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may-june 2012 - ISSUE #3 Digital revolution

UOW researchers develop breakthrough technologies that will revolutionise video conferencing, offer ADHD children a drug free alternative and help save the print media Recognising research excellence 2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award recipients

TEDx arrives in wollongong Inaugural TEDxUWollongong shines spotlight on how cutting edge research into medical bionics is transforming lives

The University of Wollongong ranks in the top 2% of research universities worldwide Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011.

Research & Innovation News is the research magazine of the University of Wollongong and is published six times per year. Contact: Research Services Office Building 20, Level 1 University of Wollongong Northfields Ave, Wollongong NSW, Australia, 2522 Publication manager: Sharon Martin Supervisor: Vicky Wallace Editor & designer: Elise Pitt | +61 2 4221 3761 Subscriptions: Visit to subscribe to electronic versions of Research & Innovation News.

Cover image: Š Hypermania37 |

For daily updates, follow uowresearch


14 04 News

Inaugural TEDxUWollongong showcases medical bionics research, UOW invention iSee to revolutionise video conferencing and researchers develop drug free alternative for ADHD children

13 five minutes with

2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship recipient and Geochemist Dr Bo Li

14 feature

Recognising research excellence with the 2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards

16 student profile

PhD research student and Endeavour Award winner Daniel Daly on building a sustainable future

17 travel tale

Doctor of Public Health candidate, Ali Sadeghpour, studies food security in the Philippines


18 new researchers & staff

New researchers at SMART and the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology


grants news

Upcoming funding opportunities

20 ethics News

Upcoming meeting dates


Research student centre News

Three Minute Thesis competition & doctoral student wins national sponsorship to conference

22 commercial research news

iAccelerate update and StartPad launches

23 Events

Proteostasis and Disease Research Symposium & the 2012 Uni in the Brewery series

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TEDx arrives in Wollongong

Photos: Mark Newsham

Transforming lives with medical bionics

TEDx, the international phenomenon of ideas worth spreading has hit Wollongong. On Tuesday 29 May a brilliant mix of world leading experts and inspiring speakers descended on the University of Wollongong for the inaugural TEDxUWollongong. Speakers gave the talk of their lives, condensing their life’s work and passion into a short, sharp and inspiring presentation on the theme of “Medical Bionics: An Interdisciplinary Approach”. Radio personality and science journalist, Dr Robyn Williams, was the Master of Ceremonies of the event, which featured internationally recognised nanobionics pioneer, Professor Gordon Wallace, world leader in the treatment of epilepsy, Professor Mark Cook, Director of the Bionics Institute, Professor Rob Shepherd and emerging technologies expert Associate Professor Katina Michael. Dr Lotte Latukefu and Associate Professor David Vance from UOW’s Faculty of Creative Arts spiced up the show with an operatic musical interlude, while Illawarra local Sue Young demonstrated how this cutting edge research is transforming lives. At the age of five, Sue was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss and by 12 she was profoundly deaf. For the next 38 years Sue wore bilateral hearing aids and used advance lip-reading skills and body language techniques to communicate. A chance meeting with Professor Graeme Clark (inventor of the cochlear implant) and Professor Gordon Wallace (UOW) in 2003 encouraged her to do something about her hearing. Sue underwent her first cochlear implant in 2004, followed by her second in 2006, becoming the 22nd bilateral implant recipient in NSW. For Sue, the success of her implants has been a celebration of a new life. “The Cochlear Implant Program has enabled me to merge from a black and white silent world into a new world full of colour, action and life. It has enabled me to attend UOW with minimal assistance and graduate as a professional. It opened many doors and opportunities to me in my personal life, creating new career pathways I only ever dreamed were possible”, Sue said. “I can now…appreciate music, especially live concerts and the 4

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sounds of an orchestra - the violins and flutes bring tears to my eyes. I had no idea how beautiful these sounds are. I can watch TV without captions, go to the movies, hear the radio and the sound of my children’s voices”. “And I learnt to dance! I can actually hear the music and dance to a tune”, said Sue. After the success of her implants, Sue was able to attend university and commenced a Bachelor of Arts (Population Health) in 2005. Since completing her degree, she has undertaken a Masters of Health Management and Leadership at UOW and founded the Illawarra Cochlear Implant Support Group. While bionics research is dramatically improving the lives of patients like Sue Young, Associate Professor Katina Michael warned about the potential ethical implications of these new technologies. Her presentation as part of TEDxUWollongong asked if we are really ready to live in an uberveillance society. “Medical bionics are prone to scope creep. Today a device might be used for prosthesis, rehabilitation, diagnostics, but in the future it might well be used for health insurance purposes to monitor whether or not the bionics implantee is doing what they are supposed to be doing, like exercises “, said Associate Professor Katina Michael. She warned that the issues of trust, control, reliability, availability, liability and accountability surround the future of bionics. “One of the biggest dilemmas is how these medical bionics may be rolled out, for example, as an automatic identification device to replace bracelets like the MedicAlert for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Consent becomes a major issue here. Does the patient who has lost their cognitive capacities have the right to say ‘no’? What if the technology fails, and therefore fails to locate a patient? What if these technologies are used to track prison inmates? Do prison inmates have the ability to say ‘no’?” Speaker videos available at Stay tuned for details of the 2013 TEDxUWollongong.

Forging new solar technology

Photo: Tom Tomczyk | Dreamstime

The University of Wollongong and BlueScope Steel have joined forces with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, one of the world’s leading renewable energy and sustainable building research organisations, in a new solar technology research and demonstration project with the support of $477,000 from the Australian Solar Institute. Research will be undertaken into optimised configurations for a unique arrangement of solar cells that will not only provide solar electricity but also assist in heating and cooling the buildings they are fitted on. The focus of the partnership will be the development of Building Integrated Photovoltaic Thermal (BIPVT) configurations suited to existing buildings, which aligns with retrofitting as the major focus of the University’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre. The BIPVT retrofit system involves refurbishment of an existing roof by adding a new roof deck above the existing roof surface. The new roof deck incorporates solar cells, and air then flows in the duct created under the new roof surface. This air flow will not only help cool the solar cells during warm weather, improving generation efficiency, but it will also help to heat and cool the building. Warm air generated in winter is used for heating, and as heat is radiated from the cells on summer nights, cool air is then supplied to the building, increasing overall energy efficiency. “The ultimate goal of the collaboration with BlueScope Steel and the Fraunhofer Institute is to develop design and decisionsupport tools to optimise the system for retrofitting to a wide range of building types and climates,” Director of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, Professor Paul Cooper said. “We will also be studying ways in which we can incorporate new phase-change materials to further improve the efficiency of these BIPVT systems.

the newest of technologies on older buildings,” Professor Cooper said.

“We are focussing on retrofitting because less than 2 per cent of existing building stock in Australia is replaced in any given year.

“The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre building (artist’s impression pictured above), which is under construction on the Innovation Campus, is targeting net zero energy use and we will be using the BIPVT technology to help us achieve that goal.”

“New system configurations will not only be tested in laboratory settings but will also be demonstrated on the roof of our new Research Centre and other buildings in the Illawarra region as part of our Living Lab project to work out the best way to install

The University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre will play a major role in the national research effort required to develop new technologies that help to reduce carbon emissions from existing homes and buildings.

