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Partners for Research Impact 2017

Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

Partners for research impact 2017


Welcome 04

The history of humans 24

Foundations of steel

A philosophical approach to health


Defence technology innovation



Technology in urban 08 water management Boosting numbers of 09 foster carers Sugar vs The Reef?


Exposing 27 electromagnetic fields 28

Clinical connections 12

Getting ‘Ahead of of the Game’


Pacific regions major challenge


Dementia-friendly 30 communities

World food shortages targeted


Monolith 33 revealed

A brighter future for frogs


Collaboration 34 forged in steel


Stemming the weed invasion


Project Air a world pacesetter


Masterful 45 partnership Active kids for a healthy life


Network for the brain


Raising the standard 48 50 Statistical 51 connection Powering the electricity market


UOW to the rescue


Rubber on rails



Safeguarding our waterway


Making every mouthful count


News building community Caring for the carer


Breakthrough superconducting


Dementia Training Australia


Radiation detectors go global


Public health policy impact



Aiding the vulnerable 17

Partners for Research Impact

Fairer support for school leavers with disabilities

Bushfire vulnerability 11 through a gendered lens

A plus for energy efficiency

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Inside —

Antarctic ecosystems 22 & climate change

University of Wollongong

Welcome Partnerships drive the impact of research at the University of Wollongong.


Partners for Research Impact

UOW Partners for Research Impact is the final instalment in our impact series, which commenced with 40 Years of Research Impact (2015) and was followed in 2016 by UOW Women of Impact. In UOW Partners for Research Impact, we demonstrate how our research partnerships are bearing influence: from materials scientists and surgeons working together to create medical devices that are literally ‘re-writing’ how surgical procedures are performed; to health academics, advocates and local government working together to improve social inclusion for people with dementia. Our researchers and their partners are improving the longevity and cost effectiveness of Australian railways; they are using art to bridge farming communities and the environment; they are implementing technology to convert waste into energy; they are understanding how early childhood education influences long term academic outcomes. Across the 41 profiles featured within, UOW researchers are working with 144 partner organisations from industry, government and the community. Many of these partnerships are multifaceted, deep and enduring. The momentum required for sustaining these connections and helping them to flourish is a reflection of the commitment, energy and perseverance of the researchers involved. There are so many stories to tell of impact at the University of Wollongong. I look forward to hearing how our connections continue to effect social and technological change into the future. PROFESSOR JUDY RAPER Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

COVER: Dr Lyn Phillipson with Nick Guggisberg from Kiama Municipal Council (left) and Dennis Frost of the Dementia Advisory Group (centre). Partnership profile featured on page 30

University of Wollongong

Partners for Research Impact


University of Wollongong

The foundations of steel PARTNERING WITH BLUESCOPE The University of Wollongong’s partnership with BlueScope and its predecessors Australian Iron and Steel (AI&S) and BHP Steel dates back to its very earliest days.


Partners for Research Impact

The need to train technical staff for BHP’s Port Kembla Steelworks was one of the prime reasons for the establishment in 1951 of a Wollongong division of the NSW University of Technology (later UNSW). That grew into the Wollongong University College, with a central role to train metallurgists and other technical staff for the Steelworks through the 1950s and 1960s. As well as investing a substantial amount – along with community and government donations – to establish the college, BHP also donated tracts of land and building materials, while also funding the salary of the College’s first Professor of Metallurgy. Since then the steel industry and the University of Wollongong (UOW), which became an autonomous institution in 1975, have maintained a close relationship through research partnerships, traineeships, scholarships and collaboration on a wide range of industry and community projects. One of these research partnerships included the BlueScope Steel Metallurgy Centre (BSMC), which was established in 2004. A key goal of the BSMC was to build up specialised equipment infrastructure shared by UOW and BlueScope employees in a unique arrangement. This infrastructure supported several collaborative research projects, one of which was at the heart of the development of BlueScope’s flagship range of COLORBOND® steel-painted products. Research teams at BlueScope Steel Research and UOW’s School of Chemistry used state-of-the-art mass spectrometry to monitor chemical processes

within the paint at a molecular level, to better understand the durability of the paints used in the COLORBOND® range. STEEL RESEARCH HUB Another significant initiative of the UOW-BlueScope partnership is the new Australian Research Council Research Hub for Australian Steel Manufacturing (Steel Research Hub), a focussed collaborative initiative drawing together proven and internationally recognised research talent with their industrial counterparts, across the entire steel manufacturing chain. This partnership aims to develop and ultimately deliver innovative solutions and breakthrough technologies in steel, providing the manufacturing sector with uniquely competitive processing methodologies and differentiated end-user products. This ground-breaking initiative, which effectively began in 2015, has attracted funding of almost $13 million over five years, including significant investments from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and BlueScope. This demonstrates the value that both industry and government place in collaborative, cross-disciplinary research. Led by the UOW, the Steel Research Hub brings together key partner, BlueScope, with Arrium, Bisalloy, Stockland, Cox Architects, Australian Steel Institute, Lysaght and the University of Queensland, University of Newcastle, Swinburne University of Technology, RMIT and Monash University. Each of its research programs involves managing innovation across the steel industry, with specific activities in Market-Focused Product Innovation, Innovative Coating Technologies and Sustainable Steel Manufacturing.

Critical projects include to increase abrasion resistance of steel plate, support steel product developments, develop anti-microbial coating systems and to support Australia’s competitiveness in steelmaking, both economically and environmentally.

The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) is a 6 Star Green Star- Education Design v1 accredited, multi-disciplinary facility that hosts a wide range of research and industry collaborations to address the challenges of making buildings sustainable, in particular pioneering approaches to retrofitting techniques to create more effective places to live and work.

BlueScope has played a key role in the SBRC with a focus on producing innovative new building materials and systems. The development of Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) systems, for example, has led to the successful completion of a range of important and productive SBRC-BlueScope projects. The first prototype PVT system was installed as a working demonstration on

Team UOW was the first Australian team to gain entry to one of the international Solar Decathlon competitions, and took out first prize with their retrofitted, modular, net-zero energy Australian ‘fibro’ home in the Solar Decathlon China 2013 competition. BlueScope was the ‘Gold Pillar Sponsor’ of the UOW Solar Decathlon campaign, which was a key catalyst for the collaborative PVT research and included the development of the award-winning Team UOW/BlueScope Solar Assisted HVAC (heating, ventilationand air-conditioning) System. SBRC research projects include developing sustainable building technologies for residential and commercial applications, analysing and improving thermal design for buildings to reduce the need for using energy for heating and cooling, and developing control and sensor technology to improve building performance. As well as its key partnership with BlueScope, partners of the SBRC include the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Daikin Australia, Warrigal, TAFE Illawarra, among others.


Located at the UOW’s Innovation Campus, this beautiful new centre is alive with student research as a ‘Living Laboratory’ and thrives on collaboration with industry. The building was designed and constructed based on the principles of the Living Building Challenge, pushing the boundaries of sustainable design and construction with hopes to inspire communities throughout Australia to take action on sustainability.

The BlueScope-SBRC team, together with UOW students, also developed the photovoltaic-thermal system that is now installed on the world beating Team UOW ‘Illawarra Flame’ Solar Decathlon House.

Partners for Research Impact


the SBRC building forming part of the SBRC 160kW renewable energy generation system. Subsequently BlueScope secured funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, in partnership with SBRC and the Fraunhofer Institute (the largest research organisation in Germany) to further develop the PVT technology and other complementary technologies.

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Each of these programs include an Academic and an Industry lead, supporting a team of chief investigators, partners and research students – meaning that industry needs can be addressed in a joint effort of expertise and commercial experience.

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Innovative technology in urban water management

Prof. Long Nghiem and research team

Wastewater project yields significant advances for producing energy from sewage sludge and organic waste


Partners for Research Impact

Partner organisation Sydney Water Corporation

Anaerobic co-digestion – the conversion of organic wastes and wastewater sludge to biogas for electricity production – has the potential to bring significant economic savings to water stakeholders and environmental benefits to communities. A seven-year partnership between UOW and Sydney Water Corporation (SWC) is investigating anaerobic co-digestion, as well as other projects such as phosphorus recovery from wastewater, and energy storage. The collaboration provides critical development in new research methods in urban water technologies, which are now being tested at sites across the water and sewage treatment network in New South Wales. One of the research projects is developing and optimising techniques to implement anaerobic co-digestion to generate power at up to 11 treatment plants within the Greater Sydney Basin and the Illawarra. The research is led by Professor Long Nghiem and is funded by the Australian Research Council. Early output from full scale implementation of glycerol co-digestion technology, developed by UOW and Sydney Water researchers, at the Bondi sewage treatment plant has demonstrated significant progress. In 2015, the Bondi plant produced 13 per cent more electricity than their consumption on an annual basis. More recently, a fully automatic and remote control capable pilot plant dedicated to anaerobic co-digestion has been designed, constructed and

installed by the UOW team at Sydney Water’s Shellharbour sewage treatment plant. It is the only pilot plant of its kind in the world that can be remotely controlled and consists of two parallel treatment trains, one for co-digestion and the other for referencing. It will provide a valuable site for testing a range of food waste products in a variety of mixtures to maximise energy production and minimise impacts on downstream processes, which can include biosolids odour, dewaterability, biogas quality and nutrient build-up. As well as working to develop technologies to convert sewage sludge to energy, the UOW-Sydney Water partnership is also a crucial pillar of the UOW Smart Sodium Storage Solution (S4) Project. This $10.5M, Australian Renewable Energy Agency and industryfunded project, brings together a range of partners to develop, demonstrate and commercialise sodium-ion batteries for renewable energy storage. As one of the key end-users of the sodium-ion battery technology, Sydney Water will play a critical part in installing the prototype energy storage modules (along with a solar PV generation system) at its sewage pumping station just off Bondi Beach. “Sydney Water is committed to increasing energy efficiency across their network and have put in place a number of innovative, partnered programs to affect this change,” Professor Nghiem said. UOW participants Anaerobic co-digestion Prof. Long Nghiem, Prof. Pascal Perez Dr Sihuang Xie, Prof. Will Price, Dr Hop Phan (S4) Project Distinguished Prof. Shi Xue Dou, Prof. Hua Kun Liu, Prof. Danny Sutanto, Prof. Kashem Muttaqi, Dr Duane Robinson, Dr Shulei Chou, Dr Khay See, Dr Weijie Li, Dr Xiao Lu, Jonathan Knott, Dr Wenbin Luo

Boosting numbers of foster carers A partnership forging a brighter future for children in need of safe and nurturing homes

An enduring partnership between UOW and Illawarra social service organisations has produced positive results in attracting more high quality foster carers for the thousands of Australian children in need of safe and nurturing homes. For the past nine years a research team focusing on foster care marketing and recruitment, led by Associate Professor Melanie Randle from the School of Management, Operations and Marketing, has worked with Illawarra social service agencies CareSouth, CatholicCare Wollongong and William Campbell Foundation.

The team has received Australian Research Council (ARC) funding of more than $850,000 for foster care marketing research. In addition, they have recently been awarded another a 4-year ARC Linkage grant valued at $326,000 to conduct research in the area of disability services. Over the next four years, this project will examine changes in perceived consumer value of disability services following the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The researchers will work with two local non-profit organisations that are faced with the challenge of operating in a newly competitive marketplace for disability service provision and having to compete with for-profit service providers. UOW participants A/Prof. Melanie Randle, Dr Leonie Miller, Joanna Stirling

Partners for Research Impact

It’s a partnership which has helped to significantly increase numbers of foster carers for all partner organisations involved. For example, since the partnership began CareSouth has more than doubled its number of foster placements; William Campbell Foundation has increased its foster carers by more than 300 per cent; and in some regions CatholicCare Wollongong has tripled the number of children placed with foster families. To achieve these outcomes the team first had to identify the characteristics of individuals who were likely to be particularly good in the role of foster carer. Subsequently, they had to develop marketing strategies that effectively attracted these types of people.


“Attracting the right types of people means they are more likely to continue foster caring for longer periods and thus provide the types of stable and nurturing home environments which are critically important in achieving positive outcomes for foster children,” Associate Professor Randle said. The research partnership has seen their findings disseminated through 19 journal publications, conference presentations and reports, including in some of the world’s leading journals. These have included the Journal of Advertising Research, British Journal of Social Work, Journal of Community Psychology and Child and Family Social Work. They have provided consultation and advice to the

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Partner organisations CareSouth CatholicCare Wollongong William Campbell Foundation

NSW Department of Family and Community Services on issues of foster carer recruitment.

