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Know How CRCA.ASN.AU • MAY 2018 • ISSUE 8
BIGGEST NEW EXPORT Defence is a high-tech revenue stream gearing up for growth
How CRC research affects your world p12
Smart lighting can help you sleep safer p15
THE BUSINESS OF CYBERSAFETY How to stay protected p30
DIGITAL HEALTH • CANCER’S NEW FRONTIER • INDUSTRY PHDS • CRCS’ VALLEY OF DEATH
BY THE NUMBERS
Cooperative Research Centres in figures $300 million
THE AMOUNT OF ROYALTIES PRODUCED FOR CRC PARTNERS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CONTACT LENSES FROM CHIEF BODIES, VISION CRC AND CRC FOR EYE RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY. A FURTHER $1.5 BILLION WAS GENERATED IN CASH AND IN-KIND INVESTMENT.
THE YEAR THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT BEGAN ITS CRC FUNDING PROGRAM. SINCE THEN, $4.6 BILLION HAS BEEN PLEDGED TO 221 CRCS AND 63 CRC-BACKED PROJECTS, WITH ADDITIONAL FUNDING PROVIDED BY INDUSTRY PARTNERS.
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA LIVING WITH CHRONIC MENTAL CONDITIONS. DATA TO DECISIONS CRC HAS DEVELOPED AN APP USING MACHINE LEARNING THAT GATHERS AND STORES PATIENT DATA TO MONITOR THEIR CONDITION. ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR BIDARGADDI HAS RECEIVED A $179,118 GRANT FROM THE MEDICAL RESEARCH FUTURE FUND TRANSLATING RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE (TRIP) FELLOWSHIP IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE APP.
INVESTED BY INNOVATIVE MANUFACTURING CRC INTO 3D PRINTING AND PLASTICS REPAIR RESEARCH FOR THE AUTOMOTIVE COLLISION INDUSTRY. INDUSTRY PARTNER, TRADIEBOT AND SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AIM TO RESEARCH MATERIALS COMPATIBILITY AND ANALYSIS METHODS TO REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL AND FINANCIAL WASTE IN THE INDUSTRY.
THE NUMBER OF RESEARCH PROJECTS RUNNING FROM THE CRC FOR HONEY BEE PRODUCTS, WITH A BUDGET OF $7 MILLION. THEIR MAIN RESEARCH CONCERNS INCLUDE HIVE HEALTH AND MANAGEMENT, INCLUDING PROTEOMIC STUDIES INTO THE VARROA MITE PARASITE, WHICH IS THREATENING COLONIES WORLDWIDE.
THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT HAS PLEDGED $50 MILLION UNTIL 2025 TO A CYBERSECURITY CRC WITH ROOTS IN INDUSTRY. AN ADDITIONAL $89.9 MILLION WILL BE PROVIDED BY INDUSTRY SPONSORS FROM CASH AND IN-KIND DONATIONS.
THE RECORD-MAKING 2017 AUCTION PRICE OF A SINGLE RAM ON KANGAROO ISLAND. AUCTION PRICES HAVE IMPROVED OVERALL THANKS TO GENETIC SELECTION APP RAMSELECT, DEVELOPED BY THE SHEEP CRC THAT NOW REPRESENTS 10% OF THE MARKET IN AUSTRALIA.
THE NUMBER OF FLOOD-RELATED DEATHS RECORDED FROM 1900â€“2015. NSW STATE EMERGENCY SERVICES AND QLD EMERGENCY SERVICES ARE IMPROVING THEIR TRAINING AND SERVICES USING DATA COLLECTED BY THE BUSHFIRE AND NATURAL HAZARDS CRC ON DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS IMPACTING THESE DEATHS: AGE, GENDER AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE FATALITIES.
Australia’s legacy of innovation
Senator the Hon Zed Seselja
CRCs are a proven collaboration program available to researchers and businesses large and small.
Australia is a nation full of ideas. From the Hills Hoist to the aircraft black box, Australians have a long history of identifying problems, coming up with innovative solutions, and finding a way to bring those solutions out of the lab and into the hands of consumers. Research and innovation aren’t just buzzwords — they are processes and practices that have been proven to lead to a better standard of living for all Australians. And when it comes to research and innovation, we are world-beaters. It is through innovation, research and collaboration that we have been able to build one of the strongest economies in the world. As the Australian Government’s longestrunning grant program, the Cooperative Research Centres Program is at the heart of the effort to bring researchers and industry together to focus on solving industry-related problems and finding applied and commercial solutions. Over the history of the program the Department of Industry, Innovation and
Science has provided support to 221 CRCs and 63 CRC-Ps with $4.6 billion in government funding. Participants have contributed a further $14.3 billion in cash and in-kind contributions. CRCs are available to researchers and businesses both large and small. The introduction of the CRC Projects element to the program in 2015 provided small businesses with a new avenue to participate in collaborative research. The first CRC Project — the Metastatic Cancer Diagnostic CRC-P — has already been completed and produced a new test to detect a cancer marker in blood tests. It is this sort of research and innovation that Australia excels at, and the Government is proud to have provided support through the CRC Program. I am committed to seeing the CRC Program’s legacy continue into the future, and I look forward to seeing your collaborations result in the next great Australian discovery.
13 28 46 Delivered by AusIndustry™
The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community to deliver outcomes that will improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industry. The CRC Program is delivered by AusIndustry in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and is open to all industry sectors and research disciplines with funds awarded through open competitive funding rounds. The CRC Program contains two funding streams: • CRC grants – supporting medium to long term industry-led collaborations, up to 10 years with no specified funding limit. • CRC Project grants – supporting short term, industry-led collaborative research, up to three years and $3 million. For further details on CRC and CRC Project funding rounds and how to apply visit business.gov.au or phone 13 28 46.
12 | What CRCs mean to you
5 | News in brief
28 | Partnerships driving next generation defence technologies
Innovations that are making a difference.
14 | Waking up to a big problem
Inadequate sleep costs Australians over $60 billion a year. New research into sleep disorders promises big benefits to our society and the economy.
18 | Data driving digital health
Data is the force behind an extraordinary drive in health innovation.
22 | From petri dish to marketplace
See the real results from 28 years of Australia’s CRC Program.
24 | Why can’t my Uber find me?
We are getting so precise with data that new issues are emerging, like marrying the precision of GPS with the planetshaping forces of continental shift.
26| The autonomous future of warfare
The newly formed Defence Cooperative Research Centre for Trusted Autonomous Systems has robot development at the forefront of our future.
30 | Are you protected?
New cyberthreats are constantly emerging, which is why D2D CRC is leading the way in predicting cyberattacks — helping businesses stay a step ahead of the criminals.
34 | Bridging innovation’s valley of death
The road from great science to commercial victory can be treacherous. See how three CRCs negotiated potential ‘valleys of death’ to get to market.
CRC updates to know now.
7 | New CRCs in town
Australia’s unique honey industry is on show and our agricultural trades are reaping the benefits.
8 | End of an era
The CRC for Remote Economic Participation and Deep Exploration Technologies CRC wrap it up.
11 | Preparing for severe fire risk
How the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC works with multiple partners to help protect against the harsh Australian bushfire season.
36 | Farming frontier
Sally Leigo is bringing technology to paddocks across Australia.
Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinksy on delivering solutions for defence and national security.
38 | Collaboration works
Tony Peacock talks working together.
CAREERS 20 | Mental health support for graduates
The Mental Health CRC has developed a support group program for PhD students.
21 | Young innovators
From rail track and manufacturing innovation to gut-microbial interaction and dental enamel: meet the six finalists for the CQ University Showcasing Early Career Researchers awards.
SPOTLIGHT 6 | Training rail’s researchers for tomorrow Rail is a growing industry sector and Australian researchers are building innovations that can apply worldwide.
9 | Research doesn’t begin and end in a laboratory
The Lowitja Institute focuses on maximising the positive impact of research through knowledge translation.
9 | Taming toxic pollution CRC CARE is addressing the issue of environmental contaminants with effective real-world solutions.
10 | Unearthing resource value
Two headline technologies for the mining sector are optimising the mining process. 4
15 | Light in tune with us creates healthier spaces
The Alertness CRC has developed a world-first software program optimising lighting for alertness, safety and productivity.
16 | From cell to accessible therapy: the future of regenerative medicine The cell and gene therapy industry is the fastest growing sector of regenerative medicine.
29 | Testing Australia’s top aircraft
Research at ANSTO into innovative technologies for the repair and maintenance of military aircraft will have implications for the service life of commercial and passenger aircraft.
IN THE NEWS
NEWS FROM CURRENT MEMBERS New CRC
The Mineral Exploration (MinEx) CRC was announced on 29 Mar 2018 as part of the 19th Round of CRC approvals. The CRC will produce research aimed at better equipping the mining and resources sector, including the delivery of more productive, safer and environmentally friendly drilling methods, introduction of new technologies for collecting data while drilling, and the collection of new exploration data on never-before-sampled rocks across Australia.
Autism and Agriculture
Put your sleep to work ALERTNESS CRC Researchers from the Alertness CRC have worked with Philips to develop wearable technology that can improve quality of sleep, increase daytime energy and reduce daytime sleepiness in people who sleep for less than seven hours a night. The system incorporates an app plus a smart headband that monitors your sleep stage and generates tones that enhance the ‘slow wave’ sleep cycle, improving the body’s mental rejuvenation process. www.philips.com/smartsleep
AUTISM CRC AND PORK CRC Sixteen adults on the autism spectrum now work in specialist animal-care roles through the Autism and Agriculture project. SunPork Farms and Autism CRC supported by the South Australian Government and Pork CRC are developing career paths for autistic individuals. Since 2016, Specialisterne Australia has provided workshops, recruitment tools and selection processes for staff and extended training programs for SunPork management. www.sunporkfreshfoods.com.au/ commitment/autism-and-agriculture-2
AskBill — all about Sheep CRC FOR SHEEP INDUSTRY INNOVATION AskBill is a software package farmers can run on their own sheep farm to report on pasture growth and overall animal performance. www.askbill.com.au
Early test for Neurodegenerative diseases
Personalised earbuds launch
HEARING CRC Tailored wireless earbuds are on the market. The earbuds use artificial intelligence as well as a prescription procedure developed for hearing aids by Hearing CRC, to calibrate the earbuds to best suit individual hearing preferences. www.nuheara.com/nuheara-partnershearing-crc-national-acoustic-laboratories
Research which makes a difference The University of Tasmania remains one of the best performing universities in the country in our ability to secure Commonwealth collaborative funding to carry out large, long-term industry-driven partnerships. Our persistent pursuit for research excellence and dedication to high quality partnerships is making this University the go-to institution for those interested in making a difference.
CRICOS Provider Code: 00586B
CRC FOR MENTAL HEALTH CRCMH researchers are using metal and protein analysis scans to find biomarkers to identify early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. mentalhealthcrc.com
KNOWHOW + RAIL MANUFACTURING CRC
Training rail researchers for tomorrow Rail is a growing sector, where Australian researchers who design better maintenance schemes and find more efficient energy sources can build innovations that apply worldwide, Cherese Sonkkila reports.
