Flinders Research NewsFlinders joins Australia's largest data innovation group

Data 61 and CSIRO logos

Flinders has signed up to the Data61 University Collaboration Agreement (DUCA), joining 26 other Australian universities. Data61 was created in 2016 from the merger between National ICT Australia (NICTA) and CSIRO’s digital research unit, creating one of the largest digital research teams in the world.

Data61 connects a network of organisations across academia, corporations, startups, Commonwealth and State government agencies, investors and entrepreneurs focused on data-driven innovation for Australia but with global context.

This joint collaboration between Data61 and the Universities aims to:

  • develop world class information and communication technologies (ICT) research capabilities in existing and emerging fields in Australia and exploit the commercial potential of research outcomes for the national benefit;
  • plan collaborative research using the resources of Data61 and the Universities to better integrate their ICT research and research training effort by utilising their combined resources and expertise to deliver significant ICT outcomes in the national interest;
  • facilitate the engagement of staff from Data61 in teaching, research and research student supervision at the Universities; and
  • facilitate the engagement of University staff to achieve these aims.

PhD Scholarships for Australian or international students who have already applied for, or have already commenced a PhD research program at one of the participating universities are available. Proposed research projects must align with Data61’s research areas. Full and top-up scholarships are offered for up to a period of 3.5 years. The Data61 PhD Scholarship provides a full stipend at the same rate as the Australian Postgraduate Award. A top-up scholarship is also available at a rate of $10,000 per annum. Further information and the application form are available on the Scholarship Program page. Data61 has also partnered with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group) to collaborate and co-sponsor PhD research in cyber and cyber security topics relevant to Defence and the Australian community. DST has major research facilities in Melbourne and South Australia, and smaller facilities in other States and Territories throughout Australia.

For further information on Data61, visit the Data61 webpage.


Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsNeed to talk about your research but unsure how?

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Join Science in Public for their one-day media and communication training workshop and get some help on 19 September 2017. Conveying the complexity of your research, your life’s work, into a 30-second grab for the media can be hard. The solution is to shape the essence of your science into a story. Science in Public's Media and communication training session will help you find the right words to explain your research in a way that works for the media, as well as for government, industry and other stakeholders.

Two experienced science communicators will work with you to find the story in your research. Over the years they’ve helped Monash launch the world’s first printed jet engine, revealed the loss of half the coral on the Great Barrier Reef, helped CERN announce the Higgs boson, and revealed the link between CSIRO’s Wi-Fi patent and Aussie astronomy.

Working journalists from television, print and radio will join the session over the course of the day to explain what makes news for them. And you’ll get the chance to practice being interviewed in front of a camera and on tape.

The day’s insights and training will help you feel more comfortable in dealing with journalists when media opportunities arise. To register for the event, visit the eventbrite session page. If you have any queries on the session, contact Toni Stevens from Science in Public  via email - toni@scienceinpublic.com.au

Seminars Conferences and Workshops2017 Symposium - Australian Academy of the Humanities

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The 48th Symposium for the Australian Academy of the Humanities will be held in Western Australia from Wednesday 15 to Friday 17 November 2017. Early bird registrations for the Symposium will close on 31 August 2017.

This year’s Symposium theme is Humanitarianism and Human Rights. Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of interest in the history of human rights, linked to critique of its current global formations. The long history of human rights has been shaped by the ideas of humanism, conflicts for religious freedoms and political representations, and colonial engagement that provokes debates about universal humanity and inviolable rights.

The Symposium program will explore three related questions:

  • How is contemporary Australia shaped by these long intellectual and emotional histories regarding human rights and humanitarianism?
  • Can we identify a distinctively Australian perspective on these questions?
  • What are the challenges for Australia today in engaging with human rights related to matters as wide-ranging as sexuality, disability activism, Indigenous rights, linguistic imperialism, refugees, and religious freedoms.

A distinguished line-up of speakers will explore how contemporary Australia has been shaped by long intellectual and emotional histories regarding human rights and humanitarianism, and will consider the challenges facing Australia in engaging with wide-ranging human rights matters such as sexuality, disability, Indigenous rights, the environment, refugees, artificial intelligence and religious freedoms.

Speakers include Director of Anti-Slavery Australia, Jennifer Burn and Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane. They join Fellows of the Academy and members of the research community from a broad range of disciplines including linguistics, history, cultural studies, classics, law and the creative arts. See the full program here.

Symposium is a public event, open to all, and will bring together a large cross-section of Academy Fellows, scholars, early career researchers, and representatives from government, education, peak bodies, industry, and the community.

New OpportunitiesWant to present at the Innovation Showcase at Pacific 2017?