A/Prof. Melanie Randle

University of Wollongong Partners for Research Impact 10

Dr Lucas Ihlein (centre) with sugarcane farmers Simon Mattsson and Allan McLean. Image by Summer Rain Photography

Sugar vs The Reef? Partner organisations Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens Artspace Mackay Commercial sugar cane farmers Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Mackay and Districts Australian South Sea Islander Association Central Queensland Soil Health Systems

Socially-engaged art fostering a more nuanced public dialogue about agriculture and the environment An innovative partnership between researchers, farmers and arts organisations aims to deepen public understanding of the complex factors which constrain behavioural transformation in the sugar cane industry. Taking Mackay as a focal point within a 2000km stretch of sugar cane farmland in Central-North Queensland, Sugar vs The Reef? brings together diverse stakeholders to develop a series of high profile public events at three sites: Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, Artspace Mackay (a major regional contemporary art gallery) and a commercial sugarcane farm in Mackay’s Pioneer Valley. The partners, brought together by Dr Lucas Ihlein and Kim Williams from the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, also include the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Mackay and Districts Australian South Sea Islander Association, and Central Queensland Soil Health Systems. They are developing a large-scale work of Land Art involving a dual crop of sugar cane and sunflowers at

the Botanic Gardens which will draw public attention to the agricultural processes of soil preparation, planting, growing and harvesting. The project also connects the botanical growth of the plants with the contested cultural and labour histories of the Australian South Sea Islander Community, whose indentured labour was key to the establishment of the sugar cane industry 150 years ago. The goal is to expand the public’s understanding of the forces that affect farming communities by drawing attention to their efforts and struggles to control environmental impact, thereby fostering a more nuanced dialogue around agriculture. Fundamental to Sugar vs The Reef? is a program of extensive community engagement, including three months of consultation in Mackay; the participatory design of the Botanic Gardens Land Art Project, with an accompanying program of on-site public events from 2017 to 2019; an exhibition at Artspace Mackay in 2018; and a further exhibition at Monash University Museum of Art in 2019. The partners are also working towards the establishment of a Regenerative Agriculture Demonstration Farm at an agricultural property in Mackay, which will operate as an ongoing site for farmer-led innovation in the sugar cane industry. This ambitious long-term plan requires the cooperation of government representatives, industry, environment management organisations and academics from other universities. UOW participants Dr Lucas Ihlein, Ms Kim Williams

Bushfire vulnerability through a gendered lens University of Wollongong

Partner organisations NSW Rural Fire Service NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Victorian Gender and Disaster Taskforce National Rural Women’s Coalition Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre Association for Fire Ecology, USA California State University Chico, USA California Fire Alliance, USA

Building resilience in communities by analysing social dimensions of disaster response In 2007 Dr Christine Eriksen from UOW’s School of Geography and Sustainable Communities, with the support of the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), set out to examine social dimensions of bushfire vulnerability and resilience.

Interviews and surveys with householders and firefighters revealed that gender roles and gendered norms structure levels of risk tolerance. This, in turn, shapes engagement with risk mitigation. There was clear evidence of how a gender divide in activities at time of death during bushfires historically correlates with the plans of actions of men and women during bushfires today, according to Dr Eriksen. “This points to hard-won but unlearned lessons about the gendered dimensions of bushfires in which many women deprioritise bushfire preparation in the context of other pressing issues in everyday life.

A further finding has been how a ‘firefighting masculinity’ that trades on ageism, sexism and homophobia, disputes the worth of women and other types of male firefighters on the fireline. “Examining bushfire awareness and preparedness behaviour as explicitly gendered social experiences is therefore paramount to building communities that are more resilient to disasters,” Dr Eriksen said. In response to her gendered analysis of their community engagement programs and workplace

culture, the NSW RFS developed a campaign in 2011 promoting women making a difference in the service. Dr Eriksen has also been involved on a number of policy and promotional initiatives, including with the Association for Fire Ecology, which resulted in an invited written testimony to a US Congressional Hearing on gender discrimination and sexual harassment within the wildland fire profession. In 2011-2012, Dr Eriksen assisted the National Rural Women’s Coalition in developing a kit to support women preparing for disasters and emergencies, which received a highly commended award at the 2013 Resilient Australia Awards. In 2011, Dr Eriksen initiated and led a collaborative research project at California State University Chico, examining gendered Indigenous fire knowledge retention through interviews with Aboriginal Australian and Native American land stewards. This has resulted in multiple research exchange visits between CSU Chico and UOW. UOW participants Dr Christine Eriksen


“ At the same time, societal pressure sees men perform protective roles that many have neither the knowledge nor ability to attempt to fulfil safely,” she said.

Dr Christine Eriksen (right) with bushfire survivor

Partners for Research Impact

Since then the project has evolved into multiple partnerships following women and men’s stories of living and working with bushfires in Australia and North America.

University of Wollongong Partners for Research Impact 12

Clinical connections Scientists and clinicians combine to provide bioengineering solutions for human disease Partner organisations St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne Sydney Eye and Ear Hospital Melbourne Eye and Ear Hospital Royal Adelaide Hospital Sydney Eye Bank Wollongong Hospital Sydney Adventist Hospital

Fast-tracking the translation of fundamental materials research discoveries into devices for patient benefit is the focus of clinical connections established by the ARC Centre for Electromaterials Science (ACES), headquartered at the University of Wollongong. The partnerships are driving innovative projects which rely on the convergence of advances in 3D

printing and materials science research to change the landscape of healthcare. These include applications for wound healing, controlled drug delivery implants for the treatment of epilepsy and cancer, as well as new implants for glaucoma and the bionic ear. Another ground-breaking example is the Biopen. It promises patients with arthritis – and other conditions or injuries – a personalised intervention that encourages the body to heal itself. ACES and collaborators at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne developed the Biopen to help surgeons design implants during surgery, using the patient’s own cells and growth factors to accelerate the regeneration of functional bone and cartilage. Using a hydrogel bioink to carry and support living human stem cells, and a low powered light source to solidify the ink, the handheld ‘pen’ has delivered a cell survival rate in excess of 97 per cent in laboratory trials.

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His team, along with that of ACES Director Distinguished Professor Gordon Wallace, worked together to design, refine and fabricate the biopen and the bioink that enables optimal performance.

Prof. Peter Choong (left) and Distinguished Prof. Gordon Wallace

The device, the brainchild of orthopaedic surgeon Professor Peter Choong from St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, was designed to offer a solution for people at risk of developing osteoarthritis, a painful condition which occurs when there is damage to joint cartilage.

The next step for the partnership is to look at the long term efficacy of the treatment in animal models, and to explore options for commercial development of the Biopen. UOW participants Dist. Prof. Gordon Wallace, Dr Stephen Beirne, Dr Zhilian Yue


This revolutionary technology is currently being trialled in animal studies for cartilage regeneration, with results from one trial repairing cartilage defects in the knees of sheep returning “exceptional results” in terms of quality and characteristics of new cartilage formation.

Partners for Research Impact

Dr Stephen Beirne with the Biopen

University of Wollongong

Mrs Tarateiti Uriam and Mr Ben Namakin, project officers, during Kiribati Fisheries Awareness Week 2016

Pacific regions major challenge


Partners for Research Impact

Collaborative impact towards sustainable coastal fisheries management in the Pacific Islands Partner organisations WorldFish The Pacific Community Governments of Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

Coastal fisheries are in decline. This decline is driven by population growth and exacerbated by climate change impacts that will have severe consequences for food security and social stability in the Pacific region. To help meet these challenges with effective solutions, researchers from UOW’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) have been building research partnerships with international fisheries management organisations, including WorldFish, the Pacific Community (SPC), and with the governments of Pacific Island communities (PIC): Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Coastal fisheries supply daily protein and present one of the few sources of livelihood for coastal villagers in PIC. “Securing sustainable coastal fisheries is therefore a key political priority for PICs. The research team aims to address food and nutrition security, improve and secure the productivity of coastal fishery systems and ultimately enhance the resilience of communities in Pacific Island nations,” according to Dr Aurélie Delisle, ANCORS Research Fellow. The project, in place since 2014, has had significant impact at regional and national levels.

With funding from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, the project has enabled governments to ensure the sustainability of coastal fisheries through improving local management and linkages between local and national governance, through community-based initiatives. In Kiribati, a country with no prior history of community-based fisheries management, the project team has worked with communities in two remote islands to develop their own fisheries management plans. These management plans included measures such as the creation of the country’s first community protected areas, bans on destructive fishing methods, mangrove planting, waste management, better sanitation and educational activities. In the three target countries, the project teams also trained national and sub-national staff to build their capacity to support coastal fisheries management. In 2015, project partners came together to develop a regional initiative ‘A new song for coastal fisheries – pathways to change: The Noumea strategy’, to better place coastal fisheries in the development of the Pacific region. “Over the next five years, the project team and partners will build upon their successes, scale out the lessons learned and expand their collaboration to more communities within the partner countries and the region,” according to Dr Aurélie Delisle. UOW participants A/Prof. Quentin Hanich, Dr Aurélie Delisle, Ms Brooke Campbell, A/ Prof. Karen Charlton, Dr Joanna Russell, Ms Anne Lechner, Mr Asher Taccori, Ms Kim Williams

World food shortages targeted Providing statistical rigour for the grains industry to improve international competitiveness and global food security

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Partner organisations Grains Research Development Corporation NSW Department of Primary Industries Agriculture Victoria CSIRO Australian National University University of Adelaide University of Sydney

A two decade strong association between UOW biometricians and the agricultural industry is helping to significantly improve grain yields in the light of future world food shortages.

Together with collaborators at the CSIRO, state agriculture departments and Australian universities, significant outcomes of the partnership include the development and application of best practice statistics and decision support tools to enable Australian grain growers to make informed decisions, such as the National Variety Trial (NVT) system. The NVT is an annual program of comparative variety testing in which current commercial varieties and breeding lines close to commercial release are evaluated across the Australian grain belt. As well, the research team has worked with state agriculture departments and growers to adopt advanced multi-environment trial analyses and designs for their plant improvement programs.

The project will build on the partnership’s record for providing high-quality information and decisionmaking tools to the industry, thus ensuring Australian to grain growers can maintain their standing in a

“With an increasing demand for food and a real reduction in the availability of arable land, there needs to be a shift-step in the rate of genetic progress in wheat to address world food shortages,” Professor Cullis said. “The statistical information which underpins the experiments and trials of these grains is crucial to ensuring safe, sustainable outcomes.” UOW participants Prof. Brian Cullis, A/Prof. Alison Smith, Dr David Butler, Dr Ky Mathews, Chris Lisle, Daniel Tolhurst, Lauren Borg, Nicole Cocks, Jess Meza, Ramethaa Pirathiban


These real-world outcomes are set to continue with the appointment in 2016 of UOW as the national node for the GRDC’s Statistics for the Australian Grains Industries project. This five year, $5.7 million project is responsible for underpinning long-term GRDC research projects with high quality statistical and bioinformatics support.

competitive international market, and continue to contribute to global food security.

Partners for Research Impact

The partnership between the Centre for Bioinformatics and Biometrics at UOW, led by Professor Brian Cullis, and the Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC), is supported by two pillars: firstly, educating plant breeders, plant scientists and biometricians in relevant statistical methodologies; and secondly, developing information delivery tools and software to support plant breeding programs.

A brighter future for frogs Using assisted reproductive technologies to save Australia’s endangered amphibians

facilities, without the need for specialist training in administering animal injections.


Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

Partner organisations NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Taronga Conservation Society Australia Zoos Victoria

A powerful new approach for the conservation of amphibians is being advanced in a partnership between researchers, government and conservationists. Environmental change is responsible for unprecedented rates of species extinction for all vertebrate classes, and amphibians have been most severely affected. Current estimates indicate that over 34 per cent of amphibian species globally are now threatened with extinction.

Dr Phillip Byrne, Dr Aimee Silla and a corroboree frog

The emerging methods being developed at UOW integrate sophisticated Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) with traditional captive breeding methods to enhance the propagation and genetic management of threatened frog species. The project began when UOW biologists Dr Phillip Byrne and Dr Aimee Silla were approached by the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage to develop ART for Australia’s most critically engendered vertebrate, the Southern Corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree). The research team has since developed ART for a number of model frog species as well as other species of high conservation value, including the critically endangered Booroolong frog (Litoria booroolongensis) and the Northern Corroboree frog (Pseudophryne pengilleyi). The Taronga Conservation Society Australia have adopted ART protocols developed by the researchers to hormonally induce spawning to enhance the captive breeding and release program for the Northern Corroboree frog. Overall, in excess of 800 viable eggs have been generated using ART over the past three-years, and these eggs have been reintroduced into their natural environment by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Further research findings have significantly contributed to the field by improving stored sperm and egg viability, and generating successful artificial fertilisations. The research team has also recently completed experiments at Taronga Zoo to develop protocols for the topical application of hormones to induce breeding so that ART technologies can be more widely adopted by global amphibian captive breeding

Michael McFadden (Taronga Conservation Society) and Dr David Hunter (NSW OEH) release corroboree frog eggs in Kosciusko National Park

As well, the researchers are working to improve understanding of the nutritional requirements needed for the optimal health and fitness of amphibians – a knowledge gap thought to contribute to the poor success of amphibian captive breeding programs. They are investigating the effect of dietary carotenoid supplementation during development on a range of fitness-determining traits in the southern corroboree frog, and have recently discovered that carotenoids significantly improve escape-performance, colouration, and cutaneous bacterial communities (known to play a role in amphibian immunity) in captivity. Partner organisations have pledged an additional $170,000 in funding over the next three years to further support these important avenues of research for improving endangered species captive breeding and reintroduction programs and ultimately, species recovery in the wild. UOW participants Dr Phillip Byrne, Dr Aimee Silla

Evaluating the effectiveness of Salvation Army programs across a range of outcome measures Partner organisation The Salvation Army: Australia Eastern Territory Recovery Services

The highly successful partnership was established to help The Salvation Army to rigorously evaluate their treatment services, to provide opportunities for The Salvation Army to use evidence to improve service delivery, and to make meaningful contributions to the broader scientific literature. The UOW research team, led by Professor Frank Deane and Associate Professor Peter Kelly, developed protocols to evaluate the outcomes of treatment programs by conducting three-month and 12-month post-discharge telephone calls to clients who had completed residential treatment. They also conducted one-month post-discharge calls to clients discharged from detoxification services.