Dr Stuart Thomson, CEO of the Rail Manufacturing CRC (fourth from left) and Michael McLellan, managing director, Knorr-Bremse Australia (sixth from left) at the CRC’s PhD student forum in January 2018.
Australia’s growing rail industry contributes $26 billion a year to the economy, 1.6% of GDP, and over 140,000 jobs. Both heavy and light rail are expanding in places like the Gold Coast, Canberra and Melbourne, while Sydney will soon have the nation’s first driverless trains. “This growth means there’s a big opportunity for Australian businesses to get into the market and supply the rail sector, but to be successful they have to innovate,” says Dr Stuart Thomson, CEO of the Rail Manufacturing CRC. For the past three years, Knorr-Bremse Australia — which specialises in manufacturing braking, air-conditioning and other components for trains — has partnered with the Rail Manufacturing CRC on a number of projects. “The rail industry has to innovate because it needs to be more efficient,” says Michael McLellan, Knorr-Bremse Australia’s managing director. “The government is spending a lot of money on infrastructure and they expect a return. The Rail Manufacturing CRC helps us develop innovative products and the key to doing that is matching us with very good research and development partners.” Knorr-Bremse has been collaborating with CSIRO on a Rail Manufacturing CRC project that monitors how heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) components perform under different conditions. Researchers monitor these components under both laboratory and field conditions to understand what could cause a failure and to help identify the best maintenance regimes. Thomson says the collaboration has been very successful. “There’s information coming 6
from Knorr-Bremse about their needs, with data about their components. The CSIRO are then taking that information and developing testing regimes and experimental components. This will help Knorr-Bremse deliver products that are more efficient and durable.” In another RM-CRC project, Knorr-Bremse is investigating more energy-efficient sources for their components. “We’re choosing alternative and renewable energy sources for the operation of HVAC systems,” says Thomson. “We’ve seen the cost of batteries come down exponentially over the last five years,” he adds. “It’s an ever changing field and our project will ensure we’re able to keep Knorr-Bremse ahead of the curve.” Partnerships with research and development are critical for the rail industry moving forward, according to Thomson. “Within rail at the moment, less than 1% of our employees have research experience, but we want to change that. There’s a great deal of opportunities for graduates and post-doctoral students to enter the industry.” Building relationships between industry and research organisations can create tangible success, adds Thomson. He also believes these connections are sustainable long term. “These relationships are strong because researchers and engineers get to know each other well, plus there’s the ongoing relationship between the company, the research providers and the Rail Manufacturing CRC,” he says.
IN THE NEWS
NEW CRC IN TOWN: CREATING SWEET FLAVOURS The CRC for Honeybee Products seeks to showcase Australia’s unique honey industry and strengthen agricultural security, Brendan Fitzpatrick reports. The recent rare blooming of a karri forest in Western Australia has many honey producers buzzing with excitement. Karri honey has a uniquely delicate flavour and because the red gum trees seldom flower, the honey is a connoisseur’s delight that attracts high prices. Honey gourmands are becoming more prevalent as chefs and foodies realise that like wine and cheese, honey properties vary widely according to where it is sourced. Australia’s rare and unusual forests produce remarkable honey, and the CRC for Honey Bee Products (CRCHBP) aims to raise the market value of Australian honey bee produce. Australia’s native flora has created an opportunity to develop a niche market of rare honey products. The CRCHBP seeks to resolve problems facing the Australian honey bee products industry and focuses on improved management in four key areas: hive sites, bee health, honey product development and chain of custody — a type of nectar-to-plate provenance system. Liz Barbour, CEO of CRCHBP, says healthy bees are essential to Australia’s agriculture economy. “We have one of the healthiest honey bee populations in the world and through quarantine efforts, bee diseases, including the sucking mite, Varroa, have not yet reached Australian shores,” she says. Australian honey bee products are currently valued at $125 million. These include honey, beeswax, pollen, royal jelly and venom. A further $6.5 billion of farm gate value is generated with 44 food crops relying on honey bee pollination. Experts predict that if a major bee disease was to arrive in Australia, national agricultural production would decline by 26%, equivalent to a consumer surplus loss of between $12.4 billion and $27.2 billion.
“We have one of the healthiest honey bee populations in the world.”
KNOWHOW + LOWITJA + CRC CARE
Research doesn’t begin and end in a laboratory At the Lowitja Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC we focus on maximising the positive impact of the research we fund through knowledge translation activities. These activities continue the engagement between communities, policymakers and researchers to understand and further that impact. The Better Genetic Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (BIG) project is an example of taking medical and laboratory-based science and service provision and applying it in ways that deliver a real benefit for Australia’s First Peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are under-represented in genetic
Joyce Lalara and Jennifer Carr, MJD project researchers.
health services despite having higher prevalence of a number of genetically determined conditions. For example, the prevalence of Machado Joseph Disease (MJD) is estimated to be 100 times greater in affected Aboriginal communities of the Top End than anywhere else in the world. Working alongside the BIG project, the Anindilyakwa people of the Groote Eylandt Archipelago have driven research to reduce the devastating impact of MJD on their families and community. The project — developing a physical activity program for Aboriginal families with MJD living in the Top End of Australia — will develop an evidence-informed physical activity program for individuals and families with MJD.
The BIG project will develop and trial strategies to strengthen capacity for the provision of culturally safe genetic health services, and identify gaps in the journey taken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people engaging with genetic health services. Both of these projects, initiated and led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, create a partnership between western science, Indigenous knowledges and local solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Peoples.
Taming toxic pollution CRC CARE is addressing the significant growing issue of environmental contaminants with innovative and effective real-world solutions. Recently, major concerns have emerged across Australia about sites contaminated by chemicals known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Potentially harmful to human health and the environment, some PFAS are active ingredients in firefighting foam. These include PFOS, which are listed in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. PFAS contamination has become a big problem near some firefighting training areas, where it has contaminated soil and water. “There are more than 100,000 potentially toxic chemicals and five million potentially contaminated sites globally, so there is a real need for innovation,” says Professor Ravi Naidu, CEO of the CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE). One of CRC CARE’s innovations is a product called matCARE, a modified natural clay that can irreversibly lock up
PFAS so affected soil and water can be decontaminated. Naidu says matCARE is 50% more efficient – and thus cheaper – than similar technologies, and does not leach PFAS over time. Four firefighting training sites have been successfully cleaned up with matCARE and CRC CARE is now looking to partner with companies to broaden its use beyond the safe storage of the chemical. “The technology that’s available at the moment can only immobilise PFAS and unfortunately there is still a contaminated product at the end,” explains Naidu. “We have developed a technology that breaks down PFAS into carbon dioxide and fluoride. Companies are looking for technology that decomposes PFAS into safe products and we have been able to do that.” – Cherese Sonkkila
Professor Ravi Naidu at a matCARE remediation facility.
IN THE NEWS
CRCs WRAPPING UP
The CRC for Remote Deep Exploration Economic Participation Technologies CRC People living in Australia’s remote regions face many challenges and are often disadvantaged in health, education social and economic opportunities. Economic exclusion in remote Australia hits Indigenous Australians particularly hard. The CRC for Remote Economic Participation (CRC-REP) formed to address this major issue and ran from July 2010 until June 2017, receiving around $120 million in funding and working with 59 partner organisations, including governments, universities, businesses and remote Australian communities. “All of our research was made publicly available, especially in health and education,” says Rod Reeve, CRC-REP managing director, who heads up research organisation Ninti One. Reeve says there were three key outcomes from the CRC: an ‘interplay framework’ of wellbeing with employment, education and health; a patented remote livestock management system; and the commercialisation of five bush tomato varieties in partnership with traditional owners. “But by far the greatest commercialisation from the CRC was the establishment of Ninti Pty Ltd, which continues as a vibrant professional services company,” says Reeve. Ninti One is a not-for-profit Indigenous business, formally registered with Supply Nation, meaning it complies with the Commonwealth’s Indigenous Procurement Policy. The company is leveraging the CRC’s expertise to create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and remote communities, through research, innovation and engagement. “In our first year of operation after the CRC, we are currently managing 14 projects for eight different clients with a value of more than $20 million,” says Reeve.
Mineral resources make up about half of Australia’s exports, but around 80% of production comes from mines discovered more than 30 years ago. High production rates and low success in mineral exploration means mining must go deeper to uncover future mineral resources. The Deep Exploration Technologies CRC (DET CRC) began in July 2010 and wraps up in June 2018. It was established to fund research exploring better, cheaper and safer ways to drill, as well as analyse and target deep mineral deposits. The eight-year, $155 million program comprised $28 million from the CRC Program, with an additional $34 million direct and $93 million in-kind contributed from research providers, industry and other end-users. “The DET CRC is an industry-initiated and industry-driven response to the long-term challenge facing the minerals industry, that being the need to replace, through exploration, rapidly depleting existing stock of mineral resources,” says Joe Cucuzza, managing director at AMIRA International. Professor Richard Hillis, CEO of DET CRC, says the organisation has delivered on time and on budget. “The RoXplorer® Coiled Tubing Drill Rig has been taken from a concept, to a design, to pieces of steel and, finally, to a working prototype. I think this will prove to be the biggest development in drilling technology since the advent of reverse circulation drilling 50 years ago.” The three research pillars of DET-CRC were drilling, logging and sensing, and targeting, and each has delivered successful commercial outcomes, says Hillis. — Fran Molloy
KNOWHOW + CRC ORE
Unearthing resource value
Photo: CRC ORE
Two headline technologies for the mining sector are optimising the mining process for individual deposits and unlocking additional value for mining operations, Brendan Fitzpatrick reports.
To stay profitable and environmentally sustainable, mining faces the challenge of extracting efficiency through technological and process innovation. Grade Engineering® and the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES) are innovations developed by the CRC for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE) to assist mines improve the recovery of valuable ore. A range of mining companies, mining equipment, technology and service suppliers, and research organisations collaborated on the development of these technologies with funding from the Federal government. They come at a critical time for the mining industry, which faces increasing pressure to become more profitable and environmentally sustainable. Conventional extraction methods are becoming harder and more expensive to implement as ore quality drops, mines get deeper and water becomes scarcer. In an ideal scenario, miners could target the mineral they are after. However, mineral-bearing ores are heterogeneous, with different levels of concentration. The challenge is to find ways to extract and process the ores and reject waste early in the extraction process.
BRINGING TECH TO THE PROCESS Grade Engineering is an integrated approach to extracting metal more efficiently and improving the overall recovery of valuable ores from individual deposits. “It goes beyond the industry
mindset that simply increasing throughout will bring more profit for a mining operation,” says Dr Ben Adair, CEO of CRC ORE. “It factors in the ore quantity and quality.” Rejecting waste as early as possible in the mining process can significantly decrease the operating costs of a mine. Grade Engineering utilises a range of techniques and strategies that sort and separate mined materials throughout all stages of the mining process. Adair says the power Grade Engineering offers is a targeted assessment tailored to specific ores, which determines what lever has the potential to best maximise mine performance. Benefits include decreased costs, improved investment rate of return, reduced energy and water use with fewer emissions, delivery of higher feed grades and lower capital expenditure for start-up or expansion.