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Expressions of Interests are being called for pitches aimed at demonstrating Australian innovation, research collaboration and development strengths at the  Innovation Showcase as part of the Pacific 2017 Exposition in Sydney (3 – 5 October 2017). Up to thirty pitches will be selected from the participant groups (defence, industry and research organisations), with the pitch session being repeated on the first two industry days (Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 of October) of the Exposition (Time 2pm – 4pm on both days). These pitches will showcase an innovative idea/technology application/product in an early stage of its development or commercialisation, to an audience which could possibly include Primes, OEMs, Defence customers/users, research professionals, venture financiers and critical/interested peers.

Applicants for a slot in the three minute pitch agenda must demonstrate:
  • Uniqueness and novelty (i.e. the innovation).
  • Application or end goal of the innovation.
  • Where future collaboration may be of benefit (and where it is best sourced from).
  • Can be openly presented without fear of IP theft.
  • Can be explained in an engaging manner to a general audience in 3 minutes.
  • Avoid being seen as simply a sales pitch.

Expressions of Interest are to be submitted by 31 August 2017 to: Ms Sumen Rai, Defence SA – Email: sumen.rai@defencesa.com

In providing this forum during the Exposition trade days participants can take advantage of an advertised event in a prominent area of the indoor exhibition, utilising a fast pace and engaging presentation approach to ensure audience attention for the entire duration of the presentation.  Participants are expected to pitch on both event days (the pitch stay the same, the audience changes!).

Participants will be provided training, free of charge excepting travel, in the art of the “3 minute pitch”.  It is planned that training will be held in Melbourne and Adelaide. Participants are encouraged to attend this training session if previously done so.

The Innovation Showcase is a collaborative event supported by the organisers of PACIFIC 2017, the DST Group, the Defence Science Institute (DSI) and the Defence Innovation Partnership (DIP).

New OpportunitiesNew travel grants for Women in STEM

Woman in STEM

Campus Travel and Virgin Australia have joined together to recognise women in STEM. The 2017 Travel Grants provide travel funding for successful applicants to enrich their area of study or academic work on a trip-of-a-lifetime, wherever their professional interests take them. If you are female, employed by an Australian university or a research organisation, or you are a PHD student with a STEM related focus - they want you to apply for the Campus Travel and Virgin Australia 2017 Travel Grant.

You are invited to submit a proposal that details a STEM-related project or activity you have been working on or have completed within the past six months. Your submission needs to explain how your work supports the "development of a high-quality STEM project, enterprise or initiative and what the outcomes are or are expected to be". Your project, research or activity can relate to any of the STEM fields – as long as it supports the further development of STEM learning, development or outcomes.

What is included?

The Travel Grant includes $5,000 worth of airfares to be spent on Virgin Australia airfares and $1,000 for accommodation, transportation, tours or other travel arrangements*.

How do you apply?

To apply, answer the following questions in 500 words or less on their online form. (After 500 words the judging panel will stop reading your submission!)

  1. What is your project or initiative?
  2. How does it support the further development of STEM for students, or for academic or professional development purposes?
  3. What outcomes are you hoping for from your project or what are your expectations of the impact/results?
  4. Where would you go and how would you use the travel grant funds?

Applications close Friday 20 October 2017

The successful applicant will be notified by phone and email by Thursday 30 November 2017.

New OpportunitiesPropose a course for ACSPRI

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ACSPRI, the Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Incorporated, is calling on ACSPRI members (which all Flinders staff are) to propose new courses to be taught at ACSPRI programs and master-classes over the coming years. If you are interested in teaching a suitable 2 or 5 day course, ACSPRI will host and support you. Courses are run during semester breaks and allow networking with other academics from universities across Australia.

If you have an idea for a course in social science methodology that is not currently available, ACSPRI would like to hear from you. For information, ACSPRI has a list of their currently available courses on their website.

Visit here to see the information ACSPRI will need from you and where you can outline your proposal.

If you'd like more information about ACSPRI courses in general, please contact them on 03 8376 6496 or info@acspri.org.au

New OpportunitiesFulbright Specialist Program

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Do you have an idea/project for working with an experienced US academic or professional? Does the project include an education or training component? Does it fit within the University's priority areas? The Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) from the Australian-American Fulbright Commission is an initiative in which Australian awarded institutions create and design projects of priority interest for their institution. The FSP opened on 1 July 2017 and will close on 30 September 2017.

Each participating host institution can only be awarded one FSP per year. As such, interested Flinders applicants are advised to contact Dr Brodie Beales to discuss the possibility of applying for a FSP. Applications for the FSP are to be forwarded to the Research Services Office by 18 September 2017 who will then submit the application to the Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

Participating host institutions benefit by:
  • Gaining global perspectives from experienced US academics and professionals;
  • Executing projects that require a rapid response or flexible timeline through short-term, year-round exchanges; and
  • Building sustained relationships with individuals and institutions in the US

Further information and the application form are available at the FSP webpage.