The research team has now progressed to a stage where they are conducting multi-site, controlled studies to trial innovative clinical interventions in partnership with The Salvation Army. With this work being funded by Rotary Health, Cancer Council NSW, Cancer Institute NSW and the Heart Foundation. Associate Professor Kelly said “Our partnership with The Salvation Army provides a unique opportunity to

“Given that most of these students are in clinical psychology programs the partnership is also increasing experience in addictions treatment services and several students have gone on to choose work in this area after graduation,” Professor Deane said. The research team currently has 25 peer reviewed journal articles published or accepted for publication that are directly focused on The Salvation Army program activities, understanding the active treatment ingredients of treatment, or describing clinical trials being conducted within The Salvation Army programs. The researchers have been honoured with a variety of awards including: Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association Excellence in Research and Evaluation (2016), Excellence in Research and Evaluation Award at the NSW Non-Government Alcohol and Other Drug Awards (2016); National Drug and Alcohol Award, Research Award (2012), and; the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research Partnerships (2010). The UOW team has had three major research contracts with The Salvation Army over the course of their 10-year partnership. The current contract is due for completion in October 2017 and Professor Deane expects that the partnership will continue with new research goals negotiated. UOW participants Prof. Frank Deane, A/Prof. Peter Kelly


“We then provide outcome reports to let The Salvation Army know how effective their programs are across a wide range of outcome measures,” Professor Deane said.

There have been 32 Honours, Masters or Doctoral psychology students who have completed theses focused on The Salvation Army. The project has also helped to encourage and up-skill these students in addiction research.

Partners for Research Impact

A decade-long partnership between UOW and The Salvation Army has led to the development of protocols to evaluate the outcomes of the drug and alcohol treatment programs provided by The Salvation Army.

develop and evaluate clinical interventions as part of routine service delivery”.

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Aiding the vulnerable

University of Wollongong Partners for Research Impact 18

Rails on rubber Taking a recycled tyre technology to deliver high-speed rail and more efficient freight services in Australia Partner organisations EcoFlex Ltd Tyre Stewardship Australia NSW Environmental Trust Australian Rail Track Corporation Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation

The research team at the Centre for Geomechanics and Railway Engineering at UOW, led by Distinguished Professor Buddhima Indraratna, has an enviable record of industry partnership over two decades of research and innovations in rail track technology. Driven by a goal to make Australian railways more resilient, efficient and sustainable, the research team has recently begun a new partnership working with recycled tyre technology via funding from Tyre Stewardship Australia and the NSW Environmental Trust in collaboration with EcoFlex Ltd.

The project is investigating the use of the EcoFlex system of recycled tyre casings as a rubber-based energy absorbing layer in heavy load road or high axle rail infrastructure. The UOW team is building and testing the technology, with a view to implementation as an environmentally-friendly alternative to the traditional compacted gravel capping layer for new tracks. The overall load-bearing system is structurally integrated by building layers of compacted rock base infilling the tyre cells, placing geotextiles at crucial depths, and an overlying fresh ballast bed. It has been tested in the rail and pavement laboratory at UOW’s SMART Infrastructure Facility, and in the field as an ‘access road’ for an embankment project. From these early tests, the benefits of the Rubberbased Energy Absorbing Layer (REAL) system include that no extra compaction is needed on the road, it is able to withstand flood events, and it is able to absorb a significant amount of energy from dynamic construction loads and subsequent live loads, such as fast moving heavy haul trains.

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The load and speed of passenger and freight trains create a transfer of energy and associated vibrations into the ground that could be likened to a ‘small earthquake tremor’, according to Professor Indraratna.

“These waste products [such as rubber from tyres] may be conditioned to perform as well as traditional construction materials, an economically enticing move towards the greening of Australian railways and certainly more favourable towards reducing the carbon footprint.” The REAL system is expected to be tested ‘in situ’ laid as an experimental trial track - on the Central Coast of NSW, facilitated by the research team’s

If successful, it may result in the ability for larger, heavier and faster trains. This drives efficiencies in freight transport across the nation, less maintenance of rail track, saving money across Australia’s 4430 kilometre track network. It may also yield information that could help develop a valuable domestic market for recycled end-of-life tyre material. Given the looming national flagship project of Melbourne-Brisbane Inland Rail (MBIR) for optimising freight transport efficiency between major cities and ports, for which the Federal Government has committed at least $8 billion, this research is expected to inspire our nation as well as making a significant global impact. UOW participants Dr Cholachat Rujikiatkamjorn, Dist. Prof. Buddhima Indraratna, Dr Ana Heitor, Dr Qideng Sun


“Australia has one of the longest rail track networks in the world, but we also have some of the poorest soil conditions in the world. This is particularly true along the east coast, where high compressibility of estuarine soil, erosion of silty soils and even sudden instability under wet conditions of shallow soil layers under train passage, can seriously challenge the design, construction and maintenance efforts.

long-standing collaborations with the Australian Rail Track Corporation and Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation.

Partners for Research Impact

Distinguished Prof. Buddhima Indraratna

University of Wollongong Partners for Research Impact 20

A/Prof. Karen Walton (2nd from left), Meals on Wheels President Nelson Mathews (3rd from left) and a customer

Making every mouthful count Working with Meals on Wheels to enhance nutritional wellbeing of frail older adults at home. Partner organisations Australian Meals on Wheels Association Northern Illawarra Meals on Wheels Kiama Meals on Wheels Wollongong Meals on Wheels Camden Meals on Wheels

New initiatives, such as in-home screening for malnutrition status, provision of snack packs and breakfast packs, meal fortification and mini-meal alternatives are the result of a five-year partnership between UOW, local Meals on Wheels organisations and, more recently, the Australian Meals on Wheels Association. This work to influence the direction of nutritional support provided to Meals on Wheels customers led to the UOW research team being awarded the tender to develop National Meal Guidelines for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme in 2016. The guidelines were launched in February 2017 at Parliament House, Canberra, offering the first nationally consistent approach to nutrition, menu planning and meal presentation for home delivered meals and centre based meals for older Australians. Supported through three UOW Community Engagement grants, the original research began when Associate Professor Karen Walton and her team joined together with managers of Meals on Wheels to conduct both qualitative and quantitative research to better understand the needs, experiences and dietary intakes of Meals on Wheels customers. This saw the introduction of new initiatives piloted within Meals on Wheels services to better support

the nutrition of older Australians receiving in home meals, including both screening initiatives to identify at risk customers, and trials of new meal types. The partnership continued to grow following a 2014 Home and Community Care grant being awarded to Kiama Meals on Wheels. UOW researchers provided training on the validated Mini Nutritional Assessment – Short Form tool (a validated six item tool for community living older adults) and a model of care, as well as assistance with evaluation, including the analysis of the outcomes over the last three years. Outcomes of this project were presented at the International Congress of Nutrition and Dietetics in Spain in 2016. The collaboration was awarded the UOW Vice Chancellor’s Team Award for Excellence in Community Engagement in 2014. Alongside the impact the partnership has had on the nutritional wellbeing of many older Australians, it has offered great training opportunities for UOW students. Organisations that work with Meals on Wheels, including Flagstaff Fine Foods and IRT, have been included in Nutrition and Dietetics Honours and Masters student projects. These opportunities enable students to understand the value of community-based services for older adults , the important links between hospital and community settings and the importance of applying and evaluating research based innovations. UOW participants A/Prof. Karen Walton, A/Prof. Karen Charlton, Dr Anne McMahon, Dr Siobhan McHugh, A/Prof. Victoria Traynor, Prof. Peter Williams, Prof. Linda Tapsell

Dementia Training Australia Consortium emerges as national leader implementing research driven education innovation in dementia care

A national approach to dementia training and education led by UOW is the result of an ongoing partnership of five universities and Alzheimer’s Australia.

Dementia Training Australia brings together the expertise of Australia’s leading dementia educators and trainers from five universities with Alzheimer’s Australia. It includes a network of partnerships based projects driven by links with industry, such as aged care providers, in the core business of translating science in practice. A key strength of DTA is its research partnerships.

DTA is committed to ensuring its work is impactful and translatable via a Knowledge Translation Framework and Impact Tool. Consortium members publish in academic journals, including the Australian Journal of Dementia Care, a multidisciplinary journal for all professional staff working with people with dementia to better link research with practice. The consortium builds upon the foundational work of state-based Dementia Training Study Centres (DTSC) – including the award winning Designing for People with Dementia service – which had operated since 2009 to provide education and professional development for the workforce providing care to people living with dementia. “This unique collaboration and Australia-wide coverage ensures the next generation of dementia training is based on the most up-to-date evidence and is delivered in the most readily accessible ways to aged and health personnel right across Australia,” said UOW’s Professor Richard Fleming.

Partners for Research Impact

In October 2016, following a rigorous three-stage competitive open tender selection process, the Australian Department of Health announced a national consortium called Dementia Training Australia (DTA), led by UOW, had been awarded the $27.9M contract to deliver a new national training program for the dementia care workforce, replacing the state Dementia Training Study Centres and the Dementia Care Essentials Program.

Priority topic areas for DTA include identifying factors in education design and delivery which accelerate knowledge translation outcomes in dementia care; comparing ‘dementia literacy’ outcomes for workforce education innovations across different settings; and investigating regional differences in uptake, impact, and satisfaction with remote delivery modalities.

University of Wollongong

Dementia Training Australia leadership team Prof. Richard Fleming (University of Wollongong), Prof. Elizabeth Beattie (Queensland University of Technology), Dr Margaret Winbolt (La Trobe University), Prof. Andrew Robinson (University of Tasmania), Dr Andrew Stafford (University of WA) Dr David Sykes (Alzheimer’s Australia Vic)

Access to latest research reduces ‘lag’ in new evidence becoming practice, enabling workforce education and resources to be informed by latest research.


Prof. Richard Fleming

University of Wollongong Partners for Research Impact 22

Antarctic ecosystems and climate change Influencing the environmental management of plants, algae and invertebrates of Antarctica Partner organisations Australian Antarctic Division British Antarctic Survey, UK United Nations Environment Program ANSTO Instituto Antártico Chileno: INACH, Chile Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research Universities of Cambridge, Exeter, Vienna, Tasmania, Portland State, de Santiago de Chile, Católica de Temuco (Chile)

Antarctica is one of Earth’s last frontiers. Preserving its delicate, unique and critically important terrestrial plant ecosystems for the long term is the focus of a worldwide collaboration which includes a team of scientists from UOW. This team is at the forefront of assessing the impacts of climate change, ozone depletion and ultra violet radiation on Antarctic ecosystems, and they are involved in a number of projects designed to understand and protect the southernmost continent.

With people from organisations including the Australian Antarctic Division, the United Nations Environment Program, the British Antarctic Survey, the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation and universities in South America, the USA, Europe and Australia, they are involved in a number of preservation strategies. These include the development of long-term monitoring protocols for adoption around the Antarctic continent by Australia and other treaty parties through the Antarctic Nearshore and Terrestrial Observing System network, and assessment of the impact of contaminants on Antarctic plants, algae and invertebrates, including developing endpoints for remediation of Antarctic soils affected by fuel spills. UOW’s partnership with the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) began in 1996 when Professor Sharon Robinson secured her first grant for Antarctic research and took part in an Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition to Casey Station with Jane Walsey. Jane then undertook a PhD supervised by Professor Robinson. This research project led to the AAD approaching the

University of Wollongong

Collaborators on King George Island working with Instituto Antártico Chileno: INACH

Observing System Expert Group in 2016. She has also contributed to several major reports on Antarctic climate change and the environment.

They set up a pilot in 2000, and established long-term monitoring in 2003. It is currently the only longterm monitoring in place for Antarctic terrestrial vegetation and informs the Antarctic Assessment in Australia’s State of the Environment reports.

Most importantly, the long-term partnerships sustained by UOW focused on the Antarctic have informed Antarctic Environmental Managers on the health of Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems, highlighting which types of vegetation and particular species may be at risk from climate change or disturbance from station activities.