UOW to host great philosophical minds Over 300 of the world’s greatest philosophical minds will descend on UOW in July as the University hosts the 2012 Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference. From 1-6 July, philosophers from all over the world will discuss their most recent research in an open forum. Dr Patrick McGivern, chair of the organising committee and UOW philosophy lecturer, says this year’s event will include topics like the philosophy of biology, global ethics, the ethics and epistemology of surveillance

and levels of explanation. While most of the conference events will be restricted to conference delegates, the three keynote addresses will be open to the public. The keynote speakers include Professor Rebecca Kukla (Georgetown), Professor Galen Strawson (Reading), and Professor Robert Wilson (Alberta). The conference will also include a philosophy in schools stream, which is being run jointly with the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Associations, as well as a celebration of the

90th anniversary of the AAP’s prestigious journal, The Australasian Journal of Philosophy. “This is widely regarded as one of the top philosophy journals in the world and is part of the reason why Australia has an excellent international reputation in philosophy”, says Dr McGivern. This will be the second time UOW has hosted this prestigious event, the first being in 1977, the year after UOW’s Philosophy department was founded. More info at

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iSee to revolutionise video conferencing

The iSee system enables hundreds of people to be in the same space at the same time and all talking using a breakthrough in spatial voice technology. An affordable video conferencing system offering real-time, high-quality streaming via a standard laptop is expected to begin commercialisation this year. The iSee system enables hundreds of people to be in the same space at the same time and all talking using a breakthrough in spatial voice technology, which has already been sold to Dolby Laboratories. Developed by a team of UOW researchers led by Professor Farzad Safaei, Director of the ICT Research Institute, with the backing of the $120 million Smart Services Co-operative Research Centre located at Sydney’s Australian Technology Park, the system transforms users into video versions of themselves called avatars, allowing users to interact with each other online in much the same way as they would in the real world. Professor Safaei said iSee provides a unique blend of features that makes it superior to other video conferencing tools or avatar-based virtual worlds for group communication and collaboration. “A key feature of iSee is that it can be scaled to a large number of simultaneous participants because the resource usage of the system (network capacity and processing power of the clients) is carefully managed and adapted,” Professor Safaei said. Smart Services CRC Chief Executive Officer Warren Bradey said iSee could be offered at an affordable cost because users would be

able to use the technology on their everyday laptops. “The cost really is in the hosting of it or in the cost of downloading and sending video”, he said. Dean of the Faculty of Informatics, Professor Philip Ogunbona, said that iSee had the potential to positively impact a number of areas, from business through to health and education in areas such as virtual consultations or seminars. He said the Faculty was engaged in a number of advanced multimedia applications and services research that would showcase the value of the NBN and promote its uptake. “The Faculty is producing the next generation of graduates that will design, implement and maintain the advanced multimedia application and services needed to bring the value of NBN to businesses and the community,” Professor Ogunbona said. iSee is currently being considered for education delivery trials in NSW including at UOW’s main campus and the University of Wollongong in Dubai. The NSW Department of Education has piloted the technology in regional NSW, with a view to using it in remote locations. In addition, the NSW Department of Primary Industries is currently in active trials of iSee across regional teams and with the Rural Women’s Network.

Vice-Chancellor announces new Professors Congratulations to the following UOW researchers who have been named new Professors, effective July 1 2012. • Professor Jenny Beck - Chemistry • Professor Stephen Blanksby - Chemistry • Professor Mark Dowton - Biological Sciences • Professor Zaiping Guo - Engineering • Professor Weihua Li - Engineering • Professor Mark McLelland- Social Sciences, Media & Communication 6

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• Professor Yi Mu - Computer Science & Software Engineering • Professor Tony Okely - Education • Professor Clive Schofield - Law • Professor Aidan Sims - Mathematics and Applied Statistics • Professor Gordon Waitt - Earth and Environmental Sciences

Photos: Seemitch, Macrocozm | Dreamstime

Fairfax adopts breakthrough technology for print media

One of Australia’s largest media companies has adopted a new application jointly developed by researchers at UOW and RMIT that integrates multimedia into print publications. AirLink™, enables a reader to hover over an image accompanying a newsprint story using their iPhone camera and automatically trigger the delivery of additional online content relevant to the printed story, such as video. The technology was developed as part of the Commonwealth funded Smart Services CRC. Dr Christian Ritz from the School of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering, who has been the lead researcher at UOW within the New Media Services project since 2009 and was a key driver in the development of AirLink™. “The initial idea began around mid2011 from discussions with Fairfax, an industry partner of the CRC, following demonstration of a CRC sponsored summer research project to develop an Augmented Reality (AR) application for books that was conducted at RMIT University”, says Dr Ritz. “Fairfax had an idea to see if the AR application could be applied to printed articles in a newspaper and from there we developed a new demonstrator for this app using open-source implementations of

image processing algorithms”. Dr Ritz says the initial release has included a range of stories with AirLink™ capability in the May issues of Sydney Magazine and Melbourne Magazine and that Fairfax’s

AirLink enables a reader to hover over an image accompanying a newsprint story using their iPhone camera and automatically trigger relevant online content, such as video. Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have already added AirLink™ as a new feature to their respective iPhone applications. “The underlying technology uses signal processing algorithms to process the image captured on the phone and generate a unique “fingerprint” that is then used to identify a matching image in a database”, says Dr Ritz. He explains the difference between AirLink™ and a QR reader application.

“A QR reader requires a newsprint story to have an accompanying QR code, which is then scanned by a camera. However, AirLink™ requires no QR code and works by just scanning a picture. This is a significant advantage as it means that no additional marker (such as a QR code) needs to be added to enable automatic linking to additional content”. “For media companies and advertisers, it also means that the addition of the visually unappealing QR code [which consists of square black dots arranged in a square pattern on a white background, looking similar to a barcode] is not required, which would be especially undesirable if the majority of pictures in a newspaper were AirLink™ capable”. Dr Ritz and his collaborators, who include UOW’s Dr Stephen Davis and Professor Ian Burnett and Ms Eva Cheng from RMIT University, are continuing to develop new features and enhancements that will lead to new and exciting applications. “We are continuing with some work on extending AirLink™ to new application scenarios as well as our other research within the New Media Services project. This includes researching new ways of measuring user engagement with interactive mobile multimedia applications such that these applications can be created to maximise the user quality of experience”, says Dr Ritz. R e s e a r ch & Inn o vat ion Ne w s