THE NEXT GENERATION OF MINING SIMULATION CRC ORE’s Integrated Extraction Simulator provides insight into the entire mining process, from the mine to the mill. It combines existing industry standard simulation models with new models from diverse research and development sources. “It is the next generation of fast, reliable and accurate simulation across the value chain,” says Adair. CRCORE.ORG.AU
CRC ORE’s David La Rosa on site at Sumitomo’s San Cristóbal site in Bolivia prepping for a Grade Engineering Production Trial.
IN THE NEWS Researchers and NSW Rural Fire Service personnel prepare for community interviews at Carwoola.
Preparing for severe fire risk
Photo: NSW Rural Fire Service
The Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC works with multiple partners to prepare the community for the inevitable fire hazards Australia faces, Fran Molloy reports.
One in every eight residential properties in the NSW coastal town of Tathra were destroyed or damaged in a bushfire during a weekend when fire conditions were rated Very High to Severe, with experts linking the early autumn fire with the worsening effects of climate change. “The policies and settlement patterns of the past are proving inadequate for the challenges of the future and in many instances are intensifying the exposure to risk,” says Dr Richard Thornton, CEO of the Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC (BNHCRC). “There is no silver bullet for natural hazards safety. We must continue to ask the difficult and complex questions, and continue to identify what we do not know.” BNHCRC began its $47 million, eight-year program in 2014 to conduct research to build a disaster-resilient Australia. All of Australia and New Zealand’s fire and emergency service authorities work with the CRC and leading experts across a range of scientific fields to explore the causes, consequences and mitigation of natural disasters. Research partners include universities, the Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia, plus several international research organisations. In a recent project, BNHCRC was commissioned by the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) to look at how communities prepared for bushfires and their responses to fire warnings — in particular, catastrophic fire danger, an alert level that emerged following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria. On days rated ‘catastrophic’, which usually combine high temperatures with very strong 11
winds, low humidity and high dry fuel loads, people in high-risk, bushfire-prone areas are encouraged to leave their properties early. “Catastrophic fire danger ratings are issued before a fire starts and communicate the potential for fire rather than an actual fire,” says Dr Josh Whittaker, from the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Environmental Risk Management, who led the CRC project. The research involved an online survey of over 500 respondents, plus interviews with 113 people who were affected by three fires in NSW in early 2017 — at Currandooley, Sir Ivan and Carwoola — during a time when the state faced some of its worst bushfire conditions ever forecast. Whittaker says people relied heavily on the NSW RFS smartphone app, Fires Near Me, and the RFS website but were frustrated by poor mobile phone coverage, which affected their ability to receive warnings and access information. “We found most people don’t intend to leave before there’s a fire; they are more likely to wait around until there is a fire and then decide what they’re going to do,” he says. “We also found that some people underestimated the risk to life and property on days that are not catastrophic,” Whittaker continues. “An interviewee told us when the Carwoola fire happened, it wasn’t a particularly bad bushfire day because the fire danger was only severe or extreme.” The project has delivered useful results that will help the NSW RFS communicate warnings to at-risk communities.
In the air Plant Biosecurity CRC Crop pest detection will be made more efficient using multispectral and hyperspectral image sensors attached to drones.
CRC for Advanced Composite Structures Welding and installation technologies for Airbus aerospace composites will reduce fitting time by 90%, saving $5 million per annum in costs.
MEAN TO YOU
In the oﬃce Alertness CRC Using higher watt, higher CCT (correlated colour temperature) globes (5000–6500K) can improve workplace productivity. Cybersecurity CRC Cyberattacks on home users target social media and email accounts, banking logins and personal data including photos and personal files.
In the bathroom Oral Health CRC Tooth Mousse can remineralise teeth damaged by decay and general wear by replacing lost calcium and phosphate. Wound Management Innovation CRC Skin tears in older people can be halved by the application of moisturising lotions twice daily.
In the nursery
In the loungeroom
Autism CRC Children can be diagnosed by 2 years of age using a standardised national protocol.
CRC for Eye Research and Technology Over 50% of contact lenses sold worldwide are made of silicone hydrogel — developed by Vision CRC.
The Hearing CRC Infants with hearing loss who get hearing aids soon after birth have better spoken language by 5 years old, as do infants receiving cochlear implants before 12 months old.
Data to Decisions CRC Integrated law enforcement research helps police catch criminals faster, making homes more secure.
In space Space Environment Research Centre Improved satellite reception — via SERC-CRC research that can send an EOS laser beam 6.7 million km to eventually manage space junk.
CRCs are delivering real-world solutions improving everyday life for Australians. Check out just some of the innovations that have been developed through CRCs since the program began in 1994...
CRC Spatial Information Precise satellite positioning services will deliver $13.7 billion to Australia’s GDP by 2020.
In the bush Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC The Fuels3D mobile app lets users take a vegetation fuel sample to improve efficacy of prescribed burns and provide inputs into ﬁre behaviour modelling, risk assessment and planning. The data collected helps establish location-specific strategic methods of limiting catastrophic bushfire events.
In the bedroom Alertness CRC 40% of Australians report sleep disorders — lower watt, lower CCT globes can promote sleep by manipulating the blue-light content. Sheep CRC ComfortMeter guarantees the comfort of wool garments to consumers by measuring comfort properties of light-weight wool garments.
In the car iMOVE CRC Vehicles using C-ITS can ‘talk’ to other vehicles, infrastructure and road operations systems to receive safety warnings and alerts.
Pork CRC AusScan assesses nutritional value of animal feed generating $600,000 per year. CRC for Honey Bee Products 44 Australian food crops rely on honey bee pollination, valued at $6.5 billion at farm gate. Honey bee products are valued at $125 million per year.
Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre ‘Repairbot’ is to deliver cheaper, faster car repairs — using 3D print, complex materials and robotics.
Graphic: Brendan Fitzpatrick
In the kitchen
WAKING UP TO A BIG PROBLEM Four in 10 Australians miss out on a good night’s sleep, with inadequate rest costing over $60 billion a year in lost productivity. But research from the Alertness CRC into diagnosis and treatment for sleep disorders promises big benefits to our society and economy, Bianca Nogrady reports.
BAD NIGHT’S SLEEP CAN RUIN
your day, but imagine if you suffer from a condition that prevents you from getting a full and satisfying night’s rest every night for a year. Then imagine that condition affecting four out of 10 Australians and you begin to get a sense of the enormity of our national problem of inadequate sleep. A recent report by Deloitte Access Economics estimates the total cost of inadequate sleep in Australia was $66.3 billion in 2016–2017, which is why the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity has the mission “to promote the prevention and control of sleep loss and sleep disorders”. Theme leader Professor Doug McEvoy says the Alertness CRC is searching for new tools and approaches to diagnose sleep problems with improved, targeted treatments. “While we talk about sleep apnoea and insomnia, within those conditions there is an amazing variety of presentations and causes of them,” he says. “To get good solutions for patients, you have to understand those differences so you can refine and personalise treatments.” The Alertness CRC focuses on two leading causes of daytime sleepiness: insomnia and sleep apnoea. Each condition affects 10% of the population. Insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, and it
can last from a few weeks to several years. It can be triggered by a stressful event, or related to conditions such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain and heart failure. Sleep apnoea is a breathing problem whereby people don’t get enough oxygen during sleep, so their brain periodically kicks them awake so they can breathe properly again. It’s often related to obesity, but some people have unexplained problems regulating their breathing while asleep. Part of the challenge with insomnia and sleep apnoea is diagnosis, which requires complex tests performed by a specialist. Both conditions are also usually under-diagnosed. One research focus of the Alertness CRC is developing simpler diagnostic tests that can be administered by a GP, nurse, psychologist or pharmacist. “We start to involve community practitioners in the identification and management of the condition, and the specialists can then act as more of
a tertiary referral system for difficult cases,” says McEvoy. Another challenge for the Alertness CRC is finding effective treatments. The current gold standard treatment for sleep apnoea is continuous positive airway pressure, which requires patients to wear a face mask during sleep. It’s effective, but awkward, and many people can’t or won’t use it. Patients with insomnia invariably end up being prescribed sleeping medication, which carries the risk of side effects and ‘hangover symptoms’ the next day. In collaboration with an industry partner and Australian researchers, the Alertness CRC is trialling new solutions to the significant problem of sleepiness. “Sleep disorders are impacting the health and wellbeing of sufferers, and because they are so prevalent, they’re also impacting productivity and safety of the Australian community,” says McEvoy.
Light in tune with us creates healthier spaces
In partnership with Solemma LLC, the Alertness CRC has helped to develop a world-first software program that optimises lighting for alertness, safety and productivity. The new lighting design software program, ALFA (Adaptive Lighting for Alertness) will help architects and lighting professionals manipulate the way light works on human senses, and configure light combinations to have predictable impacts on alertness, safety and productivity. “This is the first lighting design software that incorporates the impact of what is termed ‘non-visual’ effects of light,” says Professor Steven Lockley, who is the Program Leader for the CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity (Alertness CRC) and one of the lead researchers on ALFA’s development. Alertness CRC participants Monash University and Solemma co-developed the ALFA system (solemma.net/Alfa.php). SCIENCEMEETSBUSINESS.COM.AU
The software breaks the visual electromagnetic spectrum from the lighting into 81 parcels or ‘channels’ and then enables the lighting engineer to manipulate finer portions of the spectrum. This allows designers to model the light spectrum in combinations much closer to the spectrum of real light to work more closely with the human body’s natural rhythms. “This is a new approach for designers, but we have done a lot of work in the lab to understand how light affects people’s alertness, circadian rhythms and other responses,” says Lockley. Over a decade ago, researchers found a second light-sensing system in the eye, separate to the rods and cones that enable vision. These receptors transmit information about light, revealing the time 15
of day, or even year, to help us synchronise our biological clocks with our environment. “This system is most sensitive to blue light. In addition to resetting the clock, this light also alerts the brain directly, improving reaction time, cognitive abilities and productivity,” says Lockley. Light at the longer, redder end of the scale reduces this alerting effect and can help calm the brain so people can sleep better. – Brendan Fitzpatrick
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FROM CELL TO ACCESSIBLE THERAPY: THE FUTURE OF REGENERATIVE MEDICINE
HE CELL AND GENE THERAPY
industry is the fastest growing sector of regenerative medicine. Commercial cell therapies are being developed to treat several major diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune conditions. However, developing and manufacturing cell therapies is lengthy, labour intensive and expensive. The CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing (CTM CRC) began in 2013, operating at the interface of cell biology and materials science. The CRC aims to help the cost-effective manufacture of cell therapies and assist their rapid translation into clinical practice. CTM CRC’s research programs are driven by commercial imperatives and initially brought together 15 participant organisations across four states, including two international companies.