Research Engagement and ImpactDifferent environments, different DNA, different dolphins?

Dolphin Dolphin pod

Can DNA sequencing of three bottlenose dolphin species (genus Tursiops) show a difference in the structure underlying the changes that have been observed from the same genus in different environments? The bottlenose dolphin is the most common dolphin in the world and lives in all oceans, apart from the Arctic and Antarctic oceans.

If the DNA sequencing does show that there are genomic changes then this will go a long way in improving our understanding of dolphins and the ways that they adapt to their environments. This will then allow scientists to make predictions about how dolphins will react to ongoing climate change, and other human-induced disturbances to their habitats.

Flinders’ PhD student Eleanor Pratt, College of Science and Engineering, will be comparing DNA from bottlenose dolphins living in coastal areas to those that prefer deeper offshore waters to identify the sections of DNA that may underlie differences between coastal and offshore ecotypes in the southern hemisphere. This includes differences in the structure of the skull, as well as in the number of vertebrae, relative body size, and diet. Eleanor will then describe the genetic population structure of two bottlenose dolphin species inhabiting coastal waters of southern and south-eastern Australia. This will establish the level of gene flow occurring between these populations and identify the DNA regions that may be associated with the potential adaptation of these dolphins to different salinity regimes, depths, water temperatures, habitat types and other environmental features.

Eleanor’s project aims to provide novel information about how bottlenose dolphins are able to adapt to their habitats. With greater knowledge of the population structure and adaptive capacity of these dolphins more effective conservation strategies can be implemented to prevent population declines in the face of ongoing environmental disturbances. “The contribution from Sir Mark Mitchell Research Foundation will go toward funding next-generation DNA sequencing of bottlenose dolphin samples, allowing me to obtain high-quality, high-coverage DNA sequences for analysis. This grant means that I am able to sequence a large number of individuals, expanding the geographical coverage of my study and improving the reliability of the results that I get,” Eleanor said.


Images of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops australis) from Gulf St. Vincent provided by Nikki Zanardo, Flinders Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab (CEBEL).

Research Engagement and ImpactECR Spotlight - Dr Harriet Whiley

Fresh Science 2017

Are you putting your friends and family at risk of foodborne illness?

In Australia, the incidence of salmonellosis, a foodborne gastrointestinal illness, has been increasing over the last decade, with eggs identified as the main cause. Flinders University researchers have found that over 50% of Australians surveyed were handling eggs in a dangerous manner when at home, putting themselves, family and friends at risk of foodborne illness.

Our study revealed the need for the general public to be educated in safe food handling practises and to raise awareness of the risks associated with raw eggs. We found that just over a third of surveyed study participants always washed their hands, and only one in three always wiped down the bench after handling raw eggs. Interestingly, there was no difference in responses between male and female participants. Participants employed as Environmental Health Officers or Food Handlers were more likely to handle eggs in the safest manner.

For more information please read the full article Knowledge and Attitudes towards Handling Eggs in the Home: An Unexplored Food Safety Issue? authored by Dr Harriet Whiley, Associate Professor Beverley Clarke and Dr Kirstin Ross published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Dr Harriet Wiley

Dr Harriet Whiley

Dr Harriet Whiley is a lecturer in Environmental Health. As an environmental microbiologist her research is aimed at informing the environmental health profession of best practice to protect human health from pathogens present in the environment. Her research areas include food safety, water quality and risk assessment.

Role: Lecturer in Environmental Health
College: Science and Engineering
Campus: Bedford Park
E: harriet.whiley@flinders.edu.au
T: 7221 8580

This is a new feature for Inspiring Research where we profile Flinders’ Early Career Researchers (ECRs) in our ECR Spotlight. This initiative will appear regularly and aims to connect our research community and strengthen research communications within the University. You will get insight into who our ECRs are and how their research and achievements are making a difference.

The featured ECRs welcome dialogue, debate, and conversation and we hope that it may shape future intra-, inter- and/or trans-disciplinary collaboration with Flinders’ colleagues. Please feel free to comment on their spotlight, and/or contact them directly. Also, you can contact the ECR Spotlight coordinator, Dr Marina Delpin, with your queries and comments.

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsNetwork Network Network

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Science is more fun with others! Build your networks across universities and disciplines at this special networking event. You might even find your next collaboration! Did you know that at least 2 successful ARC grants have arisen from researchers who have met at ECR Network events? This could be the opportunity for your next research grant.

Through speed networking and open discussions you could find your next collaborator, discover some of the varied experience and research around South Australia, and have a fun time among your peers.

There'll be entertainment and free food and drink. This event always fills up quickly.

