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Achievements and Announcements

Sonographer award

Jessie Childs with President of the Australian Sonographers Association, Cain Brockley.Jessie Childs with President of the Australian Sonographers Association, Cain Brockley.

A UniSA lecturer has been awarded Sonographer of the Year for South Australia at the Australian Sonographers Association’s 2014 Awards of Excellence.

Childs, who splits her time between ultrasound scanning and tutoring at Sound Radiology and being a UniSA academic, has been inspired by the award win.

“Winning this award is an amazing honour and I am humbled to have even been considered,” Childs says.

“My passion has always been to contribute at the grass roots level; teach, tutor, promote and research. I’ve never felt so inspired to keep going.”

Childs was also awarded the Pru Pratten Memorial Award for Sonographer Achievement. The award recognises excellence and outstanding achievement in sonography.

The awards reflects Childs’ research in sonography as well as her efforts in promoting the profession through lectures and giving back by teaching and serving on the South Australian branch of the Australian Sonographers Association.

Childs is currently undertaking a PhD into ultrasound measurements of the liver, after completing an Honours research project investigating the effects of ancestry and anthropometry on the size of the ulnar nerve.

A sonographer is a highly skilled medical imaging professional who utilises ultrasound imaging systems to undertake diagnostic medical sonographic examinations across a range of contexts.

Hawke Lecture to commemorate Anzac Centenary

Australian soldier

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC AFC (Ret’d) will reflect on why the Centenary of Anzac is a special time for all Australians when he delivers the 17th Annual Hawke Lecture for UniSA’s Hawke Centre on August 5.

The lecture, titled ‘Commemorating the Anzac Centenary: Why is it important for all Australians?’ will be held at the Adelaide Town Hall. It will consider why is it important to observe this time in history and why the Anzac story and values remain so central to what it means to be an Australian today and in the future.

From August 4, Australia begins commemorating the Centenary of World War One, which began for Australia when Great Britain declared war on Germany, with the declaration binding on all Dominions within the British Empire.

Hawke Centre Executive Director Jacinta Thompson says the Annual Hawke Lecture is the premier event on the public calendar of the University.

“This year’s Annual Hawke Lecture with Air Chief Marshal Houston will be a significant event not to be missed,” Thompson says.

Air Chief Marshal Houston retired after 41 years of military service, including being Chief of the Defence Force from 2005 to 2011. He is currently leading the Joint Agency Coordination Centre coordinating the Australian Government’s support for the search into missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

For more information and to register, go to the Hawke Centre website.

UniSA in new partnership with the European Commission

EU flag

A prestigious grant from the European Commission will see UniSA’s Hawke Research Institute set up a research centre that focuses on the global challenges caused by the increasing displacement of people and communities in the 21st century.

The Hawke EU Centre for Mobilities, Migrations and Cultural Transformations begun this month under the terms of a $1.5 million funding agreement in partnership with UniSA.

Acclaimed sociologist and literary theorist, UniSA’s Associate Professor Jennifer Rutherford will be Director of the new Centre.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the Hawke Institute, as Australia’s largest research centre in the social sciences, humanities and creative arts, is exceptionally well positioned to contribute to the EU’s mission to deliver globally significant research and public outreach.

“This is an enormously important opportunity, afforded to only a very few quality institutions in this country, to carry out research with the potential to make a difference worldwide,” Prof Lloyd says.

“The new Hawke EU Centre will examine migration, asylum and protection issues in an environment where war and conflict, climate events and global economics are acting as an ever-present catalyst for movement.

“They’ll look at the issues not only from a human rights perspective but also research how these global movements impact on our sense of citizenship, culture, social cohesion, nationhood and ultimately peace and stability.”

For more details about the new centre, see the media release about this announcement.

UniSA Indigenous Education Award winners

Andrea Duff and Mark Osborne from the Indigenous Content Team.Andrea Duff and Mark Osborne from the Indigenous Content Team.

A team of UniSA tutors and course coordinators has been awarded UniSA’s Indigenous Education Award.

The Indigenous Content Team from the Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment, was awarded for developing student understanding about Indigenous Australian culture in science, technology, engineering and maths professions, contributing significantly to the University’s aim of being recognised as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university of choice.

Andrea Duff, who leads the project, says they are very pleased to be recognised for the work the team and course coordinators undertake.

“It’s a busy job, we work with around 800 students each year,” Duff says. “We were very pleased to win the award as we have put in a big effort and everyone has a strong intent to make a difference.

“The initial aspirations of the project were to ensure that every student has exposure to Aboriginal culture and understands the importance of cultural respect and mindfulness.

“The work we undertake introducing first year students to cultural competency when working with Indigenous Australians ties in closely with the University Reconciliation Action Plan.

“We work hand-in-hand with the course coordinators in the Division and rely on their support.”

The program was piloted in 2009 by Diana Quinn and has since evolved and grown.

Mark Osborne has worked in the project team since 2012 and says as an Indigenous person the project holds even more emphasis.

