Research Engagement and ImpactTips from a first time interviewee

microphone and headphones

In our ongoing series around Engagement and Impact, we change tact from the focus on one-on-one/direct engagement with communities to the impact of getting one's research out via the media. Dr David Armstrong, Lecturer in Teacher Education: Special Education, was recently interviewed by Radio Adelaide on the final report from the South Australian Parliamentary Select Committee into Access to the Education System for Students with Disabilities. His interview can be heard on the Radio Adelaide site. The Research Services Office approached David to share his experience on being interviewed by the media. Below is the interview we conducted with David.

David ArmstrongDavid Armstrong


How do you go about getting an interview?

Journalists from the media typically contact me for comment on a news story or to request a written submission about an issue. It’s important, I think, to have a strategy for developing your media profile as a researcher. My strategy has been to be available for ongoing comment in my areas of research (special and inclusive education, mental health in schools, dyslexia) to SA outlets (Adelaide Advertiser; local radio, InDaily) but with a view to establish myself interstate as a stepping stone to access to the national media. This is starting to pay off with radio interviews for interstate outlets and contact with national print media.  


Were you contacted first?

Colleagues very kindly forwarded my name to local journalists if the enquiry was in my area. I have reciprocated. It’s important to work as a team in sharing opportunities.


What assistance did you get beforehand?

When I came to Flinders I had assistance from the excellent Flinders education journalist (Tania Bawden) who facilitated interviews. In the past I led a funded education initiative (European Social Fund) with the homeless and in association with a major charity.


This initiative was innovative and high-profile, so the local and national media/celebrities/politicians were in contact on a regular basis. HRH Prince Charles visited, for example, and we spoke with the media present, so I am probably unusual in the amount of experience I have had in this respect. Interviews on the Radio and on TV require a different skillset from writing articles for the print media. I would recommend asking for assistance and advice from the Office of Communication and Engagement for anybody who is asked to appear in TV or undertake a radio interview and if it’s their first time.


Did you seek any out?

Yes, I have sought out journalists and taken a proactive approach. Registering for The Conversation is necessary – if you wish to write for it. I have recently had success engaging with politically influential state stakeholders in my field and by using Twitter but this needs to be carefully planned and executed.


What was the overall experience like?

It’s been positive and exciting. I enjoy communicating my research and saying why it’s designed to help improve the lives of children or young people with disabilities.

One important new organisation which has helped me is the Media Centre for Education Research Australia (MCERA): they have facilitated contact with the media so that it seems a less random and more positive experience.


What challenges were there?

A phone call will arrive when I have just arrived home or when I am in the middle of a meeting. If you don’t pick up the call often the journalist will ring another contact and you won’t be asked for comment or a story. If you pick up the phone you have an opportunity: you can help dispel myths; communicate key findings of your important research; and share knowledge with the community. The only other problem is that this takes time away from the everyday demands of the job (teaching, research etc.) so it’s important to find balance in media engagement.


The RSO thanks David for his time in sharing this information with the Flinders community.


Where to go if you are contacted by the media?

The Office of Communication and Engagement at Flinders offers media training in group and one-on-one sessions.

Registration with the Australian Science and Media Centre is encouraged. They provide training and advice and are very helpful in gaining access to mainstream media coverage.

Science Media Savvy provides some excellent top tips for researchers.

The Conversation has experienced journalists and editors who can provide assistance and advice to those wanting to start out or improve their writing communication skills in respect to print media. Flinders is a supporter of The Conversation and encourages our academics to get involved.

RiAus, based here in Adelaide, and Science in Public run workshops on media training throughout the year around Australia.


New OpportunitiesTraining in social research methods and research technology


ACSPRI, the Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Incorporated, delivers regular training courses in social research methods and research technology. Courses cater for researchers across many disciplines - in the social and political sciences, behavioural, health and medical sciences, policy research, education, economics, epidemiology, law, management, marketing, public relations and human resource management.