Presented by RiAus (the Royal Institution of Australia), as part of their ECR Network which offers workshops and networking events for Early Career Researchers, this event is now open for booking.

New OpportunitiesFresh Science - do you have a story to tell?

Fresh Science 2017

Fresh Science is a national competition offering up to 10 up and coming scientists in each state with a day’s media training and skills needed to present their work to the media, the public, and school kids and at the pub. Past Flinders scientists who have been selected include Dr Mona Awadalla and Stephanie Shepheard in 2016, and  Dr Justin Chalker in 2015.

Stephanie's story in 2016 was on the simple urine test that aimed to show the severity of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in a patient. This was the first time there was a measurable test for MND that could assist in seeking effective treatments. Mona and her colleagues had discovered a gene mutation which lead cause the development of smaller eyeballs. This mutation was present in one family, where 16 members had developed glaucoma. Justin and his fellow chemists at Flinders developed a new material which could completely remove mercury from soil and water.

This call for early-career researchers who have peer-reviewed results, a discovery or an invention that has received little or no media attention is now open and will close on 31 August 2017. Fresh Science has helped over 500 scientists in the 20 years the competition has been run.

A Fresh Scientist should be:

  • an early-career researchers (from honours students to no more than five years’ post-PhD)
  • with a peer-reviewed discovery that has had little or no media coverage
  • and with some ability to present their ideas in everyday English (something Fresh Science can build on).

To view past stories and to nominate, visit the Fresh Science website.

How to nominate:

Check out the selection criteria, read ahead and see what questions will be asked, then go online and nominate via the short, easy, online application form.

Nominations close midnight on Thursday 31 August 2017.

The training and events will be held from late October to early December – Fresh Science will post the dates on their website.

What’s involved?

In each state, they will select the top ten applicants. If selected, you will get:

  • A day of media training where you will: hear from working journalists about what makes science news for them; find the story in your research with guidance from two experienced science communicators; and practice being interviewed in front of camera and on radio.
  • A short profile about your work written in a media-friendly way, published online and via social media.
  • The chance to step on stage and present your science to a friendly audience down at the pub. In some states, you will also present to school students.

One story per state will be written up as a press release and issued to the media.

New OpportunitiesICM Agrifood Award - for excellence in Agrifood

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Two of Australia’s best young food and agriculture professionals will win the 2017 ICM Agrifood Award, which will be awarded later this year by the Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE). The ICM Agrifood Award is an early career award for two outstanding agriculture or food scientists or technologists. Nominations are now open and will close on 5 PM AEST Monday 4 September 2017.

The winners will be awarded at ATSE’s Oration Dinner on 24 November 2017 in Sydney. One female and one male winner will each receive a cash prize of $5000. The winners will have achieved substantial recognition for their work in a field critical to continued improvement of the Australian food sector in the past five years.

Both will:

  • have demonstrated excellence, innovation and impact in a field related to food and agriculture in Australia;
  • be 40 years or under on the first day of the year in which the ICM Award is made (with allowance made for career breaks due to family or carer responsibilities);
  • be acknowledged by peers for outstanding contributions to the food and agriculture sector in the past five years; and
  • have advanced the standing of the broad profession of agriculture and food.

We invite you to consider young food and agriculture professionals that you might nominate for this prestigious award. Full details of the award guidelines and nomination are available here. The Award is sponsored by ICM Agribusiness, one of Australia’s major agribusiness groups, and administered by ATSE.

New OpportunitiesVice Chancellor's Awards for Early Career Researchers

Flinders University signage

Applications for the Vice Chancellor's Awards for Early Career Researchers are now open. The award recognises and values the outstanding contributions to the University of individual Early Career Researchers, embarking on their research career. These awards will recognise, reward and encourage excellence in research across all Colleges.

Up to ten awards can be made each year. Each award is valued at $2,500, and should fund opportunities to broaden the recipient's networks and enhance their standing and recognition as a staff member of Flinders University.

Information on eligibility and criteria for the award, as well as the nomination form are available on the Vice Chancellor's Awards for Early Career Researchers policy page.

Nominations should be forwarded to dvc-research@flinders.edu.au or to marie.reitano@flinders.edu.au by the closing date of Tuesday 29 August 2017.

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsPostaward process for external research funding

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Many researchers are unaware of what to do once they have been awarded research funding. This session will lay out the administrative requirements, the support available and generally how the process works for researchers and higher-degree research students.

This one hour session on Tuesday 29 August 2017 will address how research funding awards are processed by the Research Services Office. Attendees will be provided with an opportunity to ask questions. Register at ienrol to attend this information session.

Share your success

Share research news and opportunities, including information regarding upcoming research related events in your area.
Contact inspiring.research@flinders.edu.au for article submissions or further information.

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