This research program has informed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reports on the impact of climate change, particularly ozone depletion, on Antarctic ecosystems. Professor Robinson was invited to join UNEP in 2010 and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Antarctic Nearshore and Terrestrial

As well, the methodologies that have been developed are of increasing interest to environmental managers from other nations, since Australia is considered to be developing best practice in this area. UOW participants Prof. Sharon Robinson, Prof. Andy Davis, Prof. Dianne Jolley, Prof. Paul Keller, A/ Prof. Laurie Chisholm, Dr Melinda Waterman, Dr Mick Ashcroft, Dr Zbynek Malenovsky, Dr Johanna Turnbull, Dr Jessica BramleyAlves, Diana King, Alison Haynes, Krystal Randall, Gabriella Macoustra, Darren Koppel


Further backing from the AAD saw UOW’s Professor Andy Davis undertake a study exploring the impacts of UV radiation on nearshore assemblages, and has supported a number of student projects focused on the impact of metal and hydrocarbon contaminants in terrestrial and nearshore sub-Antarctic and Antarctic invertebrates and plants.

Partners for Research Impact

researchers to develop a State of the Environment Indicator for Antarctic Terrestrial Vegetation dynamics.

University of Wollongong

Distinguished Prof. Richard ‘Bert’ Roberts (left) and Dr Thomas Sutikna


Partners for Research Impact

The history of humans The unexpected news that another species of human had walked among us until relatively recently stunned the world Partner organisations Indonesian National Research Centre for Archaeology

In October 2004, the leading international journal of science, Nature, published two controversial papers announcing the discovery in 2003 of the remains of a previously unknown human species, Homo floresiensis, in Liang Bua cave on Flores – an island in eastern Indonesia. The fossil find was dubbed the ‘Hobbit’ due to its tiny stature. The discovery – a highlight of a partnership between the Centre for Archaeological Science (CAS) at UOW and the Indonesian National Research Centre for Archaeology – radically challenged the prevailing theories of human evolution and dispersal across the globe. The team of researchers addressed the evolution and extinction of the “Hobbit” in the original article and in a number of high-impact publications since. This nearly two-decade strong partnership evolved from joint research interests in the rich human history of the Indonesian isles and in the timelines of dispersal of humans within the region.

In particular, the expertise of UOW academics in luminescence dating techniques of archaeological items found on Flores was sought to date artefacts and fossils located in this emerging archaeological trove. The connection has facilitated access to archaeological sites in the region, to local expertise and knowledge, to the luminescence dating expertise at UOW, to scholarship exchange between institutions and to shared academic outcomes, including publications and citations. It was a crucial pillar in the successful submission for the $45.75M Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH), launched in June 2017. Headquartered at the University of Wollongong, CABAH brings together 20 institutions and museums worldwide to unlock the human and environmental history of Australia, Papua New Guinea and eastern Indonesia from 130,000 years ago until the time of European arrival. The Indonesian National Research Centre for Archaeology will be a key player in accomplishing CABAH’s mission throughout eastern Indonesia, as well as continuing to support the exchange of scholars and delivering outreach and community education across the region. UOW participants Dist. Prof. Richard ‘Bert’ Roberts, the late Prof. Mike Morwood, Dr Thomas Sutikna, Dr Gerrit van den Bergh, Dr Chris Turney, Dr Kira Westaway

Philosophical approach to mental health treatments Collaboration has led to improved diagnoses of, and better treatment for, disorders such as schizophrenia and autism

Work in connecting philosophical theories with therapeutic practice is playing a key role in assisting medical practitioners who deal with mental health issues. UOW philosophers Professor Daniel D. Hutto and Professor Shaun Gallagher brought theory into conversation with clinical practice through their work in The Marie Curie Disorders and Coherence of the Embodied Self (DISCOS) Training Network (2007-2011).

The addition of philosophical theory and practice, led by the UOW philosophers, to the DISCOS network directly influenced a number of clinical outcomes. For example, their work contributed to the revision of the Examination of the Anomalous Self-Experience (EASE) diagnostic tool for early detection and treatment of schizophrenia.

Revisions were made in both content and method. Questions were added to focus on interpersonal dimensions, and both interviewees and interviewers were filmed, making it possible to analyse interactions between them. The research had a direct influence on noticing and correcting these limitations. In a second application, Gallagher and Hutto’s insights into embodied, enactive and narrative social cognition, influenced clinicians in the UK’s Coventry

The research helped them to develop narrativebased strategies that decreased the occurrence of schizophrenic episodes in some patients. It enabled them to better understand the importance of the role of the social environment in the early stages of psychosis. The philosophers’ research also contributed to the formulation of new methodological guidelines for the clinical evaluation of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), developed at one of Europe’s largest children’s hospitals, the Bambino Gesú Ospedale Pediatrico, Rome. Researchers and clinicians, using Gallagher and Hutto’s innovative view of embodied intersubjective understanding, began to focus on early signs of sensorimotor problems and problems with pointing and gesture in children with ASD, instead of relying on standard ‘theory of mind’ measures. Work in connecting these philosophical theories with therapeutic practice continues at UOW through the Narrative Practices in Therapy Initiative, which brings together researchers in philosophy and other disciplines to address questions about the nature of narrative practices and how they feature in therapy and medicine. UOW participants Prof. Daniel D. Hutto, Prof. Shaun Gallagher


EASE is a questionnaire used in phenomenological interviews. According to Professor Hutto, in its original format, EASE focused on individual selfexperience but it under-appreciated and underemphasised intersubjective aspects — such as difficulties in interpersonal rapport, communication, and emotional and cognitive reactions to others.

and Warwickshire Early Intervention team to modify their approach to early psychotic illness.

Partners for Research Impact

DISCOS was a consortium of nine European Centres of Excellence in neuroscience, philosophy, psychology and psychiatry. The overall collaboration led to improved diagnoses of, and better treatment for, mental disorders.

Prof. Daniel D. Hutto

University of Wollongong

Partner organisations Dulwich Centre (South Australia) European DISCOS Consortium Bambino Gesú Ospedale Pediatrico, Rome Coventry & Warwickshire Early Intervention team, UK

University of Wollongong

Australian Army Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles. Š Commonwealth of Australia 2017

Defence technology innovation


Partners for Research Impact

UOW engineers sought out by defence industry to provide materials, welding and automation expertise DMTC participants Thales BlueScope ANSTO Bisalloy

Creating a safer environment for defence personnel by applying evidence-backed welding and automation technologies for armoured vehicles underpins a long-standing collaboration founded and based at UOW. The partnership emerged a decade ago, when Thales sought expertise in welding engineering from UOW researchers. This original consultancy has led to multiple collaborative projects, and resulted in UOW hosting the NSW node of the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC), a nationwide network of technology and research organisations focused on delivering enhanced defence and national security capabilities. One example is a welding automation technology that allows engineers to create robotic welding programs from computer drawings, greatly reducing manufacturing time and costs. This technology is adaptable to a wide range of robotic processes and has been implemented by smaller defence industry manufacturers to scale up production, therefore improving competitiveness. The expertise in this area is a research program distinctive to UOW. With partners that also include the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation,

BlueScope, other Australian universities and specialist manufacturers, UOW’s cutting-edge work has also focused on optimising welding processes and enhancing amour materials, such as steel, for vehicle, ship, and submarine building. Recognition for the collaboration has included the 2013 Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia for collaboration on the DMTC Armour Applications Program, while UOW researchers have received a number of awards from partners Thales and the DMTC, have published in high impact academic journals, and are training job-ready defence technology engineers via UOW Masters and PhD programs. The mutual benefits of the original partnership between Thales and UOW are most strongly demonstrated by industry adoption of the innovative manufacturing techniques and technologies the partnership has developed. The future of the DMTC collaboration is encouraging, with the team progressing work on automated welding and improved steels for construction of the Bushmaster armoured personnel carrier into its successor, the Hawkei. As well, research development is set to begin on naval surface ships construction based in South Australia, building on past work developing maritime construction solutions, which earned the group the National Innovation Award at the Pacific 2015 Maritime Exposition. UOW participants Prof. John Norrish, Prof. Chris Cook, A/Prof. Stephen van Duin, Prof. Huijun Li, Dr Dominic Cuiuri, Dr Zengxi Pan, Nathan Larkin

Exposing electromagnetic fields Through collaboration with international bodies, UOW is contributing extensively to the safe use of mobile telecommunications

Mobile phones, base stations, Wi-Fi and a host of other modern devices use electromagnetic fields to make their wireless communication possible. In addition to providing entertainment, these technologies have brought great benefits to society, ranging from improved emergency services and education, to improved equity in developing countries through economic developments.

Understanding and balancing the pros and cons of telecommunication technologies has become an urgent task for society, according to the Director of the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research at UOW, Professor Rodney Croft. Through collaboration with international bodies, UOW experts are contributing extensively to the evidence base for recommended safe use of mobile telecommunications. One of the two international research efforts in this area is the World Health Organization’s Environmental Health Criteria, a systematic review to bring the past 20 years of research together to determine whether mobile telecommunication technology impacts human health.

A second international effort in this area is the development of updated guidelines for the safe use of wireless technologies by the International Commission on NonIonising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

The foundation of electromagnetic research at UOW is centred at the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR), a National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence. As lead organisation in the Centre of Excellence, UOW academics play key roles in its research projects. Current collaborations include with the University of Bordeaux addressing the potential for electromagnetic fields to reduce Alzheimer’s disease pathology; with the University of Utrecht to determine whether the ‘blue light’ associated with ‘screen time’ before bed impairs sleep quality in children; and with the University of Montpellier to further develop research addressing the effect of mobile phones on sleep function. UOW participants Prof. Rodney Croft, Dr Sarah Loughran


Playing a vital role in the small team of international experts reviewing the data is the School of Psychology’s Dr Sarah Loughran, a bioelectromagnetics researcher bringing her experience to analyse the human experimental literature.

Professor Croft chairs the ICNIRP guidelines development process, and his expert contributions have led to three guidelines to date, covering exposure from movement through magnetic fields, such as those around magnetic resonance imaging facilities, and laser and optical radiation more generally. Dr Loughran is also an active research contributor to the ICNIRP guidelines group.

Partners for Research Impact

However, the resultant exposure to electromagnetic fields that occurs when using these ubiquitous technologies has led to substantial concern that this may impair health.

Prof. Rodney Croft

University of Wollongong

Partner organisations World Health Organization: Environmental Health International Commission on NonIonising Radiation Protection

Fairer support for school leavers with disabilities


Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

Assessment tool and predictive model developed by Australian Health Services Research Institute expected to be taken up nationally Partner organisation NSW Department of Family and Community Services

On leaving school, many young people with disabilities need a little more time and support to help them develop life skills and to participate in the community. A more equitable solution was needed for distributing support to school leavers with disabilities. It was at this point in 2002 that Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) in the NSW Department of Family and Community Services called on UOW’s Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI). ADHC identified that an AHSRI research and development work stream on functional assessment may provide the solution it was seeking. Programs run by ADHC have been providing funding to students at one of two levels - aiming either to improve employment outcomes for participants (Transition to Work) or, for those who are not able to move to employment, to help in the development of life skills to increase the participant’s independence (Community Participation - CP). AHSRI researchers, led by Professor Kathy Eagar, developed an assessment tool to capture the relevant

information about the school leaver applicants to determine their eligibility for each level of the program. The 15-year-long collaboration has seen the introduction of an assessment approach and analytical methods that were new to this sector. “We run the assessment scores through the predictive model and are able to consider the outcome in light of the comments made by the assessors. We participate in the review process that is available for applicants who wish to appeal their allocation. Our close connection to each stage of the process has enabled constant refinement, resulting in very few requests for reviews,” Professor Eagar said. “Being part of the process that equitably and effectively matches these applicants to appropriate support is perhaps the greatest reward of this collaboration.” The AHSRI team continues to be closely involved in the process for assessing support needs. Reforms in this sector mean that the provision of this type of support is moving from ADHC to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The assessment tool developed by AHSRI has been used successfully to determine program eligibility during the current transition period and it is anticipated that this will continue, and be adopted nationally. UOW participants Prof. Kathy Eagar, A/Prof. Janette Green, Ms Meg Blanchard, Ms Milena Snoek, A/Prof. Rob Gordon, Dr Luise Lago

University of Wollongong

Dr Stewart Vella

Getting ‘Ahead of the Game’ Partner organisations Australian Sports Commission Football Federation Australia Cricket Australia AFL Swimming Australia Tennis Australia Basketball Australia Australian Drug Foundation Black Dog Institute

Partnering with a range of sporting associations and organisations, ‘Ahead of the Game’ is a sports-based mental health program for adolescent males.