That approach has led to the development of new immunotherapies and novel materials and surfaces to optimise cell therapy manufacture. From the outset, CTM CRC has focused on developing strategies to ensure its work continues beyond the funding period. “With two CTM CRC legacy vehicles to continue the excellent work carried out to date, the strategy to transition towards self-sufficiency has paid off,” says CTM CRC CEO Dr Sherry Kothari. The CRC has incorporated its first spin-out company, Carina Biotech, and a second company, TekCyte, will also soon be incorporated. Both Carina and TekCyte will further develop and commercialise CTM CRC technologies, and are poised to continue the CRC’s work of making cell therapies more affordable and accessible.
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Carina Biotech — A promising future for cancer treatment In the last five years, researchers have achieved promising results in clinical trials of a revolutionary new treatment for blood cancers called Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy. CAR-T cell therapy is an immunotherapy that harnesses the patient’s own immune system to fight their cancer. Since 2012, CAR-T cell therapy trials in adult and paediatric patients have recorded complete remission rates of up to 93%, offering huge potential for leukaemia and lymphoma treatment. The replication of this success in the treatment of solid cancers is a new focus of this approach, and it’s also the basis on which the CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing (CTM CRC) company, Carina Biotech, was founded. “To effectively translate the unprecedented cancer-killing activity of CAR-T cells in blood cancers into solid cancers would represent the Holy Grail in the cellular immunotherapy industry,” says Dr Justin Coombs, CEO of Carina Biotech. T-cells, the backbone of CAR-T cell therapy, are the ‘warriors’ of the immune system and they attack
undesirable cells in the body. CAR-T cell therapy involves isolating a patient’s T-cells from a sample of blood and engineering them so they recognise and attack specific markers on cancer cells. These new CAR-T cells are then infused back into the patient to seek and destroy the cancer. Carina Biotech’s first lead technology is a CAR-T cell that attacks a cancer-specific marker on solid cancers, but not on healthy cells. Early data indicates these CAR-T cells can kill a diverse range of solid cancer cells in vitro, including breast, ovarian and brain cancers and melanoma. Pending positive results from in vitro pre-clinical studies, slated to begin in 2018, the first-in-human clinical trials could follow within two years. It is clear there is great potential for CAR-T cell therapy to play a leading role in the race to cure cancer, but as Dr Coombs cautions, “Solid cancers are shaped by evolution to defend themselves from attack. Carina is aiming to develop weapons for immune cells to destroy all solid cancers.”
TekCyte — Moving rapidly from lab to commercial scale TekCyte, the translational facility of CTM CRC, was set up to respond to manufacturing challenges in the evolving cell and gene therapy industry. TekCyte’s focus is to translate technologies from the lab to pilot scale. “Pilot-scale manufacturing is where many technologies stall because they cannot be replicated in commercial settings,” says Dr Tony Simula, who leads TekCyte with Dr Andrew Milligan. “There are unique challenges in scaling up processes involving living cells and TekCyte addresses these as an important step towards commercial manufacture of cell therapy products.” TekCyte is currently validating two CTM CRC technologies for the commercial market: the delivery of stem cells for the treatment of chronic wounds, and an antithrombotic coating for vascular stents to reduce thrombosis and restenosis. With positive preclinical data to date, it is imperative that TekCyte is able to consistently produce both products in large volumes, as well as meeting stringent regulatory
requirements and demonstrating reliable performance. TekCyte’s infrastructure Dr Andrew and expertise enables Milligan it to fulfil this critical translational role so it can bridge the gap between the laboratory and commercial development. “TekCyte is unique because it combines materials surface and cell biology expertise, with the know-how and infrastructure required to manufacture at pilot scale,” says Dr Milligan. “This capability has given TekCyte a competitive advantage and enables it to expand its offering to include product development for companies.” TekCyte aims to establish itself as an important player in the global supply chain for the regenerative medicine industry. It is evolving into a world-class translational facility, able to develop and supply specialised coatings and processes for cell therapy manufacture and other biomedical applications.
THE DIGITAL HEALTH REVOLUTION Data is the force behind an extraordinary drive in health innovation — and a range of CRCs are joining this digital health transformation, Brendan Fitzpatrick reports.
ORLDWIDE HEALTHCARE systems are under pressure from ageing populations and rising rates of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and depression. Governments are increasingly having to deliver more with fewer resources, which is why new digital healthcare solutions may be the key to keeping up with demand for medical attention. Innovative digital solutions across a range of medical domains will allow patients to be given timely health information about chronic disease management, or grant them access to timely and appropriate medical expertise in a highly cost-effective way. Using these new tools, more people will be able to access preventative care, with alerts prompting interventions before an emergency occurs. Hopefully this will reduce hospitalisation rates and provide researchers with access
The Data to Decisions CRC’s Emergency Waiting Times Application for smartphones and web will enable patients to get quicker medical attention.
to privacy protected health data at a population level, delivering a wealth of new data for research.
$200M DIGITAL HEALTH INITIATIVE The new, $200 million Digital Health CRC, announced in April 2018, will operate collaborative programs across health, aged care and disability sectors in partnership with 16 universities, 40 commercial and government organisations and 24 start-ups. “Industry is looking for digital solutions to be developed and validated through provision of access to ‘testbeds’ and for pathways to market,” says CEO David Jonas. “Australia has pioneered many health advances. If we act now, the Australian health industry can be pioneers in digital health transformation and leaders in digital health technology.” Analysts predict the global digital health market to reach $349 billion by 2024.
EMERGENCY FLOW The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that during 2016–2017, more than a quarter of the patients making up the 7.8 million presentations to 287 public hospital emergency departments nationally did not receive treatment within an appropriate time. The new Emergency Waiting Times Application developed by the Data to Decisions (D2D) CRC will help South Australian patients get quicker medical attention while also reducing the burden on metropolitan emergency departments. The app combines data about a patient’s location, current emergency waiting times for all South Australian metropolitan hospitals and travel information from Google Maps to show the best treatment option according to wait and travel time. Key stakeholder SA Health gave guidance to developers, and the app was funded by the South Australia Department of State Development. Dennis Horton, innovation exchange lead at D2D CRC, believes the app will become a go-to tool for any medical emergency. “It will eventually guide the user to the most appropriate service. For example, someone with a minor cut may be able to access a nearby super clinic instead of an emergency department, which will reduce the burden on hospitals. If uptake is large enough, general medical advice could be directed to users as well.”
MENTAL HEALTH CARE GOES DIGITAL Another area set to benefit from new digital technologies is the treatment of chronic mental health disorders, which about 600,000 people live with in Australia. Many consider current methods of monitoring and treating chronic mental illnesses unsatisfactory. A new mental health care application launched by D2D CRC in collaboration with Flinders University called AI2 (Actionable Intime Insights) has the potential to greatly improve treatment response times by offering real-time digital updates on patient status to clinicians. Horton says expensive mental health readmissions can be avoided with suitable out-of-hospital care, but most clinicians do not have the resources to keep track of every patient. “AI2 offers an effective digital alternative to monitoring patients, delivering data in real time and reducing the burden of readmissions on the healthcare system,” he explains. Patient information is linked from several sources, such as the Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data, and behavioural patterns are analysed over time using machine-learning algorithms. Alerts can be triggered when patient medications or appointments aren’t on track, helping patients access care in the community when needed, preventing costly hospitalisations. The AI2 project has been partly funded by the South Australia Department of State Development.
SPATIAL MODELLING TO HELP COPD PATIENTS New Zealanders have the highest rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among the 35 member states of the OECD. A research project by the CRC for Spatial Information (CRCSI) aims to understand how air quality affects COPD patients, ultimately helping them better manage the disease. Using embedded sensors in physical infrastructure in cities in New
Zealand and Sweden to collect environmental information, the project will develop predictive geospaital algorithms for the early indication of COPD symptoms from patients. Along with the potential for rapid intervention through these predictive algorithms, the project will also develop new models combining real-time patient data about their symptoms and medication use with environmental data such as pollution levels, ambient temperature and humidity.
BIG DATA TO ILLUMINATE NATIONAL OUTCOMES OF CARDIOVASCULAR CARE More than 500,000 people are hospitalised each year in Australia for urgent and elective heart care, but there’s little analysis on what happens to them post-treatment. In an Australian first, a team of cardiologists from the Central Adelaide Local Health Network have collaborated with D2D CRC to deliver a study using over 100 million healthcare records from more than 1000 hospitals. Named ORION, it stands for Observing Recurrent Incidence of adverse Outcomes following hospitalisations. Horton says heart-related conditions are often very serious, complex and costly, yet little is known about the outcomes for patients once they leave hospital. “We don’t know if they were readmitted, had complications or even if they survived following treatment,” he says. “With this study, we can assess patient outcomes, leading to improvements in hospital procedures and resources, and ultimately, improvements in patient care.” The study investigates hospital care nationally for the five conditions
that make up about 90% of all acute hospitalisations for cardiovascular disease: heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, atrial fibrillation and peripheral vascular disease. Horton says the results of this project will have an immense impact on improving cardiac hospitalisation and procedures in Australia, while still protecting patient privacy and the security of their data. “By applying Big Data analytic techniques, we have uncovered some very interesting facts such as how variable patient outcomes compare between hospitals. This suggests variation in care quality and processes at individual hospitals.” This project is funded by the South Australia Department of State Development, University of Adelaide and the Hospital Research Foundation.
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Mental health support for graduates The CRC for Mental Health has developed a support group program for PhD students, Eliza Brockwell reports.
Mental health issues affect one in every five Australians and accounted for 7.7% of total healthcare expenditure in Australia in 2015–2016. The CRC for Mental Health works to reduce the burden of mental health by studying biomarkers: biological indicators that aid preventative treatment and early diagnosis of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Postgraduate researchers at the CRC have developed a program to improve mental health issues in their fellow PhD students, with a focus on recognition and preventative action. The Write Smarter: Feel Better program was informed by studies that suggest 50% of PhD students experience psychological distress during candidature. Few are likely to seek help. “When we looked at the research, it was concerning that one in three [PhD students] will develop a mental health disorder during
“One in three PhD students will develop a mental health disorder during their candidature.” KNOWHOW MAGAZINE
their candidature,” says PhD student and registered psychologist Karra Harrington, a co-developer of the program. The program focuses on the importance of social connection. Monthly online meetings connect students from five different universities around Australia. “Communication about mental health is paramount for overcoming stigma and supporting people to flourish,” says Harrington. Her background as a practising psychologist provided the drive to investigate practical processes for combatting the ‘PhD blues’. Sabine Bird is another PhD student working with the CRC for Mental Health. “Feeling ‘stuck’ while writing is an experience every PhD student goes through,” she says. “If not dealt with, it easily leads to ongoing procrastination, a lack of progress and even a sense of failure.” In working with the CRC, students recognise the importance of communication in maintaining good mental health, but also to convey their research to foster real-world outcomes. Melanie Carew, Head of Education at the CRC, says they’ve been pleased with the mutually beneficial outcomes of the PhD program for the CRC and the participants. “Our education program focuses on developing our students’ ability to think broadly about their research and the skills they have developed during their PhDs, then use them in different settings,” she says. “Write Smarter: Feel Better is a fantastic example of how our students can apply their scientific training and work collaboratively to solve problems.” Recently, the program has been adopted by The University of Melbourne. It will be offered to all higher degree research students. Harrington attributes this success to their platform of communication with the CRC. “Communication of our research helped to highlight the value and benefits of Write Smarter: Feel Better for PhD students, their loved ones, PhD supervisors and universities or other research organisations such as CRCs.”