Researchers shine spotlight on child development

Photo: Olegator1977 | Dreamstime

Currently in Australia, only 5% of pre-school aged children meet the physical activity recommendations of three hours or more per day and less than 6% show appropriate levels of motor development proficiency. Researchers from UOW’s Interdisciplinary Educational Research Institute (IERI) are shining the light on issues affecting Australian youth in a variety of current projects. Recent research indicates that many preschool children are not engaging in adequate amounts of physical activity nor showing sufficient motor development. Currently in Australia only 5% of preschool children meet the physical activity recommendations of three or more hours per day and less than 6% show appropriate levels of motor development proficiency. Providing opportunities to promote physical activity and develop motor skills is seen as a core element of preschool curricula. However few early childcare services promote physical activity and the development of motor skills. To combat this problem, UOW researchers have created a childcare centre-based physical activity and motor development program called Jump Start. Leader of the study, Dr Rachel Jones, says her team, which includes Professor Tony Okely and Dr Trina Hinkley, have just been awarded a grant to test the effectiveness of the program during 2012. “The aim of this project is to test the translational potential of Jump Start in collaboration with our industry partner (Lady Gowrie Tasmania) in a real-world setting”, she says. IERI researchers are also concerned about the physical activity levels of school aged children. They are currently leading a team of national and international collaborators in reviewing and updating

the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines for children and adolescents. “The aim of this project is to undertake a systematic review of the literature in order to draft an evidence-guided update of the physical activity and sedentary behaviour recommendations for school-aged children and adolescents (aged 5-18 years) in Australia”, says Professor Tony Okely, who is chief investigator on this project. His collaborators include Dr Dylan Cliff, Mr Stewart Vella, Dr Trina Hinkley, Dr Anne-Maree Parrish, Ms Xanne Janssen and Mr Matthew Watson, as well as researchers from Deakin University, Oregon State University, University of Ottawa, the National Heart Foundation, Sports Medicine Australia and the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. While inside the classroom, researchers Dr Lisa Kervin and Dr Jessica Mantei are focusing on the reading practices of young children in an online environment. They will partner with the Catholic Education Office (Diocese of Wollongong) to assess a prototype assessment tool (ORA), which was developed and trialled in 2011 to assist assessors to understand the ways young readers make meaning from both print-based and digital texts. Participating teachers will implement the assessments from August 2012. This project is intended to undergird future collaborative research between investigators and the Catholic Education Office (Diocese of Wollongong) and will provide the background to inform an ARC Linkage Application.

UOW ranked in top 100 young universities UOW has placed 33rd in The Times Higher Education (THE) list of the world’s top 100 universities for universities aged under 50. THE says the new ranking group looks at universities which have managed to join the world’s top table in a matter of years, not centuries, and others showing great promise. They give a unique insight into which universities will be the future Harvard and Cambridge equivalents. 8

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UOW became an independent university in 1975. Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings said the announcement was an endorsement of UOW as a research intensive university with a strong commitment to its students and community. “We already have an enviable record of achievement reflected in UOW’s position in the top 2 per cent of universities worldwide and now we have another prestigious ranking from the Times Higher Education.”

Brain training offers drug-free alternative for children with ADHD

UOW researchers have discovered that computer games can help improve behaviour in children with ADHD. Their findings, recently published in the scientific journal ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, present a drug-free alternative for the disorder and have provided a basis for the development of a magic-themed computer game designed for children. According to lead author and Psychology Associate Professor Stuart Johnstone, investigations into alternative ADHD treatments for children began after parents expressed worry about overmedication. “Parents of children in our research studies would frequently express concerns about medicating their children, and would ask about non-drug alternatives that were based on research. Our targeted cognitive training minimised the effects of distraction, improving overall concentration and behaviour,” Professor Johnstone said. Professor Johnstone’s studies show that brain training which exercises impulse control and working memory improved behaviour among children with ADHD and even offered similar results for those children without the disorder. “These results are very encouraging and provide more evidence for the benefits of cognitive training to help improve behavioural control in children. Importantly, improved behaviour was maintained six

weeks after the training was completed,” Professor Johnstone said. Joining forces with independent software company NeuroCog Solutions, the University has designed and developed Focus Pocus™. Based on research outcomes, the commercial computer game brings children aged 7-13 years into a wizard wonderland, integrating cognitive training and brainwave-assisted “state-training” of attention and relaxation. “The game is unique in that it targets fundamental processes such as memory, impulse control, and the ability to concentrate rather than specific learning content like maths and spelling,” Professor Johnstone said. “Focus Pocus™ is the first in a line of researched-based products our company is producing. We are very excited about giving children the opportunity to improve their behaviour while having fun,” NeuroCog Solutions CEO Dr Joseph Graffi said. In the game the player takes on the role of apprentice wizard to work their way through 12 mini games, some of which are controlled entirely by brainpower via the EEG NeuroSky Mindwave™. Parents can monitor their child’s performance using an online reporting and feedback system called FocusIn™, which highlights areas for improvement. More information about Focus Pocus™ at

Pioneers launch first ever organic bionics reference book A handful of UOW researchers have written the first ever reference book on the cutting edge field that merges materials science and biomedicine. Professor Gordon Wallace, Dr Simon Moulton, Dr Michael Higgins and Associate Professor Robert Kapsa from the Australian Centre of Excellence in Electromaterials Science (ACES) penned the book Organic Bionics (Wiley), which has a foreword by Professor Graeme Clark, inventor of the bionic ear.

The book examines established devises such as the bionic ear, as well as emerging areas of application, including use of organic material as conduits for bone re-growth, spinal cord injury repair and muscle regeneration. It also analyses the future application prospects in sustainable energy generation and storage. Enquires to Natalie Foxon:

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World first in measuring greenhouse gases To meet growing demand, Ecotech will manufacture the analyser in Australia and distribute it via its worldwide network under a licensing agreement with the University of Wollongong. The partnership comes at a critical time in Australia with carbon price arrangements coming into effect on 1 July 2012. Worldwide, there is an increasing need for governments to accurately measure greenhouse gases in their environments. The Spectronus leads the market in its ability to deliver a highprecision, real-time analysis of the major greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and water vapour. The analyser’s hardware is complemented by powerful operating software which provides a flexible, fully-automated system that can be remotely controlled.

A UOW invention will help governments around the world measure greenhouse gases following the University’s decision to commercialise its greenhouse gas analyser - the Spectronus - in partnership with Australian environmental monitoring solutions manufacturer, Ecotech. First developed in 2000 by UOW’s School of Chemistry, the greenhouse gas analyser is already in use with Australian governments and organisations including the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Victoria’s Department of Sustainability and Environment, the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Internationally, the analyser is currently used by government organisations and universities in Germany, France, China, South Korea and New Zealand.

Professor David Griffith, head of the University of Wollongong Research Team, said: “Policy decisions based on climate change research demand highly accurate and repeatable data for all greenhouse gases, not just CO². In a world first, the Spectronus simultaneously measures important greenhouse gases, making it highly sought after by governments and their agencies. We are excited by the opportunity to meet global demand for this Australian invention through our partnership with Ecotech.” The Queensland Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry has used the Spectronus analyser for the past 14 months. Its Principal Scientist, Agri-Science, Dr Matt Redding, commented: “We are using the analyser within a collaboration with University of Wollongong to measure greenhouse gas emissions from intensive animal production. Compared to other systems and techniques, the Spectronus analyser offers ease of analysis, speed of results, and the flexibility to measure multiple gases at once -- meaning you don’t need to switch between instruments. We have a lot of demand for this type of measurement and are considering purchasing a second Spectronus analyser for all of those reasons.”

PhD student’s findings on Wollongong cause heated debate An 11 month study commissioned by Brand Wollongong and carried out by Jessica Baxter, a PhD student at UOW’s Institute for Innovation in Business and Social Research, has caused a stir within the Illawarra community, with an abundance of commentary in local media. The study, which aimed to understand the perceptions of Wollongong and help plan for future marketing of the city, involved in-depth interviews with opinion-leaders from other regions, who have expertise in areas such as tourism, business and the arts, as well as local Wollongong residents. It found that Wollongong locals considered the area’s nightlife unsophisticated, its buildings run down and the train station and Piccadilly Centre home to an ‘‘enclave of scumbags’’. “Some of the negative perceptions are grounded in reality, such as the [perceptions that Wollongong is] ‘out-dated and tired’”, says Jessica Baxter. “Other negative perceptions may be based on the past events, such as, perceptions of corruption”. However, the study also revealed the region has many strengths, including its beaches and natural assets, its proximity to Sydney, the emergence of the knowledge services sector, and its cultural diversity. 10

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Jessica says her research can be used in the future to guide the promotion of positive aspects of Wollongong, but also to develop strategies to address negative aspects.