Led by Dr Stewart Vella from the UOW Faculty of Social Sciences, the proposal to address adolescent male mental health by delivering programs through organised sports was funded by the Movember Foundation in late 2014 to the tune of $2 million. A grassroots approach to mental health education and intervention for one of the most vulnerable groups for depression and suicide, Ahead of the Game has been rolled out to more than 500 adolescents through

Resources developed as part of Ahead of the Game include resources for adolescent males, such as Help Out a Mate, a mental health literacy workshop, and Your Path to Success in Sport, a sports-based resilience workshop and app. As well, there are workshops and resources that address the needs of parents, coaches and clubs. The research team are continuing to validate the effectiveness of the program, with a set of randomised controlled trials already demonstrating increasing mental health literacy in target groups. “Through this project, we have developed an international network of collaborations focussing on mental health in youth sport, which includes researchers from the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia,” Dr Vella said. “It’s the goal of the research team to reach every single adolescent male sport participant in Australia. All research partners have committed to translating the program into policy and practice,” Dr Vella said. UOW participants Dr Stewart Vella, Dr Christian Swann, Prof. Simon Eckermann, Prof. Tony Okely, Prof. Frank Deane


With more than two-thirds of all adolescent males participating in organised sports each year, the collaboration aims to educate and assist recognition and response when players need support.

local community sporting clubs in the Illawarra, the Illawarra Academy of Sport, and Illawarra Sports High School.

Partners for Research Impact

Adolescent male mental health addressed by delivering programs through organised sporting clubs

University of Wollongong Partners for Research Impact

Dementia-friendly communities UOW partners with Alzheimer’s Australia and Kiama Municipal Council on an Australian first project


Partner organisations Alzheimer’s Australia Kiama Municipal Council

A partnership to empower people living with dementia by promoting civic participation and social inclusion has formed the basis of a national program building dementia-friendly communities. The collaboration began when Alzheimer’s Australia invited the University of Wollongong, supported through its interdisciplinary Global Challenges Program, to join them in Australia’s first pilot project to develop a dementia-friendly community. The town of Kiama, on NSW’s South Coast, was chosen for the pilot due to its proximity to UOW, the

town’s ageing demographic, and the keen interest of the Kiama Municipal Council, who were already working towards becoming an aged-friendly town. Research in Kiama included interviews and mapping exercises with people with dementia and their carers, community and business surveys, piloting a dementiafriendly business toolkit and the development of an environmental assessment tool for use in the auditing of public buildings. Formative research activities guided the Action Plan of a local Dementia Alliance and Dementia Advisory Group. Evaluative research activities monitored inputs, outputs, impacts and outcomes of the project. As well as empowering people living with dementia to have a voice regarding their needs in the community, a key achievement of the project has been winning the Disability and Access Inclusion category at the National Local Government awards (2016) and the

University of Wollongong

Excellence in Community Partnerships Award at the National Disability Awards (2016). It was also recognised internationally, at the World Health Organisation’s 7th Global Conference for the Alliance of Healthy Cities 2016.

This has been achieved through media advocacy, community education sessions (with more than 1,000 attendances) and the development of new information resources including the ‘Dementia Illawarra Shoalhaven’ website, all in active partnership with people with dementia. Outcomes in the physical environment include the initial development of the Dementia Friendly Communities Environmental Assessment Tool (DFCEAT) and the establishment of the ‘Our Place’ Kiama

The model and tools developed as part of the pilot project have informed Alzheimer’s Australia’s $3.9 million ‘National Dementia Friendly Communities Strategy’, funded by the Department of Health, to establish more dementia-friendly communities across Australia. Dr Phillipson’s work with Alzheimer’s Australia on the national strategy continues through her contribution on the National Steering Committee. Meanwhile, the partnership continues to support Kiama Municipal Council in sustaining future dementia-friendly community action and in partnering with other local organisations such as IRT, Bluehaven Care and Playgroups NSW. UOW participants Dr Lyn Phillipson, Dr Chris Brennan-Horley, Prof. Richard Fleming, Dr Danika Hall, Dr Elizabeth Cridland, Prof. Helen Hasan


Led by Dr Lyn Phillipson, from the UOW Faculty of Social Sciences, the ‘Kiama Dementia Friendly Community’ project has improved community understanding and increased positive attitudes with regard to the capabilities of people living with dementia.

web interface. The ‘Our Place’ maps crowd source and share information about dementia-friendly places.

Partners for Research Impact

Nick Guggisberg, Manager Community and Cultural Development, Kiama Municipal Council , Dennis Frost, Dementia Advisory Group; and Dr Lyn Phillipson

University of Wollongong 32

Partners for Research Impact

Dr Bridget Kelly

Targeting childhood obesity Partnership with Cancer Council helps create healthy and supportive food environments

exploring the impact of unhealthy food marketing on children’s brand perceptions, food preferences and dietary intake.

A decade long partnership between Dr Bridget Kelly and Cancer Council NSW is focused on healthy food environments and childhood obesity prevention – a prime mission to prevent cancer.

As well, Dr Kelly is a co-investigator on an ARC Linkage Project grant on which CCNSW is a partner, related to food labelling; and a National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant exploring the potential for elite sport sponsorship to promote healthy eating by young adults, including healthy eating promotion and the promotion of health messages.

Dr Kelly has worked closely with the Cancer Prevention Division of Cancer Council NSW (CCNSW) as an employee, as a Chief Investigator on nationally competitive research grants, and as a consultant on CCNSW research projects.

More recently, Dr Kelly has been commissioned to undertake formative research for the development of a model program for health promoting sports clubs in NSW. CCNSW has piloted this program model and is rolling it out in select regions of NSW.

Her PhD research was part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project grant on which CCNSW was the industry partner. This project explored the nature, extent and impact of unhealthy food and drinks sponsorship of children’s sport, and ultimately developed a model for health promoting sports clubs.

“These collaborative studies have contributed significantly to the public health nutrition evidence related to food marketing and food labelling as priority policy areas for creating healthy and supportive food environments in Australia and globally,” Dr Kelly said.

Partner organisation Cancer Prevention Division : Cancer Council NSW

The relationship continued into another ARC Linkage Project, on which Dr Kelly is Chief Investigator,

UOW participants Dr Bridget Kelly

Monolith revealed Collaborative research on underwater remnant volcano’s ‘secrets’

They discovered that coral had flourished in the past beyond the known southern limit to coral reef formation.

Partner organisations Geoscience Australia NSW Department of Primary Industries Lord Howe Island Marine Park

To further examine the significance of the site, cores were recovered from limestone that veneers the volcanic rocks using an underwater rock drill operated by GA.

The collaboration between UOW, Geoscience Australia (GA), the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and managers of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park has been focused on exploring the seafloor around Balls Pyramid, a spectacular remnant of a volcano that rises more than 500 metres out of the Tasman Sea. Lord Howe Island is generally considered the southern limit to tropical corals in the Pacific Ocean, but the researchers hypothesised that reefs might be able to grow a little further south at Balls Pyramid.

Applying towed underwater video has provided further information about seabed habitats in the area, showing unexpected numbers of living corals growing across the broad shelf in water depths of up to 80 metres. The results of the collaborative research, which have been published in several scientific papers, will continue to help better inform management of the Marine Park, identifying sites for monitoring, and raising further research challenges that will lead to ongoing collaborations. UOW participants Prof. Colin Woodroffe, Dr Sarah Hamylton, Michelle Linklater

Partners for Research Impact

On board Australia’s Marine National Facility research vessel, Southern Surveyor, UOW researchers, together with GA and DPI scientists, mapped in highprecision the shallow waters around this spectacular monolith, and analysed the results.

This technique helps to understand how coral reefs have responded to changes in ocean climate that occurred around 8,000 years ago when the sea level was about 30 metres lower than it is today in contrast with the marginal reefs there now.

University of Wollongong

The underwater secrets of Balls Pyramid are being revealed in collaborative research which will help better inform management of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park.


Clockwise: Balls Pyramid; PhD student Michelle Linklater examines core fragments; Geoscience Australia scientists Scott Nichol and Brendan Brooke

Collaboration forged in steel An enduring partnership combining steel engineering expertise and the R&D needs of a world-leading steel manufacturer

University of Wollongong

Partner organisation Baosteel

Significant improvements in the quality and production rate of stainless steel rolling are the important outcomes of a now decade-long partnership between UOW and Baosteel, one of the world’s largest steel manufacturers. The research, which includes eliminating ‘sticking’ in the hot rolling process of ferritic stainless steels (FSSs) - used in everyday applications such as mufflers, exhaust systems and kitchen sinks - has also led to improvements in the environmental conditions of factory workers.

Subsequent discussions between Professor Jiang and fellow UOW researcher Professor Kiet Tieu, and Baosteel executive staff, led to Baosteel providing an initial US$180,000 in funding over three years (20072009) for UOW to develop new methods to solve the problem of friction in hot rolling of FSSs. Since then, the UOW-Baosteel partnership has gone from strength to strength. At a meeting at UOW in 2015, Dr Laizhu Jiang, Vice President of the Baosteel Research Institute, confirmed the company would


Partners for Research Impact

The original collaboration was initiated by Baosteel after its senior staff attended a keynote address delivered by UOW’s Professor Zhengyi Jiang at the 3rd International Symposium on Advanced Structural Steel and New Rolling Technologies, held in China in 2005.

Baosteel field test

extend the Baosteel-Australia Joint Research and Development Centre (BAJC), of which UOW is a member, for another five years with an investment of AUD$2M per year. The funding provided by the BAJC expands the engineering and materials science research expertise within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences contributing to Baosteel’s research and development program. Professor Jiang has maintained a successful research collaboration with Baosteel, and in 2015 he received the Highly Commended Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Partnership. The ongoing collaboration between Baosteel and Professor Jiang’s group has led to a better understanding of surface deterioration in the hot rolling of FSSs, to the development of control strategies to optimise reheating temperature before rolling, as well as to the application of a specially developed, novel EP agent additive lubricant and nano-additive water based lubricant in the hot rolling process. These innovations in particular have been applied on Baosteel’s stainless steel production line, and defectfree FSS products have been successfully produced. This has had significant economic benefits for FSSs manufacturers, as well as reducing the impact of remediating damaged strips on the environment and workers’ health. UOW participants Prof. Zhengyi Jiang, Prof. Kiet Tieu, Dr Dongbin Wei (Honorary Senior Fellow), Dr Haibo Xie, Dr Xingjian Gao (Baosteel), Dr Xianglong Yu, Dr Jingwei Zhao, Dr. Xiawei Cheng, Dr. Liang Hao (Xidian University, China), Xiaoguang Ma, Hui Wu, Wenzhen Xia

UOW to the rescue Giving leaders the interpersonal skills they need to motivate and support volunteers

Of the estimated 1,700 volunteers who join the SES each year, only half are still active members 12 months later. In the volunteer fire-fighting agencies, where the annual turnover rate is around 8 per cent, the replacement cost for those volunteers is estimated at $13 million a year. To address these challenges, a multidisciplinary team of researchers developed the Inspire, Retain, Engage (IRE) leadership training program, which has been adopted by emergency management organisations and led to a new academic program offered by UOW.

A key finding from this project was that although leaders in the SES were good at technical training of volunteers, their interpersonal skills were not as highly tuned. With further funding from the UOW Global Challenges initiative in 2015 Associate Professor Jones brought together a research team to undertake an extension project titled ‘Redesigning Leadership to Improve the Retention of Volunteers in the NSW SES’.

A key element within this research was to work with the industry partners to identify the distinctive and dominant personal and shared values that motivate volunteer participation in emergency services. The project then went on to evaluate the importance of individual, group and organisational values alignment for volunteer satisfaction, commitment and retention. In the specially formulated program, leaders learnt key strategies for meeting the needs of volunteers and were supported in applying these approaches back on-the-job. IRE was piloted with the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW SES in 2014 and the program was further refined and tested in 2016 with volunteer leaders and staff of the Victorian SES and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. The course materials have now been made available to all emergency services on the UOW website and linked to the BNHCRC website. The IRE leadership training program also complements a newly-designed online course the Graduate Diploma in Emergency & Disaster Leadership - which will be offered at UOW from 2018. UOW participants A/Prof. Michael Jones, A/ Prof. Andrew Sense, Dr Yoke Berry, William Calcutt, Vivien Forner, A/Prof. Dominique Parrish, Dr Joakim Eidenfalk, Dr Senevi Kiridena


The seed of this project, which grew into the IRE program, began when Associate Professor Michael Jones from the UOW Faculty of Business approached the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) to undertake a study to discover the reasons why so many volunteers were leaving the service.

As a result, the IRE nine-week training program was developed for leaders within emergency management organisations to build on the interpersonal skills they need to motivate and support volunteers.

Partners for Research Impact

Partner organisations NSW State Emergency Service NSW Rural Fire Service Victorian SES South Australian SES Queensland Fire & Emergency Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre

This was further expanded through additional funding from a Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC) grant.