Young innovators From rail track and manufacturing innovation to gut–microbial interaction and dental enamel, these are the six finalists for the CQ University Showcasing Early Career Researchers awards.
MR SHANKAR BOLAN, CRC FOR CONTAMINATION ASSESSMENT AND REMEDIATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT (CARE) Watch Shankar’s video: bit.ly/KHShankar Chemical contaminants are almost everywhere we look, including in the food we consume. They interact with the billions of bacteria that reside in harmony in our gut. My research is increasing our understanding of these interactions and their effect on human health. DR JAMES FERNANDO, ORAL HEALTH CRC Watch James’s video: bit.ly/KHJames Research conducted at the Oral Health CRC has developed a new therapeutic agent to repair tooth decay by combining dairy proteins (casein phosphopeptides) and stannous fluoride. Laboratory and clinical studies revealed this new formulation is more effective in repairing tooth decay than existing agents. Through further research and collaboration with commercial partners, the intention is for this technology to become available to the public to reduce tooth decay.
MR CHUHAO LIU, RAIL MANUFACTURING CRC Watch Chuhao’s video: bit.ly/KHChuhao Rail track foundation particles are subjected to significant breakage upon repeated train passage. The rail industry currently installs a polymer geogrid inside the foundation to reduce damage. My research aims to identify the optimum design of the geogrid and to develop guidelines for manufacture. DR FATIMA NAIM, QUT Watch Fatima’s video: bit.ly/KHFatima For centuries, farmers have used timeconsuming and costly plant breeding techniques to improve the quality and yield of crops for human consumption.
Gene editing, and advances in plant molecular biotechnology, have the capacity to fast-forward evolution. I am developing methods using the CRISPR-Cas9 nuclease to efficiently modify plant genes.
MR KORAH PARACKAL, BUSHFIRE & NATURAL HAZARDS CRC Watch Korah’s video: bit.ly/KHKorah Houses are complex structures with hundreds of fasteners and structural elements. Roofs can be vulnerable to wind loads, and damage surveys show the failure of a few fasteners can cause other parts of the roof to fail in a cascading or progressive manner. My project aims to understand these complex failures with the use of wind tunnel modelling, connection testing and computer simulation.
A UNI THAT KNOWS RESEARCH CHANGES LIVES At CQUniversity Australia, we know that research is about making a difference. With our research ranked at, above or well above world standard* in 14 categories, our strong research community supports and nutures the aspirations of early career researchers. Whether you’re applying for grants or looking for collaborators, our accomplished network of experts will give you the guidance and inspiration you need to succeed. Give your career an edge at CQUniversity and join a research community that’s changing lives.
*2015-16 State of Australian University Research 1 ERA National Report. 2 Volume 1
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MS JENALLE BAKER, CRC FOR MENTAL HEALTH Watch Jenalle’s video: bit.ly/KHJenalle I have developed an online cognitive tool that can be used for the detection of pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease. The tool can be used by people in their homes to provide clinicians and researchers with a remote computerised cognitive assessment of learning impairments. It offers an improvement over current testing methods as it is low cost, faster and could help industry to recruit for Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials.
“I’m pretty proud of having supported early career researchers at CQUni to secure their own funded post-doctoral fellowships. We’ve secured three already in our group, and I’m sure there will be more to follow.” – Professor CorneelMAGAZINE Vandelanotte KNOWHOW
Photo: Jeff Crow – Courtesy of DHAA Ltd
FROM PETRI DISH TO MARKET PLACE CRCs around Australia are delivering real results on the ground. Rebecca Blackburn reports.
NE OF THE GREATEST strengths of Australia’s CRC Program, now in its 28th year, is how it brings together research and commerce — bridging the gap between discovery research and industry-ready innovation — in the form of innovative products. Here are three recent CRC-driven Australian product success stories.
NEW CANCER DRUG A promising new cancer drug developed by Cancer Therapeutics CRC (CTx) has been licensed to Merck Sharp and Dohme Australia (MSD) in one of the largest preclinical deals in Australia’s medical history. The drug offers hope for the treatment of a wide range of cancers, including lung and breast. The licensing deal is worth up to $700 million and 70% of payments will return to CTx — which includes CSIRO, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Monash University, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Children’s Cancer Institute and Griffith University. The drug is a PRMT5 inhibitor, with potential to treat both cancer and non-cancer blood disorders. PRMT5
(protein arginine methyltransferase 5) is an enzyme that protects against cancer-causing mutations. Abnormality in PRMT5 is linked to many cancers. MSD is not just developing and commercialising the PRMT5 inhibitors, but also funding an ongoing collaboration with CTx. “What MSD realised was the background science here in Australia was such high quality, they continued to support it to help advance the development,” says Dr Warwick Tong, CEO of CTx. One key to the success of the project was how CTx managed their intellectual property, says Tong. “It’s almost a cliché, but if you don’t own it you can’t sell it,” he explains. Tong also believes it’s important to share the rewards. “We do lots of drug discovery projects and many of them will fail,” he says. “To benefit from commercial return, researchers need to have contributed to the CRC but not necessarily to the successful project.”
AUSTRALIA’S FIRST ELECTRIC BUS The first Australian-designed and manufactured electric bus is now part
“We do lots of drug discovery projects and many of them will fail.” of a Transit South Australia trial. The result of a partnership between the Automotive Australia CRC (Auto-CRC), Swinburne University of Technology and Bustec, the electric bus can travel at 80 km per hour and has batteries that can be charged to 80% in 10 minutes. The ultra-modern interior includes electronics that report their own faults, as well as integrated electronics, making it possible to know where the bus is, how the driver is driving it and if anything is wrong during the trip. This information can be used to improve the efficiency of the bus network and user experience, such as reporting traffic jams and advising users to take an alternative bus. The results from this trial are expected by the end of the year. With Auto-CRC’s funding term completed, the Electric Vehicle (EV) Laboratory at Swinburne University is continuing the research, and is now developing an electric harvester in
Professor Eric Reynolds, CEO of OH-CRC (left); Professor Ajay Kapoor, Swinburne University Pro Vice Chancellor for International Research Engagement (middle), and Dr Warwick Tong, CEO of CTx (right).
conjunction with the Malaysian Automotive Institute. “We are also looking at linking with Indian manufacturers to use the electric technology in India for harvesters, buses and cars,” says Professor Ajay Kapoor, Swinburne’s Pro Vice Chancellor for International Research Engagement and leader of the EV Laboratory. Kapoor believes the whole product development process should involve learning more about consumer needs. “There is a big disconnect between what experts tell us consumers would like and what they actually would like,” he says.
HEALTHY TEETH One in four Australian children have tooth decay, while one in 25 Australians over 15 have no natural teeth at all. In 2012–2013, $8.7 billion was spent on dental care in Australia.
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria attach to sugars from foods to make acid that softens and eats away tooth enamel. But now we can prevent it. Your regular dentist-applied fluoride treatment is likely the result of breakthrough research by an Australian team who developed and commercialised ‘Tooth Mousse Plus’ through the Oral Health CRC (OH-CRC). This discovery helps reverse the damage decay can cause to teeth, by improving the absorption of fluoride. The product is based on a component found in dairy milk that hardens teeth — another Australian find and one that’s responsible for protecting the oral health of millions. The potential savings are estimated to be more than $12 billion in dental work to date worldwide. Thirty years ago CEO of OH-CRC, Professor Eric Reynolds and his team
“There is a big disconnect between what experts tell us consumers would like and what they actually would like.” SCIENCEMEETSBUSINESS.COM.AU
at Melbourne University indentified that casein peptide complex (casein phosphopeptide amorphous calcium phosphate) found in dairy milk can strengthen and remineralise teeth. The milk extract was developed into a product called Recaldent, which is used in sugar-free gum and the Tooth Mousse product. “Recaldent took many years of research and support to develop but it is now in a range of products that benefit millions around the world,” says Reynolds. Recaldent is patented by OH-CRC and is produced in Melbourne using Australian milk by GC Corporation, a Japanese company and OH-CRC partner. For his tireless work in inventing and commercialising Recaldent, Reynolds was awarded the 2017 Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation. The OH-CRC has also developed a vaccine for gum disease and is now working on its commercialision.
WHY CAN’T MY UBER FIND ME? We are getting so precise with data that new issues are emerging, such as marrying the super-precision of GPS with the planet-shaping forces of continental shift, Fran Molloy reports.
Australia’s mapping and positioning systems, which currently rely heavily on overseas-run spatial infrastructure. “Precision in latitude and longitude is becoming very important as new positioning technologies with finer accuracy come online,” says Dawson. “For example, if I measure the location of a pipe using a device with 10 cm accuracy, then come back a year later to dig in that location, then relative to latitude and longitude, it would look like that pipe had moved.” Currently, positioning in Australia has accuracy between 5 m and 10 m. Trials are now underway on satellite technology with the potential to upgrade that accuracy to less than 10 cm. “With applications such as self-driving cars, 5 m of accuracy can put your vehicle on the wrong side of the road,” explains Dawson.
CROSS SECTOR AND CROSS-DITCH COLLABORATION Satellite positioning technology has revolutionised our lives, influencing everything from air transport to agriculture, and real estate to retail. All of these are set to change dramatically in coming years as improved precision makes so many more applications possible. The CRCSI’s Positioning Program research stream is part of the next era in satellite positioning, trialling three new technologies that will all potentially contribute to a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) for the Australasian region. The trials involve cross-industry collaboration with more than 30 organisations. They are funded by a $12 million contribution from the Australian Government, plus another
Vehicles, road infrastructure and systems ‘talk to each other’ in Australia’s largest on-road cooperative vehicle trial. KNOWHOW MAGAZINE 4 A Queensland Government and iMOVE CRC project with QUT to drive road safety through 2innovation. www.imovecrc.com
T’S DIZZYING TO CONTEMPLATE: in the past decade, everything on our maps has moved by more than 1m, as Australia’s continental tectonic plate slides inexorably north at a rate of 7 cm a year. “Geoscience Australia defines latitude and longitude for the country through the national Geocentric Datum, and last year we adjusted that by 1.5 m based on projections to 2020,” says Dr John Dawson, a geodetics expert who is the program manager of the CRC for Spatial Information (CRCSI) Positioning Program. If you use the Uber ride-sharing app, you may have noticed its location accuracy is improving. Over the next few years, there will be a significant increase in this kind of precision. Updating our latitude and longitude is just one stage of an overhaul of
Geoscience Australia CEO James Johnson (left) and Dr John Dawson, geodetics expert from CRCSI (right) with cattle that are part of a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS).