Grandmother of computer security receives international Fellowship Cryptology in Australia have been her protégés at some time and, along with her students, hold senior business positions throughout the world.

Photo: Danil Chepko | Dreamstime

Professor Seberry says her interest in the field began when she chose to teach a university mathematics subject which was open to all students as a general schedule class. “Before that time cryptology was only taught by the Department of Defence. I had been told 18 students would attend the class but on the first day 80 turned up,” she said. “I was curious as to why so many people were interested in the field and my own interest really grew from there.” Professor Jennifer Seberry, Director of UOW’s Centre for Computer Security Research, has become the first Australian and the second woman ever to be honoured as Fellow of the International Association for Cryptology Research (IACR). “Cryptology is used everywhere: for ATM PIN codes, Tax File Numbers, electronic and magnetic locks and barcodes. It is a field that is very important because it protects people and their information”, Professor Seberry explained. Professor Seberry created the first

cryptology research group in Australia at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 1987 and has since been a very influential promoter of the field in Australia. In 1990 she initialised the first cryptographic conference in Australia (Auscrypt) and has since been involved in mentoring and promoting the careers of many prominent researchers. She has also successfully supervised 15 undergraduate Honors, seven Masters Research Honours and 12 PhD students. Many of the most noted names in

Professor Seberry said she continued to be excited by cryptology as it was ‘all about building a better mousetrap’. “I love that technology is always changing, so cryptology has to keep up with it,” she said. “The field was kept very secret until banks started using computers and then it became more mainstream and was studied in universities. Cryptologists are always working to improve and to find mistakes in other people’s work to make sure information is kept as safe as possible.”

NSW Transport: perform or perish says SMART UOW’s SMART Infrastructure Facility has called for the NSW Government to commit to a reduction in road and rail travel times between Wollongong and Sydney Airport, reducing the time for road travel from 94 to 68 minutes. The call for better planning for infrastructure to deliver reduced congestion and travel times was made in the SMART Infrastructure Facility’s submission to the NSW Government’s discussion paper on the development of a long-term transport master plan. “It’s critical that the NSW Government, in undertaking a long term transport master plan, uses the opportunity to give clear and concise commitments to the people of NSW, that passenger and freight transport will improve over the next 20 years,” SMART CEO Garry Bowditch said. “Across nearly all metrics relating to the road and rail systems of transport there has been a deterioration in performance as the population has grown and the intensity of economic activity has increased”. Mr Bowditch said the Illawarra is a critical hub for business and for how it connects with Sydney. He said the connections between

Sydney and Wollongong need to be world class so that we can compete in a tough global market. SMART have put forth a range of targets covering road and rail travel for Wollongong to Sydney. But Mr Bowditch believes there should be an aim to increase the average speed of the 100 busiest roads in NSW at Peak, by 15% in ten years and a further 15% in 20 years. SMART has recommended five key principles of good transport infrastructure governance that should drive all future deliberations of integrated transport planning and management. These include: whole of government planning and coordination; enhanced accountability; independent review; increased transparency; and better information and analytics (currently, we know very little about the system of infrastructure, and if a change is in fact an improvement). “The adoption of these five principles can ensure we have a planning and management system that is world’s best practice,” Mr Bowditch concluded.

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What makes us tick?

Australia’s leading social researcher and member of the Institute for Innovation in Business and Social Research (IIBSoR), Professor Hugh Mackay, recently gave a public lecture to a packed house at UOW on the topic of his latest book What Makes Us Tick? The Ten Desires That Drive Us . As opposed to a list, Professor Mackay introduced the concept of a web of ten desires that drive people. Having spent a lifetime listening to people talk about their dreams, fears, hopes, disappointments and passions, the audience received an overview of his experiences. He spoke in depth about the desire people feel to be taken seriously. He shared anecdotes that demonstrated how a fundamental drive for everyone is to be valued. Many westerners seek this validation through pay packets, but having your story told is all some people need. A desire for ‘my place’ is another powerful motivator, according to Professor Mackay. Physical places that have an emotional connection for us can help define us as they symbolise who we are. The family home is a strong example. He related findings about a study of a soccer team and the ‘home ground advantage’ that stirred the crowd into surprised revelation. Players are reportedly at their peak when they are on their home ground because their emotional intensity is running high, as are their testosterone levels. Professor Mackay also noted that many cultures believe in a

Virtual anatomy app A group of UOW researchers and graduates have developed an application that assists students in the lab. The app, Virtual Anatomy Laboratory, was created to give the 900 students that pass through the doors of UOW’s Anatomy Laboratory each year greater access to specialised anatomical models. In 2010 UOW launched a web version of Virtual Anatomy Laboratory that was developed by the Centre for Academic Systems and Resources (CASR). However, with ever increasing levels of iPad usage, the development of the Virtual Anatomy Laboratory App was vital to ensure the continued delivery of innovative and high quality education. Guardian Software, a company set up by UOW graduates, with the support of UOW’s Academics, the Centre for Academic Systems and Resources and ITS units designed the app which is now available for download for enrolled students. 12

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sacred space, a place for contemplation. That place where we feel comfortable for reasons only known to ourselves. Other desires that drive us, according to Professor Mackay, included the construction of a belief system which can be powerful and therapeutic, a desire to belong to a ‘herd’ (generally a family unit of 5-8 people) or a ‘Tribe’ a broader group such as a book club, as well as the desire for “more”. This can of course lead to greed and addiction, yet it is something everyone seems to struggle against in some way. The desire for something to happen conflicts with our desire for control said Professor Mackay. We think we want to be married and have kids and buy a big house, but we thrive on change and stimulation, he argued. Professor Mackay’s insight into the human spirit and what drives us to do the things we do is inspirational. Professor Hugh Mackay is the author of thirteen books, including six bestsellers. He is involved in a range of initiatives at UOW and IIBSoR, where he is Professor of Social Science. Among other things, he is currently working with IIBSoR’s Dr Melanie Randle on innovation in qualitative research and focus group methods. He is also working with Professor Sara Dolnicar on a study assessing whether attitudes really do influence our behaviour. In addition, he provides valuable mentoring for early career researchers and higher degree research students.

FIVE MINUTES WITH Dr Bo Li Recipient of a 2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship, Geochemist Dr Bo Li reveals his latest research into luminescence dating techniques. Joining forces with two of the world’s leading luminescence geochronologists, Professor Richard Roberts and Dr Zenobia Jacobs at UOW’s Centre for Archaeological Science, Dr Li came to UOW in December 2011 as a recipient of the 2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship, which provides support to outstanding early career researchers to undertake full-time research. Since completing his PhD in 2008 at the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, Dr Li has published over 30 papers in peer-reviewed English-language journals, (of which he is lead author on 22) and has undertaken a Postdoctoral Fellowship at University of Hong Kong. “The focus of my research [at the University of Hong Kong] was to reconstruct late Quaternary environmental changes in northwestern China, a climatically-sensitive region in Central Asia, using luminescence dating of quartz and feldspar mineral grains from sediments to constrain the timing of key events”, says Dr Li. In just a few years, Dr Li has made several important contributions to luminescence dating of sediments, in terms of both methodological

developments and applications in geology and archaeology. For the next three years, Dr Li says he plans to “develop improved luminescence dating methods for quartz and feldspar, in order to increase the accuracy and precision of luminescence ages, and to extend the age range of luminescence dating”. “I will apply these new procedures to important archaeological and fossil hominin deposits in Africa, Asia and Europe to provide reliable age control for sites that have proven difficult to date using other techniques”, he says. Dr Li already has some exciting plans for a research trip later this year. “Being a member of the Centre for Archaeological Science will allow me to join other members of the research group on field work in Sulawesi, Indonesia, later this year. Indonesian sediments are often difficult to date with luminescence techniques, so my aim is to collect sediment samples associated with stone tools and fossil remains and develop a reliable luminescence timeframe for the history of prehistoric human activity on Sulawesi.”