University of Wollongong

A/Prof. Michael Jones (centre) with research team and partners

News building community Linking a remote community to UOW through a community newspaper


Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

Partner organisations Ngukurr community

Ngukurr is a very remote Aboriginal community in South East Arnhem land, in the Northern Territory, with a population of 1000 people. The University of Wollongong is a large teaching and research institution based in a city of 350,000 people, 90 kilometres south of Sydney. Although very different, these two communities have had a long-standing partnership that is now centred on reviving community newspaper the Ngukurr News, which was first printed in 2000 but was closed four years later, following changes in management in Ngukurr. Twelve years later, a multidisciplinary team from UOW responded to the call from Ngukurr residents to help re-establish the Ngukurr News. Former editor, Daphne Daniels, resumed her role supported by UOW students, two of whom were studying journalism and one public health. The Ngukurr News is now in its 8th edition and has become a powerful information and advocacy tool. It is produced monthly, and highlights the achievements of a small community that might otherwise go unrecognised in the broader community. The collaboration has facilitated a learning exchange, whereby UOW students have discovered what it is like to live in a remote community and the complexities of media production in this environment, and the Ngukurr News team have learnt innovative ways to produce the newspaper, including digital formats. It also became a focal point for engagement with young people in the community. For example, the workshops facilitated by the research team to encourage young people to be involved in developing stories for the newspaper also included discussions about pathways into tertiary education. The project is creating impact beyond Ngukurr. In 2017, Ms Daniels co-authored a paper for Practicing Anthropology which looked back at the contribution of the newspaper, especially its role in advocating for change in the community. She co-presented a workshop on the Ngukurr News at the 2017 Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies conference.

Top (l-r): The team behind the Ngukurr News: Daphne Daniels, A/Prof. Senior, UOW students and newspaper contributors Laura Grozdanovski and Oliver Chaseling

As well, during the community based work, School of Education researcher Dr Samantha McMahon was able to link Ngukurr young people up with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) program to explore the experience of going to University. Meanwhile, two UOW media students undertook an internship with the Ngukurr News in 2016 and spent a week in the community, learning from local people. One of these students, Oliver Chaseling, continues his relationship with the newspaper for his Honours project which examines the representation of young Indigenous men in the media. The Ngukurr News has also become the focus of Julie Hall’s PhD thesis, which examines the role of the news as a community development activity. Both Julie and Oliver visited the community for an extended time in July 2017. UOW participants A/Prof. Kate Senior, Prof. Valerie Harwood, Dr Samantha McMahon, Shawn Burns, Julie Hall, Laura Grozdanovski, Oliver Chaseling

University of Wollongong

Partners for Research Impact


Caring for the carer Identifying strategies for improving engagement, wellbeing and retention of healthcare professionals

Regional hospitals are currently experiencing skills shortages in many health occupations while facing decreasing employee engagement, wellbeing and high employee turnover. In a research partnership with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD), the reasons for these are being identified by a team led by Associate Professor Mario Fernando of the UOW School of Management, Operations and Marketing. The partnership started from a pilot project funded by the Faculty of Business. In a subsequent Global Challenges grant, the researchers found employee engagement at three regional hospitals was influenced by individual attributes, such as emotional wellbeing, and job satisfaction, more than organisational support systems.


Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

Partner organisations Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District University of Lancaster, UK University of Melbourne Wollongong Hospital

A/Prof. Mario Fernando and team

These issues were more acute in ‘at-risk’ units: emergency, surgical, and intensive care departments. To apply their findings, the team identified specific strategies hospitals could implement to improve engagement and wellbeing. To test these strategies, the team developed a simulation model to promote wellbeing in healthcare and three online wellbeing interventions. “We expect the final simulation model to help emphasise ‘Caring for the Carer’, and assist healthcare professionals to function more effectively in disruptive work settings,” Associate Professor Fernando said. “The development of the three online wellbeing interventions by Dr Shamika Almeida are targeted to promote wellbeing by self-regulation, and mitigating stress and anxiety.” The researchers hope to soon have a more developed simulation model and a suite of online wellbeing resources for healthcare professionals made available in local hospitals, and to be able to further build on the collaboration by securing additional research funding. UOW participants A/Prof. Mario Fernando, Dr Shamika Almeida, Dr Albert Munoz, Dr Sim Lau, A/Prof. Peter Caputi

Radiation detectors go global Strong partnerships continue to grow with leading international radiation oncology departments benefitting cancer patients worldwide

At the forefront of the development of a suite of innovative radiation detectors for the treatment of cancer is the Centre for Medical Radiation Physics (CMRP) at UOW and its numerous research and clinical partners within Australia and overseas. Many of the detectors are already being applied to benefit cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment, and the dedicated research of the CMRP, under the leadership of Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld, continues to improve treatment technologies.

MOSkin has been applied to brachytherapy treatment of prostate and gynaecological cancer at the Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori (INT) in Milan, Italy: an outcome which is the result of a long-standing, close collaboration between the CMRP and Professor Mauro Carrara of the INT. A leading European Comprehensive Cancer Centre of excellence, the INT implements multiple types of

As well as the clinical outcomes that radiotherapy technologies developed by the CMRP are having for INT prostate cancer patients, the partnership is helping to nurture close connections between researchers and clinicians. For example, CMRP PhD student Anna Romanyukha undertook a six month-long clinical attachment at INT to translate the MOSkin technology for the benefit of gynaecological cancer patients. Her results, obtained in collaboration with Italian medical physicist Dr Chiara Tenconi, led to the research project ‘In-Vivo Wall Dosimetry in Gynaecological HDR Brachytherapy Using a Semi-Flexible Rectal Probe Provided with MOSkin Dosimeters’, being recognised for its excellence with an award at the 2016 World Congress of Brachytherapy. Now, as at INT, the CMRP has introduced MOSkin dosimetry into clinical practice at St George Cancer Care Centre, Sydney, in collaboration with radiation oncologist Dr Joseph Bucci, for the benefit of Australian prostate and gynaecological cancer patients. UOW participants Dist. Prof. Anatoly Rozenfeld, A/Prof. Michael Lerch, Dr Dean Cutajar, Dr Marco Petasecca, Prof. Peter Metcalfe, Dr Alex Pogossov, Ms Anna Romanyukha, Mrs Holly Zhu


An outstanding example is the MOSkin dosimeter (radiation dose monitor), used in prostate cancer treatment, as well as for vaginal and cervical tumours, which confirms doses of radiation are tailored in real time to the best levels and avoid damaging surrounding critical organs, such as the rectal wall.

cutting-edge treatment procedures. It is one of few centres in Italy implementing brachytherapy – where a tiny source of radiation is implanted inside or next to the area of treatment.

Partners for Research Impact

Partner organisations National Cancer Institute, Italy St George Cancer Care Centre, Sydney

University of Wollongong

Distinguished Prof. Anatoly Rozenfeld


Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

Public health policy impact Reducing the burden of chronic disease in sub-Saharan Africa through salt reduction strategies Partner organisations World Health Organization (WHO), Switzerland Center for Diseases Control Foundation, with financial support provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, USA WHO Collaborating Center on Salt Reduction George Institute for Global Health North-West University, South Africa Department of Community Health, University of Ghana, Ghana Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa

High levels of salt consumption around the world are contributing to rising levels of high blood pressure, which is one of the biggest contributors to cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Population wide salt reduction strategies are considered a best-buy approach to reduce the growing burden of chronic diseases in most countries. South Africa is the first country to mandate salt levels allowed in a wide range of commonly consumed processed foods. The policy – influenced by the research of UOW’s Associate Professor Karen Charlton – was implemented on 30 June 2016, with more stringent targets being implemented by June 2019. Studies by A/Prof Charlton in 1990s provided evidence to the South African government towards its salt reduction policy. Modelling showed that reducing the sodium content of bread by 32 per cent, along with other proposed reductions in margarine, soups and stocks, would decrease salt intake by 0.85 grams per day, resulting in 7,000 fewer deaths due to cardiovascular disease and 4,000 less non-fatal strokes in the country per year. This research, along with advocacy efforts resulted in A/Prof Charlton acquiring a grant of more than AUD$1 million over five years from Bloomberg Philanthropies Foundation, USA for a project to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy. She is collaborating with Dr Paul Kowal from the

World Health Organization, Geneva, to include a salt sub-study in the multi-country, longitudinal WHO Study on Global AGEing and Adult Health (SAGE). During SAGE Wave 2 in 2015, 24 hour sodium excretion was analysed in over 2,400 people in South Africa and Ghana (a comparative country with no salt targets in place) to obtain baseline information, pre salt legislation, on salt intakes. These will be compared against post salt legislation values collected during SAGE Wave 3 in 2017-18. In September 2016, A/Professor Charlton convened a High Level Salt Reduction Consultation Meeting with stakeholders, including the National Department of Health and the South African Heart and Stroke Foundation in Cape Town. Preliminary results from the SAGE study were presented, including that 53 per cent of adults aged 50 years and over, and 33 per cent of adults aged 18-49 years, were hypertensive. Of those adults with hypertension, two out of three people in the older group, and 75 per cent of the younger group, were not aware of their condition. Only one in four people with hypertension received any blood pressure medication, with only one in every ten taking effective blood pressure medication that kept their blood pressure under control. Sixty-five percent of individuals were consuming levels of salt above the target of 5 grams per day, and 40 per cent of younger adults had very high intakes - above 9 grams per day. The outcomes of this meeting were published as a glossy report by the WHO Collaborating Center on Population Salt Reduction and an editorial in the South African Medical Journal. This early data firmly supports the South African government’s campaign to change the food supply to reduce salt intake, A/Prof Charlton says. “It’s important to monitor the effectiveness of food policy, and governmental efforts to change dietary behaviour for the purpose of lowering non communicable diseases in low-to-middle income countries where health services cannot cope with the increasing burden of hypertension and its associated adverse cardiovascular outcomes. UOW participants A/Prof. Karen Charlton

A plus for energy efficiency Partner organisations Regional Development Australia Illawarra WEA Illawarra Warrigal Care Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution IRT Illawarra Forum Viridis Australasia Macquarie University

Assisting low income older person households to be more energy efficient and thus save money is the result of the Energy+Illawarra social marketing program.

Led by program leader Professor Paul Cooper, from UOW’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, the project’s objectives were to trial and evaluate a number of different approaches at the community level to assist low income older person households to be more energy efficient, while maintaining quality of life and comfort. Once captured and analysed, the data has been used to inform future energy efficiency policy and program approaches, with resources related to the Energy+Illawarra project available on its website.

Energy Australia supported the project by adapting project materials such as newsletters and videos for distribution to a broader audience of consumers. In addition, local councils have been engaged on their policies and practices relating to energy efficiency. This has resulted in distribution and sharing of materials, links to the project website being promoted, and input into policy and practices of local councils concerning energy efficiency. Statistical evidence from three representative surveys support the claim of the significant and positive effects Energy+Illawarra has had on changing attitudes towards energy efficiency in the target group beyond the end of the intervention. The program will be expanded on in future, with members of the research partnership securing funding through the Port Kembla Investment Trust, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living. UOW participants Prof. Paul Cooper, Prof. Gordon Waitt, Kate Roggeveen, Michael Tibbs, Dr Georgios Kokogiannakis, Clayton McDowell, Laia Ledo Gomis


This research consortium evolved through the process of applying for funds under the Australian Government’s Low-income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP).

Education and training was delivered by organisations including WEA Illawarra, which provided 25 community events in the region to share insights, stories, and provide advice and support for people to use energy efficiently, which was then included on the website.

Partners for Research Impact

Energy+Illawarra program has significant and positive effects on changing attitude

University of Wollongong

Stephen Choi, Deborah Petkovic, Roslyn Fairley and Michael Tibbs

University of Wollongong Partners for Research Impact 42

Stemming the weed invasion Two partnerships approaching invasive species management from different angles Human dimension of weed management Partners Kiama Municipal Council Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority NSW Department of Primary Industries NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Facilitating the management of invasive species Partners NSW Department of Primary Industries NSW Office of Environment and Heritage CSIRO Australian Plague Locust Commission

Improving the management of invasive weeds across a number of different environments in New South Wales has been the focus of two distinct research partnerships at UOW. One of these partnerships, between Professor Kris French and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the CSIRO, is centred on identifying the greatest risks, detecting outbreaks and implementing evidence-based management strategies.

Another project, led by Associate Professor Nicholas Gill with partners Kiama Municipal Council, Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority and NSW government agencies, is considering how a cultural shift in traditional farming areas might influence the way agencies and governments target their invasive species management. The arrival of so-called ‘treechangers’ – lifestyle oriented landowners – and retreat of traditional agriculture on the South Coast of NSW presents an opportunity for a new approach to weed management, according to surveys conducted by Associate Professor Gill with his industry partners. These surveys revealed newcomers value the land for its visual appeal and recreational potential and that they were strongly motivated to rid their properties of noxious weeds such as lantana and fireweed. However, government agencies traditionally viewed treechangers as potentially increasing landscape susceptibility and invadeability to weeds. By integrating the ‘human dimension’ of invasive species management with weed biophysical processes, Associate Professor Gill is exploring the complexities of treechangers view of their land for ‘getting back to nature’, and informing governments about how to better target their invasive species management to align with their perspective.

University of Wollongong

Prof. Kristine French

This partnership initially focused heavily on the invasion of the noxious weed bitou bush into coastal sand dunes, and the impacts of its invasion, and eradication, on native species. The team worked together to identify the impact of different management protocols for bitou bush, and established evidence for the most effective control measures. This work then led to the development of monitoring tools and restoration guidelines for landcare groups to use to ensure native biodiversity conservation following bitou bush weeding programs.