Suitable for researchers and higher degree students, all courses are small group, hands-on intensives that run across 5 days. They range from Fundamentals (level 1) courses that require little or no prior experience, to very advanced Level 5 courses.

Courses in the 2017 Spring Program, delivered at Macquarie University 25 – 29 September, include:

Data Envelopment Analysis for Management and Non-economists 1
Foundations of Qualitative Methodologies, Data Collection and Analysis 1
Fundamentals of Statistics 1
Introduction to Social Network Research and Analysis 1
SPSS for Researchers 1
Applied Statistical Procedures 2
Fundamentals of Structural Equation Modelling 3
Multi-level analysis using Mplus 5

Flinders researchers can access ACSPRI training courses at a reduced cost.  Flinders University is a member of ACSPRI.

ACSPRI also runs a survey research centre, Academic Surveys Australia, specialising in data collection for academic social science research, and the development and maintenance of free, open-source survey software.

Please contact Flinders’ ACSPRI representative, Dr Marina Delpin, if you have any queries.

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsMTA - Information Session

Event - MTA Information session banner

If your research involves biological or other materials, then it is more than likely that you will require a MTA to send or receive such materials. A Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) is a legal document that is required when material is being transferred between institutions. The MTA sets out among other things, arrangements for permitted uses and ownership or sharing of ownership of the material and any associated intellectual property (IP).

This one hour session will provide an overview of what a MTA is, why and when you need a MTA, and how to set one up here at Flinders Uni. Register at ienrol to attend this information session.

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsCore Facilities Showcase

Core Facilities Showcase banner

Would you like to gain a better understanding of the biomedical research core facilities that are available for you to access?

The Robinson Research Institute and SAHMRI are co-hosting a Core Facilities Showcase, where facility leaders will be available to discuss how they can help to facilitate and optimise your research projects.

At this showcase, meet the Facility Leaders from:

  • ACRF Cancer Genomics 
  • ACRF Cellular Imaging & Cytometry 
  • Adelaide Biofilm Test
  • Adelaide Microscopy
  • AHTA and Biostatistics
  • Australian Genome Research
  • Bioinformatics Hub
  • Bioresources, Research Support Services
  • Cell Screen SA
  • Centre for Cancer Biology Advanced Imaging Resource
  • Cryogenic Facility & Histology Laboratory
  • David Gunn Genomics
  • Flinders Microscopy
  • Gene Silencing and Expression
  • Non-Invasive Biomarker Engineering Centre
  • Preclinical, Imaging & Research Laboratories
  • SA Genome Editing
  • SAHMRI Confocal Microscopy & Laser Capture
  • South Australian Metabolomics 

Event Details
Monday 17 July
2:00pm - 3:30pm
SAHMRI Auditorium
Light refreshments provided

Registrations Essential


Research Engagement and ImpactSaving Nemo at the Star of Greece

Saving Nemo banner

Want to help research and conservation efforts for 'Nemo' while eating at one of South Australia's top restaurants? Then the Saving Nemo at the Star of Greece is the upcoming event for you.

Researchers and Science Educators at Flinders set up the Saving Nemo Conservation Fund for the sole purpose of funding nursery-breeding programs to stop the demand for wild caught fish, establishing research projects that help conserve wild populations and running education programs that enable people to learn how to protect, breed and care for marine ornamental fish.

The popularity of the Pixar film Saving Nemo increased demand for clownfish around the world, but at that time the supplies of the fish to local aquarium stores were only from wild populations, mostly from the Philippines and the Great Barrier Reef here in Australia. This demand led to dramatic decreases in the wild populations, including them disappearing completely from some reefs. The Saving Nemo Conservation Fund set up nursery breeding programs to supply local aquarium stores and a series of research projects around conservation ecology and behaviour, aquaculture and sustainable fisheries, and using host anemones as bioactive products in anticancer research.