CMRP shares in €3.9M in funding UOW’s Centre for Medical Radiation Physics (CMRP) is part of a successful and prestigious European Grant with funding of €3.9M for four years to further its research into medical physics radiation. The Advanced Radiation Dosimetry European Network Training (ARDENT) invited the CMRP to be part of the application in partnership with seven Full European and five Associate international partners from Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and the US, who are well recognised in a field of radiation detectors development and their application in different areas of radiation science and medicine. The project is co-ordinated by the European organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) . The partnership between CMRP and ARDENT is a strong indication of the international standing and achievements of Australian radiation detector science with

applications in radiation medicine and space, which CMRP have been leading in. “The ARDENT project is emphasising the importance of radiation detection instrumentation in our lives and in particular the development of new technologies for radiation detectors, radiation protection and medical dosimetry” says Director of CMRP, Professor Anatoly Rosenfeld. Part of this project will be the development of new solid state radiation detectors for microdosimetry and nanodosimetry for heavy ion and proton therapy and space applications where understanding of radiobiological efficiency (RBE) of mixed radiation fields is complex and difficult. These new radiation detectors will be based on further development of silicon (SOI) microdosimetry invented at CMRP, and advanced MEDIPIX radiation detectors invented at CERN and developed by MEDIPIX.

“Another aim of this project is to provide essential training for the next generation of radiation detector scientists who will develop skills from existing recognised experts in this field and will develop new and innovative ideas in radiation detectors”, Professor Rozenfeld said. Three UOW students, Stuart George, Chris Cassel and Jack Williams, competed against many other applicants from European Universities and research institutions to receive an ARDENT scholarship. They are currently enrolled in a PhD program at CMRP and will be seconded to European partner institutions to further their research and training. ARDENT project is of great importance for Australian Hadron Therapy National project recently initiated and headed by ANSTO. CMRP is a major partner and long term collaborator with ANSTO. More info- R e s e a r ch & Inn o vat ion Ne w s



Photo: Olivier Le Queinec | Dreamstime


Recognising research excellence The University of Wollongong is proud to celebrate the outstanding research achievements of the recipients of the 2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards. By Elise Pitt. At UOW, our researchers are passionate about finding practical solutions to real world problems. This year’s ViceChancellor’s Award recipients have implemented novel systems to combat child obesity, developed new drugs to fight drug resistance in infectious disease and created risk management systems for Australia’s devastating bushfires. In 2012, the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards celebrate these outstanding researchers across five categories; Research Excellence for Senior Researchers, Research Excellence for Emerging Researchers, Outstanding Achievement in Research Partnership, Interdisciplinary Research Excellence and Excellence in Research Supervision. 2012 saw joint winners in two categories; Senior Researcher and Research Partnership. 14

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HIKCUPS was one of only five interventions to be funded by the NHMRC in the past ten years.

Interdisciplinary research Professor Tony Okely, Professor Julie Steele, Dr Dylan Cliff, Dr Rachel Jones, Dr Diane Harland and Dr Karen Mickle. This passionate group of UOW researchers with a diverse variety of backgrounds, from physical education and public health to biomechanics, have forged a strong, sustained and productive collaborative research program over the past nine years. They have focused their efforts on promoting physical activity and preventing unhealthy weight gain among overweight and obese children. Their key project, The Hunter and Illawarra Kids Challenge Using Parent Support (HIKCUPS), was one of only five interventions in the area of child obesity to be funded by the NHMRC in the past ten years.

Senior Researcher Professor Richard ‘Bert’ Roberts ARC Australian Professorial Fellow and Director of the Centre for Archaeological Science, Professor Roberts, has revolutionised our knowledge of the Earth and its inhabitants. In 2003 he was part of the team that discovered a previously unknown species of tiny hominin (nicknamed ‘The Hobbit’) that survived on the Indonesian island of Flores until just 18,000 years ago. He has also published more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles, attracted $7M in ARC funding since 2000, made major contributions to debates on the extinction of the Australia’s giant marsupials, co-invented the now industry standard procedures for optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating and runs the largest and most research active OSL lab in Australia.

Senior Researcher Professor Nick Dixon Director of the Centre for Medical Bioscience, Professor Dixon, has been a driving force in building a hub of research in biochemistry and molecular biology in the Faculty of Science and the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI). The ARC Australian Professorial Fellow’s own career has been focused by his passion to understand how DNA is copied in dividing cells and to develop new drugs to combat drug resistance in infectious disease. Several of his discoveries are patented and are currently being developed for commercial applications. Professor Dixon has published 148 peer reviewed journal articles and been awarded seven ARC and NHMRC project grants since 2007 worth $4.8M, to continue his ground breaking research.

emerging Researcher Dr Adam Brumm Since completing his PhD in Archaeology at the Australian National University in 2007, Dr Brumm has already established himself as a major figure in studies of the prehistory of island Southeast Asia. He has received two highly competitive postdoctoral research fellowships; at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, and at UOW’s Centre for Archaeological Science, awarded by the ARC. He is now Co-Chief Investigator on a five year $1M ARC Discovery Project, ‘In search of the first Asian hominins’, for which he has led research digs in Indonesia. Dr Brumm has already authored 18 refereed journals in the past five years, two of which were published as principal author in the world’s leading scientific journal, Nature.

Research supervision Associate Professor Helen Hasan The Information Systems Associate Professor is the Director of UOW’s Activity Theory Usability Laboratory (ATUL), a leading research centre investigating work and play in organisations and communities. Associate Professor Hasan has been an inspiration to the 26 research students who have received a PhD under her supervision, and continues to inspire research excellence in her eight current students. Her outstanding ability to connect with her students, despite their various cultural backgrounds, coupled with her supportive encouragement, positive attitude, enthusiastic suggestions and critical feedback at each stage during her students’ research gives them the confidence to shine.

Research partnerships ISEM Superconductor Research Group Led by Professor Shi-Xue Dou, Director of the Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM), UOW’s Superconductor Research Group have forged a strong 12 year partnership with HyperTech Research (HTR), a world leader in the application of MgB2 superconductive materials, which includes superconducting wires, electromagnetic coils and the specialised systems using them. The collaboration has led to four consecutive ARC Linkage Projects, a number of high impact publications, four patents and patent applications and a high calibre of PhD graduates spreading all over the world; More than 20 PhD students have graduated in the field of MgB2 in the last ten years at ISEM.