It also looked inland, to two species of daisy encroaching into sensitive alpine areas. This research provides a good example of the novel approaches that can be designed, tested and implemented via a partnership. In these Alpine areas, the team have

As well, UOW has initiated new collaborations to understand the impacts on biodiversity of control strategies used for locust plagues, with important benefits for protecting native biodiversity and the integrity of the agricultural sector. The impact of these enduring collaborations is critical for ongoing protection of Australia’s environmental biodiversity in the face of ever-changing challenges in weed and pest management. UOW participants A/Prof. Nicholas Gill UOW participants Prof. Kris French, Dr Ben Gooden


The collaboration resulted in a now well-established understanding of the practices for bitou bush monitoring, control and removal and saw its focus shift to more invasive species including lantana, buffalo grass, sea spurge, mistflower and asparagus fern in coastal communities.

pioneered the use of sniffer dogs to identify outbreaks of the daisies and the UOW team are investigating the biology of these weeds to understand spread rates.

Partners for Research Impact

Meanwhile, Professor French has spent over two decades providing research based evidence to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage for its weed management program.

University of Wollongong Partners for Research Impact 44

Prof. Brin Grenyer (far right) with key Project Air Strategy partners

Project Air a world pacesetter Collaborative project’s significant impact changing the way mental health services across NSW diagnose and treat personality disorders Partner organisations NSW Department of Health Local Health Districts NSW Department of Education

The Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders is leading the world in breaking new ground in better patient care for people with personality disorder. It is a partnership between UOW, the NSW Department of Health, Local Health Districts, NSW Department of Education, schools and community organisations and consumer groups - families, carers and people with lived experience of personality disorder. “Project Air is the first project in the world to develop a ‘whole of service’ approach to improving the treatment of personality disorder,” according to Professor Brin Grenyer, Director of the Project Air Strategy and Director of Professional and Clinical Psychology Training at the UOW School of Psychology. The Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders arose from a competitive research tender in 2010 for a three-year pilot program to implement better treatment and services in the South East Sydney and Illawarra Shoalhaven local health districts. The success of the pilot program saw the NSW Government reaffirm its commitment to Project Air in January 2015, with the roll out and funding of the program across all NSW Local Health Districts from 2015–2020.

The collaborative project has had a very significant impact by changing the way mental health services across NSW diagnose and treat personality disorders, Professor Grenyer said. To date, it has implemented the strategy across six of the planned 13 Local Health Districts and Justice Health. Already, more than 4,500 mental health staff have received specialist training, and 12 personality disorder clinics have opened offering new models of care and support. The program has also been extended into schools, with the November 2016 launch of the Project Air Strategy for Schools – a project unique internationally. Working in conjunction with NSW Health and NSW Department of Education, it upskills teachers, school counsellors, school psychologists and health staff to better recognise and respond to young people with complex mental health problems which could include suicidal thoughts, self-harm, trauma and emerging borderline personality disorder. “Mental health issues occur in the context of families, communities, schools and workplaces, and sophisticated research in the future will need to develop broader models in which interventions can be targeted at multiple levels,” Professor Grenyer said. The Project Air Strategy supports the NSW Mental Health Commission’s Living Well strategic plan, and fits within the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for the treatment of borderline personality disorder, which had a major contribution from Project Air. UOW participants Prof. Brin Grenyer, Michelle Townsend, Liesl Radloff, Samantha Reis, Judy Pickard, Kate Lewis, Caitlin Miller, Ely Marceau, Pat Frencham, Fiona Ng, Nicholas Day, Annaleise Gray, Denise Meuldijk, Joanna Renfrey, Elizabeth Huxley, Laura Robinson

Masterful partnership Biofabrication research training program goes global Partner organisations Queensland University of Technology University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands University of Wurzburg, Germany

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) headquartered at UOW joined forces with three leading research universities to offer the Masters degree in Biofabrication from 2015. Graduates emerging from the program have established an international network, a trackrecord of collaboration with world-leading bionics, fabrication and bio-ethics experts, and an appreciation of all the processes involved in translating fundamental research into a commercial reality.

The institutions offering this cutting-edge program are the University of Wollongong and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands, and Germany’s University of Würzburg.

Meanwhile, UOW is currently hosting two University of Utrecht research students. One is working on 3D printing structures for wound healing (in conjunction with researchers at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne), the other is developing 3D printing protocols to be used to enhance isolated cell transplantation to treat diabetes (in conjunction with researchers at the Royal Adelaide Hospital). Each institution involved has a track record in key areas of biofabrication, which include polymer chemistry, cell biology, clinical implants and the process of fabrication. ACES scientists have expertise in forming printable bio-inks, stem cell biology, and developing custom bioprinting and 3D printing hardware. This expertise has led to many innovations in materials and delivery: formulations that allow living cells to be delivered as part of the 3D printing process and tools such as the BioPen to deliver the cell material. UOW participants Dist. Prof. Gordon Wallace, A/Prof. Michael Higgins, Dr Zhilian Yue

Partners for Research Impact

Biofabrication – a process of regrowing human tissue using 3D printing techniques – will transform medicine in the future by enabling health professionals to offer patients improved, personalised treatments.

Student exchanges currently in place include two UOW students on exchange at the University of Utrecht, one of whom is working to fabricate liver constructs and another to 3D print cardiac muscle. University of Wollongong

An international partnership providing students with the skills to take a lead role in innovative biofabrication projects is cultivating the next generation of industry leaders.

The degree includes a component of study and research at other participating universities, awarding graduate qualifications in both Australia and Europe.


Distinguished Prof. Gordon Wallace (left), MBioFab exchange students Marius Berthel, Juliane Kade and Maxim Brodmerkel, and A/Prof. Michael Higgins (right)

Active kids for a healthy life Partnerships focusing on getting preschoolers and children up and moving for a long and healthy life


Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

Partner organisations Department of Health and Human Services Tasmania Commonwealth Department of Health Lady Gowrie Tasmania

With one in four Australian children classified as overweight or obese, and the long-term impacts of sedentary behaviour for health and wellbeing well known, governments have turned to UOW researchers to assist with the implementation of effective education strategies. Since 2008, researchers at UOW’s Early Start have been involved in developing programs aimed at sowing the seeds of a healthy lifestyle at a young age. The partnership began when UOW researchers won the contract to develop National Physical Activity Recommendations for children aged 0-5 years. Subsequent research contracts to update the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines, and develop the Australian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines, for children and young people, and the development of the new 24-hour integrated movement guidelines for the Early Years have followed. These projects saw the Early Start team lead systematic reviews and a structured process in guideline development, and provide the Commonwealth with final guidelines for the Australian community. As well as the guiding of policy at the national level, the researchers have been involved in making a difference at the community level, through the Jump Start activity program. Jump Start is a gross motor skill-based program for preschool aged children developed by a team led by Early Start’s Dr Rachel Jones. In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services Tasmania approached the researchers about the program and agreed to co-fund its first translational trial (a pilot trial had shown that the program was efficacious and that both children and educators really enjoyed and engaged in the program). The trial began in 2012 and was conducted in a number of Tasmanian Lady Gowrie early childhood education and care centres, facilitated completely by educators. Its results informed a successful National Health and Medical Research Council grant, awarded in 2014, and the effectiveness of a revised version of Jump Start in 43 early childcare education and care centres in areas

Prof. Tony Okely

of disadvantage across New South Wales took place during 2015 and 2016. The collaboration on Jump Start with the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services saw Dr Jones invited to contribute to a further initiative, the Being Active Matters! booklet, designed for parents of preschool aged children focusing on the importance of active play and the development of gross motor skills. The initiative was undertaken in collaboration with the Women Sport and Recreation Tasmania, the Department of Health and Human Services Tasmania, Child Health Association Tasmania and the University of Wollongong and was distributed to all early childhood education and care centres in Tasmania. The uptake of this booklet was evaluated and revised and a second version - Being Active Matters! 2 - was disseminated to every early childhood education and care centre in Tasmania in 2016. According to Dr Jones, the key impact to emerge from this partnership has been for both partners to understand “the critical importance of professional learning in the area of physical activity”. “This led to us approaching Lady Gowrie in 2015 with a new and innovative idea, based on current evidence, of how professional learning focused on healthy eating and physical activity could be more effectively delivered to early childhood educators,” Dr Jones said. This project has implemented and is evaluating the efficacy of an online professional learning package in all 15 Lady Gowrie centres in Tasmania, with the researchers hoping to secure funding to roll out the package across the nation. UOW participants Dr Rachel Jones, Prof. Tony Okely, Dr Dylan Cliff, Dr Lyn Phillipson, Dr Stewart Vella, Dr Rute Santos, Dr Rebecca Stanley

Network for the brain Partner organisations Beijing Psychiatric Hospital, China Qiqihar Medical University, China Xuzhou Medical University, China

Growing a strong national and international medical research network focused on mental health and metabolic diseases is the aim of a foundation partnership between UOW and Chinese institutions. Professor Xu-Feng Huang, from UOW’s Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, has had a long-standing research partnership with Beijing Psychiatric Hospital, Qiqihar Medical University and Xuzhou Medical University.

About half of the patients on antipsychotic drugs used to mitigate the symptoms of schizophrenia develop obesity and metabolic syndrome. Through studies of the metabolic side effect of antipsychotic medications, Professor Huang and colleagues have contributed to a greater understanding of the brain pathology of schizophrenia, and key genes which contribute to this disease.

Among the benefits of the connection with Chinese colleagues, Professor Huang’s research team has enhanced their international relationships in medical research and teaching, attracted a high calibre of academics and PhD research students to UOW, increased the capacity of translational research from bench top to clinical setting and elevated and broadened UOW’s international reputation. Funding provided by UOW to Professor Huang in 2015 assisted in building these research relationships further and it is hoped that the collaboration can be expanded to a broader network internationally, including with university health research organisations in Canada, Japan, the USA and Indonesia. UOW participants Prof. Xu-Feng Huang


This collaboration is based around Professor Huang’s long-standing research program on understanding the connection between severe psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, and their treatments, and the body’s metabolism.

For example, their research has shown that schizophrenia patients have high incidence of type 2 diabetes, which makes additional impact to the performance of cognitive function. Therefore a therapeutic strategy which combines both antipsychotics and glucose control measures may promote better patient outcomes. This approach has been recommended to hospital specialists for further clinical trials.

Partners for Research Impact

Improving our understanding of the metabolic processes that affect cognitive function to abate symptoms of severe mental illness

University of Wollongong

Prof. Xu-Feng Huang

Raising the standard


Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

Two partnerships centred on making positive changes in the quality of teaching are set to have a far-reaching impact on early childhood education, and on literacy in schools

Fostering Effective Early Learning (FEEL) Partners NSW Department of Education Early Childhood Education Centres across NSW University of Sussex, UK Transforming Literacy Outcomes (TRANSLIT) Partners Charles Sturt University Big Fat Smile Catholic Education Office (Wollongong) NSW Department of Education Australian Council for Educational Research University of Exeter, UK University of South Australia Queensland University of Technology Language, Speech & Literacy Services

The ongoing potential of the FEEL study is significant. Further longitudinal components to assess children’s school readiness have already been initiated and there is future potential to link the data through to NAPLAN years. Already in place at the primary and secondary level is another education study, TRANSLIT, which aims to improve understandings of literacy development across schooling years, in particular to shed light on students’ different pathways to literacy from preschool to senior secondary school. It will also inform professional learning programs to strengthen the capacity of teachers to deliver transformational literacy instruction. TRANSLIT partners with the NSW Department of Education and Training, Big Fat Smile Community preschools and the Catholic Education Office (Wollongong) to work with over 30 educators across the Illawarra and South West Sydney. This consortium facilitates access to observe teaching practice and interview students to assess literacy instruction.

Both the Fostering Effective Early Learning (FEEL), and the Transforming Literacy Outcomes (TRANSLIT) studies, involve partnerships with educators, schools, early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres and government education departments to advance educational practice.

“In this way, the team is mapping the changing nature of literacy in terms of the texts, classroom interactions and the conscious knowledge about literacy that learners must master to be successful,” according to TRANSLIT project leader Associate Professor Pauline Jones.

FEEL is a cluster randomised controlled trial investigating the efficacy of an in-service, evidencebased professional development program for improving early childhood educators practice and developmental outcomes of children. It arose from a competitive tender process initiated by the NSW Department of Education and Training, awarded to UOW Early Start researchers in 2015.

It provides a panoramic and individual view of school literacy, that is absent from current literacy research and aims to better inform literacy policy makers.

The research team has recruited 90 ECEC services to be involved, half of which were randomly selected to receive the professional development program in the evaluation year, and half of which were assigned as the control group, to then receive the training following the evaluation year. Early results show children in the centres receiving the program are experiencing heightened curricular and interactional quality in areas that predict later developmental progress and outcomes. “In addition, our qualitative process analyses suggest that participants often saw the professional development program as ‘very high quality’, ‘transformative’ and ‘reaffirming’,” according to one of the research leaders, Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett.