As part of their conservation and research fundraising efforts, a dinner will be held at the Star of Greece on Saturday, 5 August 2017 from 6:30 PM. Included in the ticket price is a two course meal, with two drinks. A Silent Auction will be held during the dinner and the guest speaker will be Associate Professor Karen Burke da Silva, Biology, and Founder of the Saving Nemo Conservation Fund. All proceeds will go directly to supporting education and awareness programs and vital monitoring and research of clownfish and their habitats.

Book by the 30 July to reserve your seat!

More information on the fund can be found at

New OpportunitiesMTP Connect

MTP Connect logo

MTPConnect is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to accelerate the rate of growth of the medical technologies, biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals sector to achieve greater commercialisation and establish Australia as an Asia-Pacific hub for MTP companies. It was formed in November 2015 as part of the Federal Government’s $250 million Industry Growth Centres Initiative.

The 2017 round of the Project Fund Program is now open for applications until 4 PM AEST Thursday 31 August 2017. They are looking for collaborative, industry-led projects through a dollar-for-dollar matched Project Fund Program. The aim is to invest in big, bold ideas to improve the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of the MTP sector; to deliver results on a national scale that have sector-wide impact, including for SMEs.

MTPConnect ran a 2017 Project Fund Program webinar on Wednesday 21 June at 2 PM AEST providing an overview of the program, key priority areas for projects, the application and approvals process, and how to strengthen your application - view it on YouTube now. The Director of Major Projects, Elizabeth Stares and one of the MTP Connect General Managers are providing one-on-one sessions across Australia on the 2017 Project Fund Program. The Adelaide sessions will be held at the Medical Device Research Institute at Tonsley on 25 July 2017 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. To register for the Adelaide session, please do so here.

Further information on the Program, including project guidelines, template agreement and the EOI application form are available on the MTP Connect 2017 Project Fund Program webpage.

New OpportunitiesSALHN Excellence Awards

SALHN awards banner

There is only one day left to nominate your colleagues or your project in the Award for Excellence in Research category in the 2017 Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN) Excellence Awards. Applications close on Friday 14 July 2017.

These awards recognise outstanding achievements and acknowledge the importance of the SALHN staff as they strive to provide the standard of health care that we desire for our own families and friends.

Applicants are encouraged to refer to the SALHN Awards 2017 eligibility and conditions of entry available on the Inside Southern Health intranet prior to completing the form.

2017 SALHN awards program application form

New OpportunitiesON Australia's Security and Defence

On Prime: Defence banner

ON Prime:Defence is a part-time pre-accelerator experience designed for science and technology that has the potential to deliver real impact for Australia's national security and defence. Delivered in partnership by the CSIRO and the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST), ON Prime:Defence gives researchers a unique opportunity to fast-track their science or technology proposition with expert guidance from those who've been there and done it before.

In a similar approach as the ON Prime program, participants will test paths for their IP, know-how or technology through a process of customer discovery and market validation, and build their entrepreneurial and business model capabilities to ensure they are working on the right problems, targeting the right markets and capitalising on the best opportunities. In the recent ON Accelerate round, the joint Flinders, CSIRO, and Flinders Partners group, SeaNU was one of the successful groups. Eligible ON Prime:Defence teams will be invited to participate in the ON Accelerate program.

ON Prime are looking for innovative technologies that have the potential to deliver game-changing capabilities for Australia's national security and defence. Each team must have at least one research employee from the CSIRO, Australian Universities, or Australia's publicly funded research agencies. Teams working on technologies that address the following priority areas with the potential for dual-use applications in the commercial market are highly encouraged to apply.

  • Integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
  • Space capabilities
  • Enhanced human performance
  • Medical countermeasure products
  • Multidisciplinary material sciences
  • Quantum technologies
  • Trusted autonomous systems
  • Advanced sensors, hypersonics, and directed energy capabilities

Professor John Coveney, Health Sciences, and his team, who are looking to set up the Research Centre for Food, Culture and Health, were involved in the last ON Prime:Defence round and took away some valuable lessons from the experience. Health research areas are encouraged to consider participating in the next ON Prime:Defence round.