Research partnerships Professor Ross Bradstock Professor Bradstock has formed a long standing partnership with the NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation and has secured over $4M from these two agencies. With this funding, he established the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires, of which he is Director. The Centre funds three research fellows. Professor Bradstock completed his PhD at the University of Sydney and was a research scientist in the Department of Environment and Conservation for over 20 years. He has published over 80 research papers, written numerous government reports, and edited three books dealing with land management, biodiversity conservation, and fire ecology. R e s e a r ch & Inn o vat ion Ne w s




STUDENT PROFILE Daniel Daly PhD research student and Endeavour Award winner Daniel Daly talks about building a sustainable future.

What are you studying? A PhD in Engineering with the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC). What does your research focus on? My thesis topic is optimal retrofit strategies for commercial buildings. My research is focussing on older, poorer quality buildings, and trying to develop a tool to aid owners make sound business decisions. I’ll also be looking at the pathway for these buildings to move towards Net-Zero energy operation, as well as considering resilience of the building stock to climate change. How did you come to study at UOW? I studied Environmental Engineering here as an Undergraduate, which finished in 2010. I completed an honours thesis looking at energy consumption and wastage at the University, and was interested in pursuing the issue further. The soon-to-be-built Sustainable Buildings Research Centre was a further attraction to stick around in Wollongong for a few more years. What’s been the highlight of your career so far? I don’t think I’ve really started my career, so hopefully I haven’t hit my high yet. I’m certainly looking forward to studying at University College of London later this year [as part of the Endeavour Award].


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It feels like a very exciting time to be in the sustainability space at UOW at the moment. As well as opening the SBRC, UOW is building a sustainable solar house for the Solar Decathlon competition, and also building a solar car for the world solar challenge. So I’m excited to be going to a leading university to find out what they are doing in the area, and be able to bring back some knowledge to Wollongong. Have you always had an interest in Engineering? Have you always been a problem solver? I suppose I have. I’m very hands on and enjoy solving problems, and I get annoyed if things are done in a wasteful way, so I guess they’re all traits of engineers. In saying that, I didn’t really know what an engineer was until I came to UOW, and the type of engineering I’m involved in isn’t what people typically think of when they think of engineers. What do you think are the key issues relating to your industry today? The key issue for me in the green building industry is breaking down barriers to the implementation to sustainable technologies. The technologies exist, and in a lot of situations the business case is solid, but getting owners to take the plunge is the next

step. A related issue is encouraging owners to view green retrofits in more ways than as a financial payback; there are so many other benefits that need to be communicated. You wouldn’t expect someone to calculate the payback period for a new car, but people are happy to spend $20K and go into debt for one. It’s about changing the debate around sustainability to include a consideration of quality of life. People spend so much time indoors that internal environmental quality is more important than ever. What do you plan on doing after the completion of your study? Probably hiding and sleeping on the south coast for a few months (or years) then start thinking about the future. I would like to work towards staring a business in the area of sustainable building, so I suppose I would look to get some experience with an established company in that area. What do you hope to achieve in your research/field in the future? Long term, I would like to encourage as many people to embrace common-sense building design, both for offices and homes, to help reduce the waste of resources that is so widespread at the moment. Short term, I’d be pretty happy to finish my PhD in 3 years…

TRAVEL TALE Food security in the Philippines Doctor of Public Health candidate, Ali Sadeghpour, studies food security in the Philippines and witnesses the devastating impact of corruption and unequal distribution of wealth on the lives of families and children. My data collection experience in the Philippines was the most valuable lesson that I could gain while completing my Doctor of Public Health degree. I had completed my coursework and ventured off to the Philippines to evaluate the effectiveness of a local NGO in addressing food security and feeding malnourished children living in Leyte. To familiarise volunteers with the local culture, way of life and people, volunteers live with local families - I stayed with a family of five in a community called ‘Bliss’, but the name did not mean peaceful - the house was constantly hosting more than 10 people from their extended family. My routine involved working as a volunteer on the “feeding program” in the morning and from 11.00am I collected my data - interviews with the families involved in the “feeding program” and physical measurements of the children. I worked in three different communities, spending an average of six weeks in each community. The San Roque community was located next to the sea and almost all the men were fisherman with daily income of 60 to 100 peso ($AUS1.50 to $AUS2.50). All the families who participated in my study were living in the shanty huts next to the sea. More than 60% of them were unable to have three meals a day and were eating rice with small dried fishes every day. The second community, Salvador, was located inland with most of men working on rice farms. This community was slightly better off, but still some of the families could not afford three meals a day and almost all the families who participated in this study were “food insecure”. The last community was “Bliss” which is located next to Tacloban city, the regional centre of region VIII. The infrastructure and houses were much better than the other two communities. The families who participated in this study were from the lowest socioeconomic group in the community, with daily income of 150 to 250 peso ($AUS3.5 to $AUS6.5). In this field trip / data collection experience, I met parents who were struggling to provide food for their families, children who didn’t have food for days at a time and severely malnourished mothers who were breastfeeding their babies. I also witnessed the devastating impact of corruption, past colonising powers, religious beliefs

Above (from top): Children Ali worked with while in the Philippines, Ali (Centre) with impoverished but happy children of Leyte, in the Philippines.

and the unequal distribution of wealth on the lives of families and children. The Doctor of Public Health program (in my case supervised by Associate Professor Vicki Flood, Associate Professor Heather Yeatman and Dr Susan Engel) has given me an opportunity to understand and familiarise myself with areas such as international relations, social development and politics of the world. These combined with public health subjects like nutrition and diet quality helped me grasp a better overview of the systems that predicate the outcomes of the general public health systems in the developing world and how it impacts on food security and malnutrition. My data collection experience was a wakeup call to understand that public health issues in developing nations is a complicated area and could be the result of social structure, political and economic decisions.

R e s e a r ch & Inn o vat ion Ne w s





Bernadette McCormack has joined SMART with a multidisciplinary academic background and is nearing completion of her PhD studies at the University of Wollongong. Previously she lectured on audit at the Australian National University and in several postgraduate and undergraduate subjects in the School of Accounting and Finance, UOW. Prior to this she was Chief Trust Account Inspector for the New South Wales Law Society and Principal Auditor and Advisor for the Queensland Office of State Revenue, Queensland Treasury. Before joining the Queensland Office of State Revenue, Bernadette spent 16 years in the Australian Tax Office where she held a variety of senior tax auditing roles. Bernadette’s industry expertise is in auditing, corporate governance, risk and controls, and, regulatory compliance. Bernadette holds a degree in commerce, organisational psychology, and a Masters degree in economics from the University of Queensland, and a Masters of Tax from the University of New South Wales. Bernadette is a Fellow of both the Taxation Institute of Australia and CPA Australia (with an audit specialisation), and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Her research interests include infrastructure governance, decision making, knowledge development and application.


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Dr Marcelo Svirsky has joined UOW as a Lecturer in International Studies at the School of History & Politics. Before relocating to Wollongong in March 2012, Marcelo worked at Cardiff University’s Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies. He teaches subjects in International Studies and researches on Middle East politics, and continental European philosophy. “My research interests are primarily invested on theories and the practice of political activism, revolutionary action, and social transformation”, says Marcelo. “I approach these topics by interconnecting between continental European philosophy – particularly the works of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, critical political theory, and theories of decolonisation. Regionally, I apply my work on the Middle East – particularly Israel/Palestine, but also I have an interest in Latin-America politics. My research is qualitative and leans on ethnographic methodologies”. He has recently published two books, Arab-Jewish Activism in Israel/Palestine (Ashgate), and Agamben and Colonialism (Edinburgh University Press, with Simone Bignall). Marcelo says his plans for the next couple of years are to “develop new conceptual tools to expand my previous research on activism and social transformation, right now I’m working on the notions of the ‘collaborative struggle’ and ‘the after’”.