The FEEL study and TRANSLIT are two standout examples of how evidence-based research practice is influencing the direction of teaching and as a result, improving the quality of education provided to children from preschool to secondary school. UOW participants Prof. Iram Siraj, Dr Cathrine Neilsen-Hewett, Dr Steven Howard, Prof. Ted Melhuish, Prof. Marc de Rosnay, Dr Elisabeth Duursma, Dr Xiaoqi Feng, Dr Betty Luu UOW participants A/Prof. Pauline Jones, A/Prof. Honglin Chen, A/ Prof. Lisa Kervin, Dr Jessica Mantei, Dr Barbra McKenzie, Dr Erika Matruglio, Ms Emma Vale, Ms Bronwyn Mehorter, Prof. Iram Siraj, Prof. Beverly Derewianka, Prof. Peter Freebody, Dr Jan Turbill

University of Wollongong

Partners for Research Impact

49 Partner organisations Twitter Inc. Jakarta Emergency Management Agency

A web-based platform harnessing the power of social media to gather, sort and display in real time information about flooding for Jakarta residents is the result of a world first collaboration between Twitter Inc., UOW’s SMART Infrastructure Facility and the Jakarta Emergency Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta). The partnership began in 2014 when researchers at SMART were awarded one of just six global Twitter Data Grants, an achievement also notable for being Twitter Inc.’s first official live data academic collaboration. The pilot project PetaJakarta. org was operationally active from December 2014 to December 2016. Working in partnership with BPBD DKI Jakarta, the research team developed the open source software CogniCity, to detect in real time, conversations by community members on Twitter about flooding via their location-enabled mobile devices. CogniCity can send an automated request to users for additional flood information, with this crowd-sourced information directly displayed on a web-based map at


Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

A partnership with Twitter Inc. develops technology to map social media data on extreme weather events in real time, now used by Indonesian emergency management agencies

Team on launch day

The data is then used by BPBD DKI Jakarta to crossvalidate formal reports of flooding from traditional data sources, supporting the creation of information for flood assessment, response, and management. Now being fully integrated into BPBD DKI Jakarta’s emergency management systems, the PetaJakarta. org solution has received extensive recognition for its innovativeness and social impact. It was acknowledged by the US Government when their Federal Register cited the project as an example of best practice for using crowdsourced information in an emergency situation, while the International Red Cross included the project as a Case Study in their World Disasters Reports 2015. also won an Open Data Institute Award, which funded a research video to explain how CogniCity works. The project received funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, World Vision Indonesia, the Australian National Data Service, UOW’s Global Challenges Program and SMART Infrastructure Facility. It was also supported by the SMART GeoSocial Intelligence Research Group and the SMART OSGeo Lab, with the goal of extending our knowledge of urban liveability and resilience. UOW participants Dr Tomas Holderness, Dr Etienne Turpin, Dr Matthew Berryman, Dr Robert Ogie, Dr Rodney Clarke, Dr Olivia Dun

Providing expertise to the Australian Bureau of Statistics to meet its vision of unleashing the power of statistics for a better Australia

Reliable statistics are critical to the effective function of government, and as society changes, so does the need to adapt collection and analytical statistical methods. A team of UOW researchers from the National Institute for Applied Statistics Research (NIASRA) is partnering with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to provide an evidence-base for innovative statistical methods. The partnership was established in 2005 to encourage research into new and innovative methods of collecting, analysing and using statistical information relevant to the ABS, and included funding for a Professor of Statistical Methodology for 2006-2014.

According to NIASRA’s Distinguished Professor Noel Cressie, producing reliable estimates for small geographic areas from sample surveys is challenging for agencies like the ABS that report on the social and economic conditions in the country. “This project is developing and testing new methods to produce estimates for small area where the surveys

The team is also working together on a project that is considering the selection variables for calculating weights used in complex multi-objective household surveys. The team will propose a final weighting strategy for the 2016-17 personal safety survey. The ABS has supported NIASRA research through five Australian Research Council Linkage grants. This funding is specifically designed to connect research and industry. As well as providing opportunities to deepen the partnership between the two organisations, the grants created opportunities for post-doctoral research positions and PhD students, and helped grow NIASRA’s international collaborations. “The common interest in advanced statistical methodology should ensure continuing collaboration with the ABS through joint research and funded projects,” NIASRA Director Professor David Steel said. UOW participants Prof. David Steel, Prof. Ray Chambers, Dist. Prof. Noel Cressie, Associate Professor Yan-Xia Lin, A/Prof. Robert Clark, Dr Andrew Zammit Mangion


The group at NIASRA has expertise in survey design and analysis, complex data analysis and estimation methods, and privacy and confidentiality analysis, among a number of other areas of interest to the ABS.

are conducted repeatedly across time, by using spatial and temporal relationships, as well as other variables,” he said.

Partners for Research Impact

Partner organisation Australian Bureau of Statistics

University of Wollongong

Statistical connection

Powering the electricity market


Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

A continuous partnership harnessing research, technical expertise and industry application for mutual benefit Partner organisation Endeavour Energy

Over its unbroken 21-year duration, the partnership between the Australian Power Quality and Reliability Centre (APQRC) at UOW and electricity distributor Endeavour Energy has blended the crucial ingredients of true collaboration: exchange of expertise, mutual understanding, and shared benefits. The origins of the partnership go back to 1996, when an agreement was made between UOW and Integral Energy (now Endeavour Energy) to work towards a shared goal of a quality, reliable electricity supply. Since then, the agreement has been renewed on an ongoing basis every three years, with total funding received by UOW exceeding $5 million. For their financial investment in the APQRC, Endeavour Energy is able to draw on the research and teaching capabilities of UOW in engineering technology, including assurance of the supply of skilled and job-ready electrical engineers employable in the power industry through to full funding of lecturing positions. As well, a flagship development of the APQRC has been the Power Quality Compliance Audit, a novel, large scale power quality monitoring project, which has been operating for over a decade, and which is highly valued by the electricity distribution industry.

At arguably the most disruptive period in the industry’s history – with traditional power generation networks challenged by renewable energy sources and fast paced innovation in battery storage technologies – both partners are looking to leverage their investments to meet future energy challenges. APQRC researchers are examining the capability of network providers to connect to renewables, such as solar farms, and to harness the potential of energy storage. They will continue to offer up-to-date professional training programs and a flexible Master of Electrical Power Engineering academic program tailored to working engineers. The UOW research team will continue to contribute to standards and industry bodies related to best practice in power quality management, ensuring industry relevance, and to pursuing a research program which already includes the publication of more than 100 journal articles and 140 conference presentations since 2007. UOW participants Prof. Sarath Perera (Technical Director), A/Prof. Phil Ciufo (Deputy Technical Director), Emeritus Prof. Vic Gosbell, Prof. Danny Sutanto, Prof. Kashem Muttaqi, Dr Ashish Agalgaonkar, Dr Duane Robinson, Dr Jeff Moscrop, Dr David Stirling, Mr Sean Elphick, Mr Gerrard Drury, Mr Jason David Honorary Professorial Fellows: Dr Robert Barr, Dr David Sweeting, Dr Peeter Muttik, Mr Ty Christopher, Dr Nalin Pahalawaththa, Mr Alex Baitch Honorary Senior Fellow: Dr Vic Smith Honorary Fellows: Mr Neil Browne, Dr Lasantha Meegahapola, Dr Upuli Jayatunga

Safeguarding our waterways Informing the science underpinning Australia’s sediment and water quality guidelines A partnership between UOW and the CSIRO is influencing the way that environmental impact assessments and remediation targets are being established. The research spans geographical regions from tropical mining sites in New Caledonia through to the Antarctic. Professor Dianne Jolley, from the UOW School of Chemistry, and CSIRO colleagues Dr Stuart Simpson and Dr Jenny Stauber, forged a collaboration based on shared research goals and complementary expertise beginning formally in 2001 with a partnership to cosupervise two honours students.

The collaboration has led to the development of evidence-based protocols and devices for monitoring and remediating environmental toxins. In addition, this has provided outstanding training opportunities

The goal of the collaboration is to improve the ability to predict toxicity thresholds from contaminants in environmental systems, through exploring both applied and mechanistic aspects of analytical and environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology. For example, the team are quantifying metal mobility in aquatic sediments following changes in water chemistry and physical disturbance; capping-metal contaminated sediments; ground-water efflux through contaminated sediments; and, natural redistribution and remobilisation of both clean and contaminated sediments. They are producing recommendations to provide guidance on acceptable procedures for preparing metal-spiked sediments for use in evaluating the toxicity of metal contaminated sediments to aquatic organisms, and also have made significant advances in understanding of the biochemical mechanism that underpin the toxicity of metals within the cells, which will ultimately allow us to better predict when toxicity will occur. By collaboratively exploring the challenges associated with the protection of aquatic systems from metal contamination, the collaboration will continue to thrive with the ultimate aim of securing safe environments for fisheries, recreation and sustainability of aquatic habitats. UOW participants Prof. Dianne Jolley


Since then, this team has made significant contributions to understanding the mobility and toxicity of contamination in waters and sediments, graduating 7 PhD and 20 honours students. Often, the research is performed in collaboration with government and industry, which have included organisations such as Rio Tinto, BlueScope, the Nickle Producers Environmental Research Association, the Australian Antarctic Division, the NSW Environmental Trust and government departments in both New South Wales and Queensland.

for many students over the years, who now work in government and industry across the world.

Partners for Research Impact

Partner organisation CSIRO Land and Water

University of Wollongong

Prof. Dianne Jolley

Breakthrough superconducting research Industrial and medical applications for partnered research into the superconductor magnesium diboride


Partners for Research Impact

University of Wollongong

Partner organisation HyperTech Research Inc.

One of the most important advances ever made in the field of superconductivity was the result of a 15-year long partnership between UOW and US based HyperTech Research Inc. (HTR). Superconductivity is the characteristic of certain materials to conduct electric current with near zero resistance, allowing energy to be transferred vast distances without loss. The breakthrough in the fabrication of wires from the superconductor magnesium diobride (MgB2) was made by researchers at UOW’s Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM) and HTR. It resulted in a world record high critical current carrying capacity in superconducting MgB2 wires and is regarded as one of the most important advances in the field since superconductivity was first discovered in MgB2 in 2001. Implications of this manufacturing development have the potential to increase wire performance and reduce manufacturing costs. Prospective applications range across the power grid, including in power cables, fault current limiters; energy storage, and wind turbine generators. It also has the potential to have a major impact on the next generation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines. By using nanoparticle-doped MgB2 superconductors, MRI machines can be made more powerful and smaller than existing devices, and can be designed to not require expensive liquid helium cooling as is currently the case. The collaboration which led to the MgB2 breakthrough originated in 2002 through an Australian Research Council Linkage Project, bringing together researchers from ISEM and design and production staff from HTR. It has resulted in a number of academic and commercial outcomes, including over 100 jointlyauthored papers and technical reports, and two patents and licences.

Distinguished Prof. Shi Xue Dou

The team continue to pursue areas for collaboration, particularly on projects to implement MgB2 wire into large-scale superconducting devices. They have recently begun working with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor on the development of low-cost superconducting poloidal and correction coils for next-generation fusion reactors. UOW participants Dist. Prof. Shi Xue Dou, A/Prof. Germanas Peleckis, Prof. Xiaolin Wang, Dr Md Shariar Hossain, Prof. Alexey Pan, Dr Xun Xu, Prof. Jung-Ho Kim, Dr Jeff Moscrop, Prof. Chris Cook, Mr Jonathan Knott

Research with purpose Professor Judy Raper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)


61.71 Million






(Higher Education Research Data Collection)

36.79 Million


(abstract and citation database)


RESEARCH BLOCK GRANT ALLOCATION – 2017 (Source: Australian Government)

48.62 Million




(Australian Research Council & National Health & Medical Research Council grants announced in 2016)

(including publications with international co-authors, grants with international investigators and contract research with international funding partners).

Partners for Research Impact



University of Wollongong

Research at UOW crosses geographical and disciplinary boundaries to deliver results. The outcomes of our partnerships underpin the University’s reputation for research excellence.”


2.13 million

33.75 Million


ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage

ARC Linkage Projects announced in 2016

5.34 million



ARC Discovery Project funding announced in 2016

4.27 million


ARC DECRA & Future Fellowships announced in 2016 (DECRA: Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards)

1.76 million

NHMRC Project Grants announced in 2016



University of Wollongong Partners for Research Impact

CONTACT Research Services Office Building 20, Level 1, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave, Wollongong, NSW, Australia, 2522 +61 2 4221 3386


For academic profiles of the UOW staff featured, go to

The University of Wollongong attempts to ensure the information contained in this publication is correct at the time of production (August 2017); however, sections may be amended without notice by the University in response to changing circumstances or for any other reason. UNIVERSITY OF WOLLONGONG CRICOS: 00102E

UOW Partners for Research Impact 2017  

The Partners for Research Impact publication explores several of the various industry, community and government collaborations that drive th...

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