NZ$2 million from the New Zealand government, and aim to establish a nationwide, high-accuracy, real-time positioning infrastructure. The CRCSI estimates that updating our national positioning infrastructure will add an estimated 1.1–2.1% to Australia’s GDP by 2030, through productivity gains in mining, construction and agriculture. Benefits will also be widespread across tourism, transport and emergency services. “We’ve taken GPS for granted in Australia as something provided as a global public infrastructure by the US, and we’ve accrued value as positioning improves efficiency and drives new products and services,” says Dawson. The new technologies being trialled will enable precise positioning for a fraction of the cost of currently available commercial services.
Providing it as public infrastructure will also reap productivity benefits dwarfing the initial investment.
THREE TECHNOLOGIES UNDER TRIAL The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the world’s best known satellite-based navigation system and comprises a ‘constellation’ of 24 communications craft orbiting Earth. Designed in the 1970s for military applications and funded by the US government, GPS is now accessed by billions of devices worldwide. In 2020, Europe’s Galileo system, supported by 30 satellites, will become fully operational, improving accuracy for applications across the planet. While most of Australia’s satellite positioning currently relies on GPS, users in the USA, Europe, China, Russia, India and Japan are already
using the more precise first-generation SBAS technology on a daily basis. Geoscience Australia has partnered with global technology companies GMV, Inmarsat and Lockheed Martin to trial satellite technologies, and CRCSI is managing a range of industry projects trialling sector-based applications. Under trial are first-generation SBAS, switched on in June 2017; second-generation SBAS, which came online in September 2017; and Precise Point Positioning, turned on in October 2017. These technologies combine satellite signals with ground stations. Australia was the first country to transmit second-generation SBAS signals, and the first to trial Precise Point Positioning corrections integrated into an SBAS service.
FUTURE OF WARFARE Robots that could clear minefields or recover injured soldiers are potential projects for the newly formed Defence Cooperative Research Centre for Trusted Autonomous Systems, writes Natalie Filatoff.
MAGINE A MILITARY ROBOT that can formidably augment the firepower of an army patrol unit, then switch modes to carry wounded soldiers back to base. It sounds like a scene from Terminator, but such high-tech robotic technologies remain a distant prospect. Robots are not yet capable of reliably seeing, comprehending and assessing what is unfolding around them. However, a new Defence Cooperative Research Centre (D-CRC) for Trusted Autonomous Systems has recently been formed to help close the gap between the tools and knowledge we currently have and the future technologies we can imagine — innovations that will
dramatically extend the capabilities of our defence forces and make our personnel safer than ever before. The new D-CRC was announced by Defence Minister Christopher Pyne in December 2017, and will start out with $50 million in funding from the Next Generation Technologies Fund. “The D-CRC’s overarching goal is to deliver world-leading autonomous and robotic technologies to the Australian Defence Force, which will enable trusted and effective co-operation between humans and machines,” says Prof Rob Sale, interim D-CRC CEO. To start with, projects are being proposed and led by Australian
Australian defence personnel will benefit from technologies being developed such as the bushmaster tank (right) and robotic systems from the new D-CRC.
industry, but will also have input at every stage from the Department of Defence Science and Technology (DST). Australian companies and universities are doing world-class work in many areas relevant to Trusted Autonomous Systems, but they are broadly distributed, says Sale. The D-CRC instead aims to “integrate the talent pool spread across the country and coordinate their efforts,” he adds.
ETHICAL AND LEGAL PARAMETERS Alongside projects developed by teams in the maritime, land and aerospace domains, the D-CRC will run activity groups to explore and mature ethical and legal frameworks for future autonomous systems to operate. Dr Jason Scholz, chief scientist and engineer for the D-CRC on Trusted Autonomous Systems, says that some of these activities aim to address ethical points, such as “Should we do it?” and “Why would we do it?”. Other activities will consider legal protocols for how people and machines can work together. For example, Scholz’s team is already investigating a commander–machine legal-agreement protocol in which a human commander might define a goal and a pool of machines then identify which aspects of that goal they can achieve or contribute towards. “The commander would in effect accept or reject each of those offers, just like we do in contract law, thereby binding the machines for a period of time to do that work,” Scholz says.
QUT is working with the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision on underwater robots using sonar detection.
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SEEING, SENSING, PERCEIVING… These are all ideas for the future. “Robots generally lack a ‘theory of mind’. They don’t realise that some objects have beliefs and desires,” says Scholz. The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision is engaged in groundbreaking work to improve the ‘visual’ systems of robots, including sonar detection for underwater robots and infrared vision for robots to operate at night. Seeing is one thing. But what’s next? “Once we have robots that can see, we want robots to comprehend on some level too,” says Scholz. “Robots that comprehend: ‘Here are objects in an environment... What does it mean?” To this end, the visionaries at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision may team up via the D-CRC with an Australian centre of excellence in artificial intelligence. The agility afforded by working directly with Defence on these projects will enable accelerated development, says Scholz, because rudimentary prototypes can quickly get input to make them functional. “It’s the only way I know of to develop technology that’s never been built before and where we don’t know how to do it — we just have a sense that it’s the right way to go,” he says.
REDEFINING THE EQUATION D-CRC projects must be ahead of the curve to give Australia’s military the edge. With a relatively small defence
DEFENCE: force, a major investment in navy vessels and aircraft, and a large country to defend, the Department of Defence recognises the potential of Trusted Autonomous Systems to extend and augment its reach. “We talk in terms of ‘force multipliers’,” says Scholz. Taking risks on projects that don’t just push the envelope, but “blow it apart”, are part of the centre’s remit, he says. Examples that might be considered include ‘tag-teaming’: inexpensive autonomous underwater systems that can swarm the ocean floor in advance of multi-million-dollar Royal Australian Navy vessels, clearing a path through minefields or scouting out the bathymetry of the seafloor. “We want autonomous systems that will survive in a warfare environment,” he says, and he’s not just talking about physicality. New kinds of platforms such as social and self-sensing are important as well, to enable effective interaction with humans. This first CRC for Defence will operate for seven years, with options to extend if promising projects need further development. The Brisbane headquarters are expected to be established in mid 2018.
$50 million invested in the CRC for Trusted Autonomous Systems until 2025. Research will investigate how to improve military practices via drones, robotics and AI.
2026 104% $730 million to be invested over the next 8 years from the Next Gen Tech Fund, financing research to support future Defence capabilities.
increase in accuracy by US soldiers using Marathon Targets: robotic training funded via the CRC to help mimic real-life combat.
$200 billion Government investment over the “decade and beyond” to modernise Australia’s defence capability.
Dr Alex Zelinsky Chief Defence Scientist
Partnerships driving next generation Defence technologies As the Chief Defence Scientist, my job is to ensure the best science and technology is applied to deliver solutions for Australia’s defence and national security. Since the White Paper was released in 2016, Defence has embarked on a huge $195 billion technology refresh program to build game-changing capabilities based on partnerships through research and innovation, working with Australia’s best and brightest. Solving Defence capability problems is a complex challenge; it requires deep and extensive collaboration across disciplines, organisations and geographic boundaries. The 2016 Defence White Paper created a clear pathway for collaboration by establishing a new unified innovation system with an investment of $1.9 billion over 10 years. The new system centres around a Defence Innovation Hub ($640 M), a Next Generation Technologies Fund ($730 M) and a Defence
Innovation Portal as an interface into the innovation system. The Defence Science and Technology team manages the Next Generation Technologies Fund. It focuses on early stage, high-risk research and invites proposals to collaborate on game-changing capabilities through the Defence Innovation Portal. Promising proposals are progressed through the Defence Innovation Hub for further development. To focus our efforts, we picked nine ‘winner’ domains where investment in science and technology could lead to game-changing Defence capabilities. These range from space and cyber to autonomous systems and quantum technologies. We also settled on seven program elements, with different forms of interaction and collaboration. Defence CRCs are one part of the program that’s made considerable progress. The first Defence CRC, on Trusted Autonomous Systems, follows a mission-driven approach ensuring the outcome will be delivered by industry utilising academic and public-funded research agencies as research providers. Defence is investing $50 million over seven years in the CRC to develop trusted smart machine technologies for ADF capabilities in the land, aerospace and maritime domains. The Defence CRC has been registered with initial participating members BAE Systems Australia, RMIT University, DefendTex and DST. The first three research projects will be led by BAE Systems, Thales and Lockheed Martin. Other companies and universities will join as the CRC develops more projects. The Queensland State government is providing $50 million in cash and in-kind support. The Next Generation Technologies Fund is continually generating new opportunities under its various programs, including the call for proposals for the Small Business Innovation Research for Defence, which is imminent. In Defence we are keen to harness the collective expertise of the country’s innovation sector and there has never been a better time for research partnerships than now, to realise the future capabilities of the ADF.
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Testing Australia’s top aircraft Research at ANSTO into innovative technologies for the repair and maintenance of military aircraft will have implications on the service life of commercial and passenger aircraft, Brendan Fitzpatrick reports.
VER 4.3 MILLION PASSENGERS will fly this year and every day about 104,000 flights bring people and goods to their destination. The global economy relies heavily on aviation, with $17.5 billion of goods travelling by air every day representing 35% of global trade by value. Fatigue and corrosion damage to aircraft structural components are a major threat to the safety and airworthiness of civil and military aircraft, particularly those pushed past their intended service life. Dr Anna Paradowska, Senior Research Scientist and Industrial Liaison Manager at ANSTO, worked with a team led by DST Group’s Dr Wyman Zhuang to test different technologies used to repair damaged aircraft structural components. “Structural integrity requirements for aircraft parts are of the highest level. The repaired components need to demonstrate that the restored component shall have a structural strength condition, equivalent or better than its original configuration,” says Zhuang. Zhuang’s team applied advanced repair techniques to aluminium alloy 7075–T651 — a lightweight, highstrength metal used in the aeronautical industry since 1943. DST Group used laser cladding to deposit aluminium–silicon powders onto damaged surfaces of 7075 plates. They then applied post-heat treatment to reduce detrimental residual stresses, making the alloy stronger. Following these processes, the team applied Deep Surface Rolling (DSR) — a surface enhancement technique that can introduce beneficial compressive residual stresses and enhance fatigue performance of repaired components.
Dr Anna Paradowska setting up an experiment on neutron diffraction instruments at ANSTO.
After the treatment, Paradowska and the team at ANSTO used a sophisticated neutron diffraction instrument, the strain scanner KOWARI, to compare measurements of 3-D residual stresses on samples treated with different repair methods. “We used this instrument because it can provide sub-surface information about residual stresses non-destructively with high-resolution measurements. Often this information can’t be obtained by other techniques. Neutrons can penetrate deep into materials to acquire data about localised stresses in the deformed material,” says Paradowska. “This powerful tool gives researchers a unique capability to study the same specimens going through various stages
of the manufacturing process.” The neutron diffraction measurements showed that DSR caused deeper and higher magnitude compressive residual stresses at the surface and into the substrate. These stresses increased both the yield and ultimate strength of the tested plates. Fatigue tests confirmed that DSR increased the average fatigue life by over 500% compared with plates that were only laser-clad, while the post-heat treatment increased fatigue life by 40%. While research is currently focused on military applications, it will have ongoing implications for aircraft service life in the broader aviation industry.
