wayward Brewing.

Interviews with speakers available

Media enquiries University of Sydney: Juliet Rayner, 0418 374 544 | (outside normal business hours please call + 61 2 8627 0246)

City of Sydney: Elaine Kelly, 0477 362 559 |