Applications are now open and will close on 28 July 2017. More information on the program can be found at the ON Prime:Defence web page.

New OpportunitiesNational Science Week 2017 - Are you in?

National Science Week 2017 banner

National Science Week gives people from all walks of life opportunities to meet scientists, do science, discuss hot topics and celebrate the contribution of Australian science to society, culture and the economy.

It’s the prime time for open days, events and broad science engagement.

Science in Public are the national publicists. They will be providing communication support for event organisers and briefing media outlets with tasty story leads. If you have an event or topic you think might have strong media potential, let them know and they'll consider including it in their media releases and briefings. Email them at

Make sure you register any events you’re holding on the National Science Week website. Registering is important—both for building the buzz and getting bums on seats!

National Science Week (12-20 August) has become one of Australia’s largest festivals and in 2017 it turns 20 years old. For more information about the week visit or email

Research Engagement and ImpactInvasion of the European crabs

A male European Shore CrabA male European shore crab, Carcinus maenas, found in Port Gawler, Adelaide. Photo by René Campbell

Australia has not been immune to the invasion of the European shore crab. These notorious marine invaders are considered to be in the top 100 of the world’s worst invasive species, and have been introduced to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America, the Patagonian coast of South America, Japan, the cape of South Africa, and south-eastern Australia, often via ship ballast. What has made them so devastating for these indigenous coastlines is the crab’s voracious appetite, particularly for commercial fisheries such as clams and cockles. It has long been considered that they may also impact on native biodiversity through predation and competition.

René Campbell using opera house traps to locate Carcinus maenas in mangrove habitats of Spencer Gulf
 René Campbell using opera house traps to locate Carcinus maenas in mangrove habitats of Spencer Gulf.
Photo by Louis Halstead

In Australia, populations of these crabs are found in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, and South Australia. However, little is known about their population biology in southern Australia or their adaptations to our unique temperate coastline. René Campbell, School of Biology, is currently undertaking field work in both Gulf St. Vincent and the Spencer Gulf to capture these invasive crabs to assess their current distribution, and to start analysing reproductive and molecular samples. The field work has been funded via a successful application to the Sir Mark Mitchell Foundation.

René’s current PhD project, The population biology and adaptation of the invasive European shore crab (Genus Carcinus) in southern Australia, will include the information obtained from these field trips. The reproductive and molecular samples, particularly the reproductive samples, will help identify what time of year and how often female crabs reproduce, which may influence the spread of this marine invader and determine future ecological management decisions. “These techniques will help me confirm species identification and assess population genetic structure of crabs in southern Australia, which can help us understand how different populations are connected, and if they were the result of multiple introductions,” said René.

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsResearch Crowdfunding Information Session

Research Crowdfunding Information Session

Would you consider crowdfunding as an option for funding your research project? If so, come along to this information session where representatives from the Research Services Office and the Office of Communication and Engagement will discuss what crowdfunding is, how it works here at Flinders, what type of research it best supports, what’s in it for ‘them’, as well as you, and how the University can help to publicise your crowdfunding project to maximise its chances of success.

Presented by Steve Oswald, Manager Grants & Contracts, Research Services Office and Karen Ashford, Office of Communication and Engagement, this hour long session will cover what is research crowdfunding and what assistance is available at Flinders. Registration for the session is available via ienrol.

New OpportunitiesSTEM Innovation in SA

Innovation in SA banner

South Australia's STEM Award list

Do you want to attract new funding or have your work recognised nationally? Whether you are a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) researcher, educator or communicator, recognising your achievements is vital in promoting science and inspiring the next generation to take an interest in science.

Inspiring South Australia has collected a list of STEM awards, including local and national and some international awards, to raise awareness and help our STEM scientists, communicators and educators apply for relevant awards.

Participate in the Survey

The Department of State Development together with Inspiring South Australia is conducting a survey to learn more about the work of our scientists. Your feedback will help them deliver better services and information that is relevant to you and your research.