Dr Simon Diffey recently joined UOW’s Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology (CSSM) based in the School of Mathematical and Applied Statistics as a Research Fellow. This position is part funded by a Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) project titled “Statistics for the Australian Grains Industry (SAGI)” which is led by Professor Brian Cullis and is worth $6M over 5 years. This project will deliver statistical support and training, develop innovative statistical technologies and statistical software to the grains industry of Australia. Simon is also project leader of a project titled “Statistics for the Australian Pork Industry (SAPI)” which provides statistical support to sub-programme 4B of the CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork (HIAP). Prior to joining UOW Simon worked for 10 years as a consulting biometrician in the NSW Department of Primary Industries. In this role most of Simon’s work related to the grains industry in some way. Examples include the design and analysis of plant variety trials, quantitative trait loci (QTL) experiments, and grain intake and digestibility animal experiments. Simon’s research interests arise from problems encountered in his statistical consulting role. He has recently submitted a PhD thesis titled “A new REML (PX)EM algorithm for linear mixed models and factor analytic mixed models”. An outcome of this work is to broaden and improve the types of algorithms which can be practically applied to the analysis of plant improvement data.

Dr Mark Ho has been appointed as SMART’s Associate Professor of Rail Logistics to drive the research capability of SMART and to support and champion the role of rail in the broader transport network. Mark will also manage academic and publication activities for the SMART Rail Logistics Group, with a long term plan to develop a teaching program for research students and staff. Working with SMART’s Director of Rail Logistics, Andrew McCusker, Mark will liaise and collaborate with researchers across the faculties of UOW such as Engineering, Commerce, Informatics and the Sydney Business School. Prior to joining SMART, Mark was Associate Professor at the Queensland University of Technology and before that he worked for 18 years at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research interests include railway simulation and modelling, signalling and train control, maintenance and condition monitoring and open access railway markets. He has been leading a number of government funded and industrysponsored projects on railway operation and management.

Haylee Greenfield is a new member of the Research Services Office team. In her role as Research Grants Assistant, she will provide assistance and support to the Grants Team in managing a variety of funding schemes. She says she is looking forward to learning about the grant application process with a high volume of applications and seeing applications awarded and the post award process that follows. Following a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wollongong majoring in Politics and Media and Communications, Haylee started her working life as a media assistant with anti-poverty aid agency ActionAid Australia. She then went onto work as Surf Life Saving NSW’s Media and Communications Officer, where she was first introduced to grants, grant writing and the application process in a not-for-profit setting.

Jo Halios-Lewis has recently joined the Innovation and Commercial Research team as Innovation Ecosystem Support Officer. Jo is responsible for providing marketing and communications, event planning and coordination, as well as day to day administration support to ideas incubator – StartPad and the broader programs within iAccelerate, particularly e-Club and to the Innovation and Commercial Research team. She has a background in delivering integrated marketing services and operations management, having worked for small business, large companies and government agencies, such as CleverLink, Deloitte, Muji, Cardiff Bay Development Agency and the National Galleries and Museums of Wales. At Cleverink (her previous role and first role in Australia), Jo was Operations Manager and prior to moving to Australia in 2007, Jo worked as Marketing Consultant for the @ Wales Digital Media Initiative, an early stage business incubator in Cardiff, Wales. Here, Jo guided early staged businesses with training and mentoring support, to help them develop their business marketing strategies, whilst also marketing @Wales as a world leader in early staged business incubation.

R e s e a r ch & Inn o vat ion Ne w s




Upcoming funding opportunities Due Date

Funding Opportunity

20 June 2012

NHMRC Partnership Projects second call opens

11 July 2012

NHMRC Development Grants close

20 July

2013 URC Small Grants Scheme close

More information at:

researchers to apply for research funding from the centre. In the most recent funding round A/Prof Long Nghiem was successful in obtaining a grant of $420K over two years. Funding is provided for a diverse range of projects relating to technical and social issues in desalination. External Grant Schemes

Health and Medical Funding Success

NHMRC Partnership Projects This Scheme provides funding to create new opportunities for researchers and policy makers to not only work together to define specific research questions and undertake the research, but also to interpret and implement findings relevant to the delivery, organisation, funding and access to health services. Applications must be joint submissions from a research agency and one or more policy/practice agencies which are able to contribute 50% of the value of the research in cash and/or in-kind. The NHMRC have introduced an important change to this scheme from 2012: applicants will be allowed to apply at any time during the year rather than through just one annual round. Further information about this scheme is available at or contact James Walsh on ext 4097 or email National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia UOW became a member of the NCEDA in 2011, enabling UOW

Congratulations to Dr Heath Ecroyd from the Faculty of Science who has been awarded one year’s seed funding from the Department of Health and Ageing, (distributed through the NHMRC), for his project titled ‘Targeting small heat shock proteins in diseases associated with alpha-synuclein aggregation.’ Dr Ecroyd received $153,000. Internal Grant Schemes URC Small Grant Scheme Funding is available from the URC Small Grants Scheme to support excellent researchers in the development of strategic research projects that will increase their potential for gaining external funding and to encourage early career researchers to develop their research profiles. Projects are expected to lead to practical outcomes and applications of social and economic value and publications and outputs that enhance the track record of the investigator. The application form and guidelines are available on the intranet. For further information, please contact Danielle Annese on ext 5874 or email

ETHICS News Upcoming Committee meetings

Agenda deadline

Meeting date

Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) Health and Medical

18 July 15 August

7 August 4 September

Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) Social Sciences

4 July 1 August

19 July 16 August

Animal Ethics Committee

19 July 23 August

9 August 13 September

Gene Technology Review Committee

15 August 7 November

29 August 21 November

More information at:


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Three Minute Thesis Photo: Michalis Panagiotidis | Dreamstime

Higher Degree Research students will literally race against time in the final of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, an event in which entrants have three minutes to deliver compelling orations on their thesis topics and its significance without slides or visual aids. While it is by no means an exercise in trivialising or ‘dumbing down’ research, it aims to force students to crystalise their research discoveries and explain their work in language that is appropriate for an intelligent but non-specialist audience. The winner will represent the University of Wollongong at the 2012 Trans-Tasman 3MT Competition to be held at the University of Queensland on October 11. UOW finalists are Duncan Rintoul (Commerce), Janne Lindrum (Creative Arts), Jonnell Uptin (Education), Kevin Loo (Engineering), Carmen Smith (Health and Behavioural Sciences), Sarah Neville (Informatics), Caroline Dick (Law) and Mark Ramano (Science). The Faculty of Arts finalist is still to be advised. Register to attend the UOW final on Wednesday 27 June, 5.30pm, at Building 67.107, as a Spectator.