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ARE YOU PROTECTED? New cyberthreats are constantly emerging, which is why the D2D CRC is helping businesses stay a step ahead of the criminals. Ben Skuse reports.
AST YEAR, THE WANNACRY cyberattack showed the world the rapid and destructive power of cybercrime. Targeting vulnerabilities in older versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems (OS), the virus rapidly spread between computers and networks all over the world. As a result, hospitals, banks, businesses and various other organisations in over 150 countries were crippled by the anonymous infection, which locked hundreds of thousands of users out of their computers and demanded ransom payments of $300 in the untraceable cryptocurrency Bitcoin. At least 12 Australian businesses reported being affected in the initial attack, with more suspected of suffering without informing the authorities. Frustratingly, Microsoft had recognised the vulnerability, and issued software ‘patches’ to fix the hole. Yet many companies and individuals either didn’t install the fixes, or were using unsupported, older versions of Windows, leaving their systems exposed. This global incident was one of several attacks in 2017 costing about $2.5 billion in ransomware payments, according to antivirus software firm Bitdefender. It highlights a common problem in businesses both in Australia and abroad: a weariness or reluctance to deal with computer security.
Known as ‘security fatigue’, studies in the USA have shown many computer users feel overwhelmed and even bombarded from being on constant alert, adopting safe behaviour and trying to understand the nuances of online security issues at work. Yet, with cyberattacks on the rise and becoming ever more sophisticated, there has never been a greater need to adopt secure practices. “A successful cyberattack can cause major financial, reputational and legal damage to companies,” explains Sanjay Mazumdar, CEO of Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre (D2D CRC). “Cybersecurity is not just an IT issue — it is the board and executive’s responsibility to focus on the cyber resilience of their business.” But what should businesses do to protect themselves? Mazumdar suggests they follow the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)’s ‘Top 4’ and ‘Essential 8’ (see box on p32). “These are simple strategies,” he says. “The mantra all organisations should remember is ‘Catch, Patch and Match’.” The phrase is an easy-to-remember summary of core security actions. If businesses ‘catch’ malicious software by only running a whitelist of approved applications, ‘patch’ their applications and OS with updates, and ‘match’ the right people with the right access, ASD estimates that at least 85% of intrusions can be prevented. As for
the remaining 15%, those attacks could still infiltrate security-savvy businesses because current computer systems, no matter how advanced, leave doors ajar for attackers. At the same time cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in sniffing out these chinks in the armour and exploiting them. Because nobody knows where the next breach could come from, it’s critical to have early warning systems so businesses can be told of imminent threats with enough time to protect themselves quickly, thus stemming the spread of a cyberattack. Organisations such as CERT Australia, the national computer emergency response team, already help Australian businesses understand the cyberthreat landscape and better prepare for, defend against and mitigate cyberthreats and incidents. “Big data analytics is a critical component of addressing cyberthreats,” says Mazumdar. “It can help with detecting anomalies in a network that indicate malware or Trojan Horse attacks [a computer program that misleads users of its true intent], or in staff behaviour — e.g. downloading unusual amounts of documents — which could be an indicator of an insider threat, like the Edward Snowden leak in the USA.” The team has a number of research streams that may ultimately culminate
in revolutionary cybersecurity outcomes. For instance, the D2D CRC Integrated Law Enforcement program aims to build a technology that pools and presents data from government, police, armed forces and intelligence agencies. This has led to the spin-off NQRY™. “NQRY specialises in nextgeneration investigative tools and effective investigation management solutions for law enforcement and public safety organisations — essentially digitising a law enforcement agency’s lines of enquiry,” Mazumdar says. Another D2D CRC project — Beat the News — has developed an automatic forecasting capacity for law enforcement and national security agencies. This has since been commercialised through D2D CRC’s first spin-off company Fivecast™. A world-leading forecasting technology, Fivecast is able to automatically and accurately predict the occurrence of future populationlevel events such as social disruption, political crises and election outcomes. The Minority Report-like technology looks into the future to predict what might happen, when it will happen and why. Meanwhile, D2D CRC’s Predicting Cyber Exploits project is developing a system to predict when and how a publicly disclosed vulnerability will
“Cybersecurity is not just an IT issue — it is the board and executive’s responsibility to focus on the cyber resilience of their business.” SCIENCEMEETSBUSINESS.COM.AU
progress. With funding from the Defence Innovation Hub, the technology resulting from the project will allow decision makers and system maintainers to proactively mitigate high-risk threats before they are actively exploited by cybercriminals, and respond quickly if and when hackers do attempt to exploit the threat. Ultimately, this results in national security threats like cyberattacks being detected earlier, and a reduction in the probability of them occurring. Another way to try to predict a cybercrime is for computer security experts to think like cybercriminals. By understanding the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of computer systems and how they can be exploited, they can get a step ahead of the hackers. This is exactly what Yuval Yarom from CSIRO’s Data 61 and colleagues did to find the Meltdown and Spectre computer vulnerabilities, which were disclosed in January 2018. “By causing the processor to speculatively execute instructions that were crafted for this purpose, we could get secret information from the OS or from other programs,” says Yarom. Stemming from a design flaw in what is called ‘branch prediction’, where a central processing unit makes an educated guess as to what it will compute or process next, Spectre and Meltdown exploit a vulnerability in devices that are simply doing what they are designed to do. This flaw
allows malicious applications to bypass memory isolation in order to access the contents of memory. “Spectre and Meltdown use covert channels to get the secret information,” explains Yarom. The combination of covert
channels and branch prediction is what enables the vulnerability, and worryingly this means bypassing traditional security measures, thereby exposing billions of devices. Although cybercriminals have yet to build functional code to exploit the vulnerability, cybersecurity experts are racing to build patches to protect organisations and individuals worldwide. Of course, security experts would have a much easier job if the computer systems they were attempting to protect were secure by design. Yarom’s Data61 colleague Gernot Heiser has been working on secure OS for 25 years. His 7500 lines of C code that make up the seL4 microkernel — a microkernel being the bare minimum of any OS — was a major breakthrough, as it was the first to be proved
“Spectre and Meltdown use covert channels to get the secret information.”
ASD’S TOP 4
Application whitelisting: Whitelisting specifically authorises safe applications to run on a system, helping to prevent malicious software and unauthorised applications running.
Patching applications and operating systems: A software patch is a small piece of software designed to fix problems or update a computer program. ASD recommends patching operating systems and applications within 48 hours of a vulnerability being exposed.
Upgrade to the latest versions of applications and operating systems: Many companies continue to use systems long after support has been withdrawn, meaning vulnerabilities remain exposed. Simply updating to the latest versions plugs holes in defences.
Restricting administrative privileges: Hackers look for administrator accounts as they have full access to business systems. Reducing the number of administrator accounts and removing internet access on those accounts makes it harder for a cybercriminal to infect the system.
Further preventative measures are given in ASD’s Essential Eight: www.asd.gov.au/publications/protect/essential-eight-explained.htm
Leading the way on cyber security ECU is a partner in WA’s Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), leading the way in Cyber research. KNOWHOW MAGAZINE For more information, visit www.ecugetready.com.au
CYBERSECURITY, CRIME, INNOVATION AND INVESTMENT:
$1 billion Cost of cybercrime to the Australian economy in 2016.
$64 million Estimated losses that Australians suffered in 2017 due to scams such as phishing, identity theft and false billing.
Increase in voluntary reporting to the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT Australia) from sectors that have not been traditionally targeted, such as the accommodation, automotive and hospitality sectors, indicating an expanding scope of targets for adversaries and cybercriminals.
Percentage of Australian businesses that faced a form of attempted or successful cybersecurity compromise during the 2015–16 financial year, reported in a survey by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).
$50 million The Federal government’s planned investment over the next 7 years to establish a new industry-led Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CyberCRC), announced in 2017. Industry participants will separately contribute $89.8 million. CyberCRC aims to build Australia’s cybersecurity capability and increase cybersecurity for businesses and citizens.
$230 million The Federal government’s planned investment in the new national cybersecurity strategy over 2016–2020, announced in April 2016.
60,000 Estimated jobs that could be created by 2030 if Australia further invests in cybersecurity, according to Deloitte and reported in the First Annual Update of Australia’s cybersecurity strategy.
Research excellence, inspired by challenges and opportunities As Australia’s University of Enterprise, the University of South Australia is proud to be at the forefront of Space research and education that stimulates the Space industry ecosystem. To find out more about our Space initiatives, please visit unisa.edu.au/space
Image, UniSA satellite ground station at Mawson Lakes
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mathematically correct, thereby making it practically unhackable by today’s standards. Unfortunately, seL4 is too expensive for widespread adoption. Heiser’s work now focuses on reducing the cost of seL4 to make it more affordable and to ensure the microkernel is secure against highly sophisticated future attacks. He thinks that by observing the exact timings of actions, extremely talented hackers may be able to steal encryption keys and thereby eavesdrop on communications, or even masquerade malicious code as legitimate services. Heiser is now enhancing the microkernel against these ‘timing side channels’. “Fundamentally we’re developing OS technology for keeping systems secure,” he says.
BRIDGING INNOVATION’S VALLEY OF DEATH The road from great science to commercial victory can be treacherous. Bianca Nogrady investigates how three CRCs negotiated potential ‘valleys of death’ to reach market success.
NNOVATION’S ‘VALLEY OF DEATH’ is the place where good ideas go to die. The term hints at the often insurmountable financial, logistical and regulatory chasm required to bring a potential new product or idea to market. Unfortunately, not many negotiate it successfully. In the world of cancer medicine, there are multiple valleys of death, says to Dr Warwick Tong, CEO of the Cancer Therapeutics CRC (Ctx-CRC). The original valley of death concept encapsulated the idea that “you can have great basic science. But to have something in your hands to translate and take forward, that was a difficult place to get money,” Tong says. In the biomedical arena, the move from basic science to translatable concept is now considered only one of three valleys of death. The second is having enough money to take a new therapy to clinical trials, which can
run into millions; while the third is having enough money to file and maintain patents — also expensive. However, Tong believes the Cooperative Research Centre model addresses at least one of those challenges.
TRANSLATE AND TAKE FORWARD The Cancer Therapeutics CRC operates like a semi-virtual biotech company. Though its researchers are based at universities and institutions around the country, they work solely for the CRC —collaborating and communicating by means of an e-research platform, which enables real-time sharing of data. The platform also helps to ensure everything is documented and there’s no loss of data — both important factors in patent applications. Tong also argues that CRC ownership of patents is particularly important in the commercialisation
process, at least when it comes to medical innovations. “Our model means it doesn’t matter where the inventors of our patents sit, the patent is assigned to us in the CRC, so we own it,” he says. “One of the things the pharmaceutical industry often struggles with is having to reach back into academic institutions for intellectual property, so they have to be sure we have the right contracts in place for what we own.”