Dr Leanna Read, Chief Scientist for South Australia wants to make sure that our STEM practitioners receive the recognition they fully deserve. "I encourage you to read through the list and nominate for an award today. And if you do have some time, please complete our short survey to help us improve our services to you," Leanna said.

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsAnimal Ethics Group Workshop - July 2017

Event - Animal Ethics Group Workshop - July 2017

All staff and students (both internal and external) must attend one Animal Ethics Group Workshop in order to work with animals. New staff who have significant previous experience may be granted an exemption by the AWC upon application. The next workshop in 2017 will be held from 10 AM to 12 PM on Thursday 27 July 2017.

The Animal Ethics Group Workshop is a 2 hour small group workshop that focuses on the ethics application forms, Clinical Record Sheets, animal scoring, the Animal Facilities, and covers some problem solving situations. Bookings are made via the Ethics Officer, Animal Welfare Committee. Please include your full name, email, department you are working with, Supervisors name, and the date you completed the Animal Ethics Online Training on.

Animal Ethics Group Workshop - July 2017 Flyer

New OpportunitiesCall for Research Fellowships and Conference Sponsorship


The Co-operative Research Program (CRP) of the OECD has launched its call for funding research fellowships and international conferences (workshops and symposia) in 2018. Applications are invited from research scientists working in agriculture, forestry or fisheries and who would like to conduct research projects abroad, and/or for funding towards a conference (or workshop, symposium, etc) to take place in another member country of the CRP.

The aim of the Research Fellowships is to strengthen the international exchange of ideas and increase international mobility and co-operation among scientists working in these areas. The Conference Sponsorship scheme is to inform policy makers, industry and academia of current and future research, scientific developments and opportunities in these areas.

Applications for both should fit into one of the three following research themes:

  • Managing Natural Capital for the Future
  • Managing Risks in a Connected World
  • Transformational Technologies and Innovation

The deadline for submission of applications is 10 September 2017, (midnight Paris time). The guidelines and forms can be found on the OECD website.

2017 OECD CRP Brochure

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsResearch Grants and Contracts Drop-in Sessions - July 2017

Research Grants and Contracts Drop In Session - July 2017

The first Research Grants and Contracts team July drop-in session for interested academic and professional staff will be held on Tuesday 11 July 2017.

These twice monthly sessions are designed to allow staff to receive one-on-one assistance or advice on any aspect of the services provided by the Research Grants and Contracts team, including: assistance with research grant applications, searching for funding, grant budgets, establishing collaborative contracts and other research related contracts, terms and conditions of award, confidentiality and material transfer agreements etc.

Research Grants and Contract staff will be available from 12 PM to 1 PM on Tuesday 11 July 2017 and Tuesday 25 July 2017. Participants are encouraged to register at ienrol if they are interested in attending either of the sessions and are asked to please email to give RSO staff advance notice of the nature of the assistance they require.

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsResearch Data & Systems Drop-in Session - July 2017

Research Data & Reporting Drop In Session - July 2017

The next Research Data and Reporting Team’s monthly drop-in session for interested academic and professional staff will be held on Tuesday 18 July 2017.

The aim of the session is to provide one-on-one assistance to staff who want either a refresh on the research data systems used at Flinders or to learn some new skills.

Research Data and Reporting staff will be available from 12 PM to 1 PM on Tuesday 18 July 2017. Participants are encouraged to register at ienrol if they are interested in attending.

Seminars Conferences and WorkshopsThe most open and honest grant writing workshop

RiAus ECR Network workshop - July 2017

You'll never go to a workshop as honest or useful as this. Find out from a grant examiner just what they look for, and what they don't bother reading. It'll be frank and fearless, but you'll learn from the best and find out what makes a successful grant application.

After a sell out event in 2016, Professor Alan Cooper (Director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA) is back to reveal the secrets of writing a killer grant application to Australia's Early Career Researchers.

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.

The event will also be livestreamed at Australia's Science Channel -

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Research Development and Support
Flinders University
P: +61 8 8201 7972
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