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In brief

Powering ahead with industry research

Laboratory environmentResearchers at UniSA have been successful in attracting more than $2.5 million in Australian Research Council funding for research partnered with the end users of that research across industry, business and government.

In the latest round of ARC Linkage grants 10 research projects won funding. Within the local context the University won 67 per cent of all linkage grant funding to South Australia.

Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Høj congratulated all staff who assisted with and applied for grants in this round and noted that the annual research income of $45 million in 2007 is set to grow further in 2008.

"This result which placed UniSA 6th amongst Australia’s 40 universities is an outstanding and typifies the incredible growth in research income at UniSA over recent years," Prof Høj said.

Successful UniSA projects in health sciences include Prof Doug Brooks’ research into the development of a gene delivery system to access neuronal cells; two projects from Prof Leonie Segal - the development of an evidence based primary health care model to support best practice in chronic disease management and developing an evidence based strategy to reduce child abuse and neglect and associated harms; and a project from Dr Jim Dollman to explore resilience in relation to diet and exercise in children from low socio-economic neighbourhoods.

Prof Carol Kulik from the Division of Business won support for a project focusing on diversity in the workplace and organisational effectiveness, and in Education, Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Bruce Johnson will research the teacher exodus, looking at how to develop early career resilience and retain teachers.

Four projects have been funded in the Division of Information Technology, Engineering andthe Environment. Assoc Prof Jon Kellett has been funded to develop an integrated model for the assessment of urban sustainability;Dr John Boland will be researching the future of the electricity distribution network; Assoc Prof Daniel Fornasiero will be looking into what impact low quality water and recycled water has on sustainable minerals processing practices; and Prof Michael Taylor will be working with colleagues to assess the potential of Adelaide’s northern rail corridor to support more sustainable patterns of travel and to uncover the mix of land use policies and transport infrastructure and governance likely to be most effective in urban Australia.

Winefield on board

UniSA Professor of Psychology Dr Tony Winefield has been reappointed to the South Australian Psychological Board. The statutory body was established to regulate the practice of psychology in the public interest and oversees approval of higher education courses that prepare individuals for registration and ensures that all registered practitioners have the skills, knowledge and competence expected of the profession. The Board is also responsible for establishing benchmarks for practice by monitoring and endorsing standards and codes of conduct and practice, and investigating complaints about a psychologist’s conduct, competence or capacity. Prof Winefield’s appointment will continue until December 2009.

Another Kaurna Building gong

UniSA’s Kaurna Building, an iconic feature of Adelaide’s West End precinct, has been named best public building in the Property Council of Australia’s 2008 Innovation and Excellence Awards.

Designed by John Wardle Architects in association with Hassell, the Kaurna Building was featured in the 10th Venice Architecture Biennale and has won many prestigious Royal Institute of Architecture Awards including the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings, Best New Interior and Best New Building.

The Property Council award recognises "excellence in a new or refurbished public building", judged on criteria including economic and financial factors, project vision and innovation, corporate social responsibility and quality of design and finish.

Antibacterial coatings research gets NHMRC boost

Research into antibacterial coatings for biomedical devices used in health care has been given a boost with a $273,000 development grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council awarded to UniSA’s Deputy Director (Industry) at the Ian Wark Research Institute, Professor Hans Griesser.

Led by Prof Griesser, the research team including Dr Susan Semple from UniSA’s Sansom Institute and Associate Professor Michael Perkins from Flinders University will develop infection-resistant coatings that can be applied to a wide range of biomedical devices such as catheters, orthopaedic implants and contact lenses.

Novel antibacterial compounds extracted from Australian plants of the genus Eremophila will be coated as thin layers onto model materials used for fabricating biomedical devices, and then onto real-life biomedical products. These will be evaluated for their ability to prevent bacteria from colonising on surgical implants and biomedical devices.

Applauding an ethics giant

"Exciting, stimulating and moving" is how Professor Ian Richards from the School of Communication describes an international communication ethics colloquium held to mark the retirement of one of the pre-eminent figures in the field.

"The event was organised to honour the career of eminent scholar Clifford Christians, who has been research professor of communications and professor of journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for many years," Prof Richards said.

"Cliff has made an immense contribution to our field, and several of his colleagues and former students wanted to make an appropriate gesture to mark the occasion. So they invited prominent scholars from around the world to contribute chapters to a book, and then invited the authors to participate in an intensive colloquium, with Cliff responding to each paper."

Prof Richards, who was the only Australian invited, has written a chapter on the role of trust in journalism. Other contributors include Kaarle Nordenstreng (Finland), Stephen Ward (Canada), Haydar Badawi Sadig (Sudan), Lee Wilkins (US), Herman Wasserman (South Africa), Rafi Cohen-Almagor (Israel), Jolyon Mitchell (Scotland) and TC and CC Hsieh (Taiwan). Additional chapters will be contributed by Norman Denzin, Valerie Alia and Cees Hamelink and a number of other scholars.

Prof Richards said the overwhelming response to the colloquium reflected the great respect and affection for Prof Christians. The event was held from April 27-May 1 at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, where Prof Christians studied for his first degree.

Book bounty

Professor McKay and the boxes of water law booksIn the realms of water law policy the research community is small and connected. So when Professor Jennifer McKay received a shipment of eight boxes of water law books from the US it wasn’t hard to guess who they were from.US water management expert Professor Joseph Dellapenna is co-author of the authoritative text on international water law – Waters and Water Rights (2001) and a member of the Faculty at the Villanova University School of Law.

He has held senior Fulbright lecturer and researcher positions in China and Portugal and has worked on major international water policy boards and forums. Prof McKay says his generous contribution to the UniSA Library’s law and water policy collection is almost irreplaceable. "Some of these books are rare indeed," she said. "It is such a generous gesture and one that will continue to benefit researchers and students for many years to come." The book donation includes some 155 volumes with each being valued between $60 and $100.