Doctoral student wins national sponsorship to conference Faculty of Commerce PhD candidate, Bonnie Dean, attended the 10th Annual Quality in Postgraduate Research (QPR) international conference in Adelaide this April. Dean won the opportunity to attend the conference through applying for a competitive, national scholarship, winning over 131 applicants from across Australia. Anita Chai, Client Services Manager at Research Master, said that “the adjudicators were particularly impressed with Bonnie’s reasons for attending the conference including mentoring first year postgraduate students”. Dean is the Faculty of Commerce’s first HDR Committee chair, whose role includes

advocating for the postgraduate community, supporting students’ transitions into university and liaising between faculty postgraduates, staff and academics. Dean described the conference as a window to the other side of postgraduate education “I saw how concerned academics and administrators are for students, and their supervisors, inventing new ways for supporting both in the postgraduate milieu”. Dean plans on presenting what she learnt from the conference to the Commerce HDR student committee, to inspire new opportunities and deeper understanding of the politics, icy and practice of postgraduate research.

2013 Endeavour Awards Applications are now open for the 2013 Endeavour Awards Program. Endeavour Awards offer a range of opportunities for international fellowships, sponsored study and professional development, particularly where the application demonstrates strategic international links. It is an internationally competitive, merit-based scholarship program providing opportunities for citizens of the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Europe and the Americas to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia. Awards are also available for Australians to undertake study, research and professional development abroad.

Applications close – 30 June 2012. Further information at or contact Research Student Centre on Ext. 5672 or by emailing Christine Mason at

Congratulations to... Kim Callaway, Director of the Research Student Centre, who will be receiving recognition for her 25 years service at the Vice-Chancellor’s Award ceremony in late June.

R e s e a r ch & Inn o vat ion Ne w s




Innovation Ecosystem Progress

iAccelerate In March the University hosted Tim Ellis, CEO of the Waterloo Accelerator. Tim was a special guest at our 1 year on Innovation Ecosystem Lunch to update supporters and stakeholder on the progress of iAccelerate (artist’s impression pictured above). Tim has been a key contact at the University of Waterloo, providing input and assistance in the development of the iAccelerate project. The NBN Futures Expo ran in Kiama on 27 & 28 March with iAccelerate hosting a booth. The key aim of our participation was to demonstrate the strategic importance of the centre to the rollout and implementation of NBN enabled applications in the Illawarra region, nationally and internationally. In addition, the iAccelerate project was a key component of the “Wollongong is IT” stand, at CeBIT – Australia’s largest IT exhibition in May. The stand formed a collective voice from the Illawarra’s ICT cluster and also included representation from ICT Illawarra, NSW Trade & Investment, University of Wollongong and Wollongong Council. For more information on the project or to register and receive updates go to StartPad Wollongong’s iAccelerate program continues to gain momentum with the official launch of StartPad ideas incubator on May 28 2012. The facility was opened by the Lord Mayor of Wollongong

Councillor Gordon Bradbury OAM and officiated by the ViceChancellor of the University of Wollongong, Paul Wellings and State Parliament representative Mr Gareth Ward MP. The facility is a joint initiative between the University of Wollongong, Wollongong City Council, NSW Trade & Investment, Enterprise Connect, RDA Illawarra local business and entrepreneurs. With initial funding of $50K from NSW Trade & Investment and Wollongong Council proving the space, in iHub, StartPad has enjoyed strong support from local, state and federal government. Mayor Bradbury said: “The development and nurturing of companies in StartPad shows that Wollongong is moving into a place where companies and entrepreneurs can work on the development of innovative applications and tools to deliver new businesses and employment opportunities. “Council is keen to see this area of the city used to support entrepreneurs who have ideas and foresight,” Mayor Bradbury said. “This is an opportune time to support a dynamic growth industry in our city.” The facility is a vital component of the iAccelerate program built around entrepreneurship and fast growth businesses. The program was developed by the University of Wollongong to build an innovative Illawarra and position the Illawarra as the capital for ICT in NSW. The driving force behind iAccelerate, Elizabeth Eastland, Innovation and Commercial Research Director at The University of Wollongong said, “iAccelerate and its associated programs represents a turning point in the industry profile of the Illawarra and will support the growing innovation ecosystem. ” Ms Eastland added, “StartPad delivers real opportunities for companies identified through the Universities Entrepreneur Club, a pipeline of highly engaged and talented graduates into the Illawarra innovation ecosystem.” Tamantha Stutchbury, General Manager of StartPad said, “Already, in the short time we have been operating, we have seen our 8 companies grow and achieve some big goals. Having 16 entrepreneurs co-located in an open-plan space makes for an amazingly vibrant and creative environment.” A review of companies and a call for future applications will occur mid-year. For more information contact Tamantha Stutchbury on


HDR supervision programs Hugh Kearns will deliver two HDR Supervision Programs in October – The Fundamentals of HDR Supervision and Research Supervision Masterclass. Hugh is recognised internally for his higher degree research programs which he has delivered to both academics and postgraduate students at Australian, Oxford, Harvard and Stanford universities. The Research Supervision Masterclass is aimed at experienced academics who would like to update their skills and help their students get the most out of their higher degree research experience. Topics to be covered include:


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• • • • • • • •

Dealing with different types of students Getting students to write Getting students to show you their writing Giving constructive feedback Students who write too much NESB students Motivating stalled students Problem situations

More information available at the Staff Development Calendar.


Proteostasis and Disease Research Symposium 2012

Photo: Olivier Le Queinec | Dreamstime

“It has become increasingly clear that the onset and progression of many serious age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s results from dysfunctions in proteostasis” UOW’s Proteostasis and Disease Research Centre will host the Proteostasis and Disease Research Symposium 2012 from 28-30 November at the Novotel Wollongong. Chair of the organising committee, Professor Mark Wilson, says the aim of the Symposium is to foster international advances in research and understanding in this critically important area. “It has become increasingly clear that the onset and progression of many serious age-related human diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, prion diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, type II diabetes, dialysis-related amyloidosis, etc.) are likely to result from dysfunctions in proteostasis, which is known to become compromised in ageing”, says Professor Wilson. Proteostasis (protein homeostasis) encompasses all those processes that act to maintain the correct levels and function of proteins in living systems.

“This Symposium aims to be one of the first conferences in the world to address this important new field and will bring together highly respected researchers working in previously disparate areas”, says Professor Wilson. Key note speakers: • Professor Chris Dobson FRS (University of Cambridge, UK) • Professor Ron Kopito (Stanford University, CA, USA) • Professor Rick Morimoto (Northwestern University, IL, USA) • Professor Paul Muchowski (University of California, USA) • Associate Professor Fabrizio Chiti (University of Florence, Italy) • Professor David Lomas (University of Cambridge, UK) • Professor William Balch, The Scripps Research Institute (USA) • Dr Anne Bertolotti (University of Cambridge, UK) More info:

Uni in the Brewery series 2012 Hear prominent researchers from the University of Wollongong explain their ideas and research in a relaxed and participatory environment over a few foaming ales. The general public is very welcome to attend and join in the discussion. All presentations are held from 5:306:30pm at The Five Islands Brewery, eastern end of the WIN Entertainment Centre (Cnr Harbour and Crown Streets) Wollongong.

Wednesday 2 May Professor Lesley Head ‘Dilemmas of household sustainability’

Wednesday 15 August Dr Peter Siminski ‘I was only nineteen, 45 years ago: What can we learn from Australia’s conscription lotteries?’

Wednesday 17 October Professor Tony Okely ‘Child obesity: The skinny of what really works in preventing unhealthy weight gain in kids’ R e s e a r ch & Inn o vat ion Ne w s



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


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Research & Innovation News - issue #3 2012  

The University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia, is ranked in the top 2% of research universities world wide. Keep up to date with the very la...

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