COMMERCIAL PARTNER PITFALLS While central control of intellectual property by the Commonwealth benefits commercialisation in the medical space — and was part of the base agreement in earlier CRCs — it has not been an ideal setup for all CRCs with commercial partners. A product to come out of the recent Invasive Animals CRC was a new bait for controlling feral pigs, which has just begun field trials in the USA. Feral pigs are a growing scourge not only
“Our model means it doesn’t matter where the inventors of our patents sit, the patent is assigned to us in the CRC, so we own it.” KNOWHOW MAGAZINE
there, but also across Europe and Australia. The bait started life as ‘PIGOUT’, a 1080-toxin-laced product, before evolving into ‘HOGGONE’, a highly specific bait for pigs containing a common food preservative — sodium nitrite. This chemical kills them quickly and humanely, but targets pigs specifically and poses almost no chance of collateral damage to other species. At the time the Invasive Animals CRC was set up, the standard model for CRCs dictated intellectual property be retained by the CRC, regardless of who contributed to that IP. Professor Linton Staples, managing director of Animal Control Technologies — one of the commercial partners in the Invasive Animal CRC — says that model was not ideal for participating companies because it didn’t adequately recognise partner inputs. To overcome an ‘uncommercial’ approach, his company ensured that the projects for which his company made a substantial cash or in-kind contribution were exclusively licensed back to the company to then commercialise. “It had a capital value implication for us,” says Staples, who is also an adjunct professor of animal science at The University of Queensland.
REGULATORY RIGOUR MORTIS Regulatory requirements have been another challenge to making this space
commercialised. Registering a new animal toxin and products for use in animal control is an onerous task. “The process to do the trials to the very high standards of the US Department of Agriculture has meant that everything has to be documented to the last decimal dot,” Staples says. “The data on product efficacy and safety has to be bulletproof for regulatory review.” The path to commercialisation of HOG-GONE has been far from smooth — at one point the baits were bursting apart, as the toxin reacted with their ingredients. Staples says his company has had to foot a significant amount of the development bill. “This particular project is now running into millions of dollars, just because of all these technical difficulties we had to solve.” But with support from an AusIndustry Accelerated Commercialisation grant, Staples is hopeful they will soon have their new product on the market.
FINDING YOUR MARKET One of the biggest traps for aspiring innovations is finding their niche. That’s an issue that the Data to Decisions CRC isn’t leaving up to chance: they’re going directly to the source, and working with potential clients — namely agencies in the areas of national security and law enforcement — to develop products
tailored to their needs. “Our approach is to build software prototypes that we roll out for the end users to trial,” says the CRC’s commercialisation manager Duane Rivett. “We then use trial feedback to determine which features are put on the product roadmap.” The CRC’s in-house development teams include experienced commercial software architects, software engineers and data scientists, who work closely with the end users on every aspect of a product’s development. The Data to Decisions CRC has launched two spin-off companies, both wholly owned subsidiaries of the CRC, with boards featuring members of the CRC’s own directors. “We’re currently looking at expanding the governance of our start-ups to include external advisors and directors, to bring in different viewpoints,” Rivett says. While the model for CRCs has changed considerably since the program began back in 1991, Rivett believes this approach greatly helps to bridge the valley of death problem. “In our experience, we can build commercial-grade software in-house and leverage our research from our university streams to deliver cuttingedge solutions,” he says.
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Northern Australia’s innovation frontier Sally Leigo creates tools for efficient farm management.
Whenever a farmer logs into the Cloud and discovers cattle that are 100 km away are at a good weight to sell, Sally Leigo smiles because her research helped to make it possible. Helping farmers manage their properties efficiently and sustainably drives this agricultural researcher, who was recently appointed as Project Manager for the CRC for Developing Northern Australia. Growing up on a property in western NSW, it was a given that Leigo would end up in farming on some level. After completing an agricultural science degree at the University of Sydney, she started work in artificial insemination. For 13 years Leigo managed research projects for the beef industry, including developing a tool to help farmers know when to sell stock and which pasture is suitable for grazing. The tool captures cattle weight when stock walk over a weighbridge on their way to watering yards and sends the data via satellite to famers. Satellites also record the greenness of pastures — if cattle are losing weight, it indicates poor pasture. Farmers can then decide when (and whether) to sell, to move cattle to another pasture or to use feed supplements. Previously farmers only weighed cattle at sale because properties in remote Australia can be thousands of square kilometres in area — comparable to small European countries. “To weigh your cattle on a regular basis is a big undertaking,” says Sally.
Leigo developed a tool to help farmers evaluate pasture for grazing.
In her new role at the CRC Northern Australia, Sally hopes to use her experience to improve opportunities in the agriculture sector. She is also looking forward to moving into new areas such as traditional owner businessled development. – Rebecca Blackburn
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Australian Postgraduate Research (APR) Intern is the only national all-sector, all-discipline program accelerating innovation via 3–5 month PhD research internships. Supported by the Australian Government, a new rebate is available for industry. aprintern.org.au
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is one of Australia’s largest public research organisations and operator of Australia’s only nuclear-based businesses. We translate research into products, applications and services that provide economic, health and sustainability benefits to Australia. ansto.gov.au
AARNet enables globally competitive research, education and innovation by providing transformational connectivity and collaboration services to meet the unique needs of our customers. www.aarnet.edu.au
CRC ORE is transforming the minerals sector by developing and deploying innovative world-class technology to effect a step-change in value across the whole-of-mine system. We focus on innovations that improve the productivity and water signatures of mining operations.
CTM CRC is increasing the accessibility, affordability and efficacy of cell therapies through novel therapeutics and intervention with advanced surface coatings to introduce efficiencies in cell therapy manufacturing. www.ctmcrc.com
The NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer brings together business, universities and government to drive an energetic state innovation system, as well as addressing difficult policy problems involving science and engineering. www.chiefscientist.nsw.gov.au
The Rail Manufacturing CRC drives the development of new products and technologies to enhance the competitiveness of the Australian rail manufacturing industry. www.rmcrc.com.au
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Monash is Australia’s largest university and ranked among the world’s top 100. We’re active in over 150 fields of research across our 10 faculties, in areas as diverse as additive manufacturing, drug development, public health and sustainable design. www.monash.edu
With an enviable reputation for research excellence and a driving desire to produce solutions with real-world impact, Macquarie University discoveries are paving the way to a brighter future. www.mq.edu.au/research
Armed with a collaborative, innovative and dynamic research culture, we are dedicated to the delivery of high-quality, high-impact research that tackles the big challenges facing our society. canberra.edu.au/research
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The University of Melbourne understands industry needs and welcomes industry participation — enabling industry partners to leverage our expertise across a broad range of disciplines and bring cutting-edge research to life. pursuit.unimelb.edu.au
We are a research-intensive university focused on improving the quality of life in our regions and around the globe. Our academics, students and staff pursue innovative solutions to the world’s great challenges. www.newcastle.edu.au
Campus Travel is the only Australian travel provider solely dedicated to academic travellers. Our specialists offer a complete travel service for flights, accommodation, ground transport, group travel and organisational travel program management. campustravel.com.au
We are at the forefront of legal advisory services to innovators, CRCs and technology incubators. Working across industries and government, we navigate complex commercialisation and collaboration issues and facilitate outcomes for success. fal-lawyers.com.au
“At Murdoch University my thinking led me to develop new therapies for inherited human diseases, after our first drug was given accelerated approval to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy” Professor Steve Wilton, Centre for Comparative Genomics 7 Murdoch: www.murdoch.edu.au/research-capabilities KNOWHOW MAGAZINE Find out how to collaborate3with
NEXT BIG THING
Tony Peacock The outcomes of working together are more than simply the sum of the parts, says CRC Association CEO Tony Peacock.
“When companies collaborate, they make more money.” KNOWHOW MAGAZINE
The proverb that “two heads are better than one” has been in use since at least medieval times. James Surowiecki’s 2005 book The Wisdom of Crowds showed how aggregating the decision of a group of individuals generally leads to better decision-making than any single member of the group. When companies collaborate, they make more money. Governments have recognised this and are encouraging more collaboration in industry and science programs. One of my standard slides when I’m presenting just says “2 + 2 = 5”. I use it when I’m talking about the power of collaboration to illustrate that whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I’ve got no doubt it is true. But is it always true? Is it possible that collaboration can be taken for granted? We’ve all been in situations where a ‘team’ is thrown together for a task or project but just doesn’t work that well. Just because better choices can be made through a group doesn’t necessarily mean using a group is always the best way forward. There is growing evidence that when creativity is involved, individuals will often outperform a group. Professor Leigh Thompson of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University argues that there are tools and methods to lead to better collaboration. She goes further, providing evidence that creativity is stifled in teams that don’t introduce some formalised methods to collaborate well. For example, Thompson argues that brainwriting, where individuals writing down their own ideas for 10 minutes will yield many more ideas than a similar amount of time of group brainstorming. Dr Mark Elliott of Melbourne company Collabforge says that collaboration is a way of working that you can learn. His company provides services to teach teams and organisations when and how to collaborate. When Government offer to pay for collaboration, such as in the CRC Program, they encourage more of it. The financial leverage of requiring industry to match government dollars is a great way to ensure the resulting 38
collaboration has a strong purpose. Just how a sector collaborates to bid and then run a Cooperative Research Centre is largely up to them. We know some do it better than others. I argue that once a funding round is announced, it is almost too late to concentrate on the quality of collaboration. Deadlines loom; there is a tonne of work to be done. Rounding up resources becomes the priority. That’s why it is so good to see major CRC and CRC-P proposals taking a longer time to really develop the quality of their collaborations well ahead of a funding announcement. The CRC Association is trying to assist this process by teaming up with Collabforge to run workshops on Collaboration for Industry Impact. We try to provide ways of enhancing the creativity of collaboration, while not forgetting that there are lots of practical issues that must be addressed in a CRC or CRC-P bid. Whether you can participate in one of our workshops or not, don’t assume that all collaboration is good, all of the time. Taking the time and effort to think through collaboration itself will help increase its ultimate impact.
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ABOUT KnowHow is a magazine for science, business and industry, focused on Australian discovery and innovation, produced on behalf of the Cooperative Research Centres Association by Refraction Media, a custom publishing house based in Sydney. The Cooperative Research Centres Program was established by the Australian Government in 1990 to improve the effectiveness of Australia’s research effort through bringing together researchers in the public and private sectors with the end users. The CRC Programme links researchers with industry and government with a focus towards research application. Copyright 2018 Refraction Media Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner or form without the express written permission of the Publishers. Printed in Australia by BlueStar Web. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of the editors or publishers. Images by Shutterstock unless otherwise stated. Cover image: Department of Defence. This product is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. This issue went to press April 24, 2018.
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