“I strongly support the intentions of the project in educating future professionals to develop their understanding of Aboriginal culture and history,” Osborne says.

“The most rewarding aspect is working alongside the people in our dedicated team who are all committed to the project’s vision of achieving reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

Lloyd Cole confronts commotion of celebrity at UniSA

Lloyd Cole at a public lecture at UniSA. Image by Dr Eric Hsu.Lloyd Cole at a public lecture at UniSA. Image by Dr Eric Hsu.

Audiences got a rare insight into the world of renowned singer/songwriter Lloyd Cole when he delivered a public lecture to a full house at UniSA’s City West campus as part of his Visiting Fellowship at the Hawke Research Institute.

Cole, who was Down Under for his 2014 tour across Australian capital cities, spoke to audiences about his career as a musician at a time when the whole music industry is being challenged and fragmented by globalisation and new technologies.

In addition to sharing his views on technologies and trends that are changing the way people access and appreciate music, Cole treated the audience to a number of songs from a music career which has spanned nearly four decades, from front man of the Commotions in the 1980s to his transition to a solo artist.

Director of the Hawke Research Institute, Professor Anthony Elliott, was thrilled to bring Cole to Adelaide and UniSA, citing him as a pioneer in the brave new world of do-it-yourself pop music.

“At the Hawke we have a global reputation in the field of cultural studies, and one of the big challenges concerns understanding current massive changes to the music industry,” Prof Elliott says.

“Colleagues here are trying to figure out how musicians can financially survive in the age of Spotify.

“So, I asked Lloyd Cole to come over – as a Visiting Fellow of the Hawke – to work with us on these challenges, which are crucial to the future of the Australian music industry and also globally.”

To find out more about the event, go to the media release.

Port partnership

Members of the Port Adelaide Football team.
Photo courtesy PAFC

UniSA and the Port Adelaide Football Club have teamed up to form a high performance partnership centred on research and education in elite sport.

UniSA’s Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd and Port Adelaide Football Club Chief Executive Officer Keith Thomas have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish the Port Adelaide Football Club / UniSA Centre for High Performance Sport.

Prof Lloyd says the centre will focus on collaborative sport, education and research excellence.

He says the partnership will initially concentrate on cooperative activities rather than a physical building, although shared facilities in the CBD may be explored in the future.

“Joint training and education programs and joint research programs in areas of mutual interest will be at the heart of collaborative activities in this partnership,” Prof Lloyd says.

“From a research perspective, it’s an exciting opportunity to turn up the volume on quality research in AFL football, particularly in the areas of optimising player performance, injury prevention and best practice for recovery.

“From an education perspective, there are already links with sports science staff at Port Adelaide Football Club completing higher research degrees at our University and teaching in our undergraduate programs, while for the players themselves this MOU may assist them to plan their careers after their time as an elite footballer has come to an end.”

Other collaborative activities under the MOU may include the development of outreach programs for young people in disadvantaged communities in South Australia, and staff exchanges between the two parties to promote research and teaching excellence.

For more details, see UniSA’s media release about this partnership.

Wanted: Adelaide’s next student entrepreneur

UniSA research students.UniSA and the State Government have joined forces to deliver a new initiative for students which will support the growth of entrepreneurship in South Australia.

Venture Catalyst (VC) is an opportunity for UniSA students to receive seed funding to create innovative and commercially successful business ventures that meet the needs of industry in South Australia.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the University is thrilled to be partnering with industry and government to support the growth of entrepreneurship in South Australia.

“Universities by their very nature are a breeding ground for new thoughts and innovative ideas,” Prof Lloyd says.

“The VC initiative is a way of harnessing the creative energy of our students and transforming their passion and ideas into projects that will be of real benefit to the wider community.

“Government and industry collaborations play an important role in the education service we provide to our students.

“This initiative gives students the opportunity to start making a positive impact on the future of our state and we’re looking forward to seeing some of the new services and products that will be developed from this partnership.”

The initiative follows the establishment of a Hewlett Packard (HP) Innovation and Collaboration Centre within the University’s new building in the Health and Biomedical Precinct on North Terrace which was announced early this year.

The Department of State Development has provided $150,000 funding for VC.

Applications for the first round of the VC are now open to UniSA students and recent graduates with up to $50,000 of seed funding available to assist in the development of a product, service or process.

For more information or to apply, go to the website.

Outgoing student president receives life membership

Professor David Lloyd with Arun ThomasProfessor David Lloyd with Arun Thomas

UniSA’s outgoing President of the UniSA Student Association (USASA), Arun Thomas, has been awarded an Honorary Life Membership to the USASA board.

Arun, who has served two terms as President, is the first international student to receive this prestigious award from USASA.

In awarding the life membership, the board said that Arun was a driving force in recent organisational changes to USASA which have been essential to its survival.

“Arun has been at the forefront of major changes at USASA over the last 18 months including two restructures and an entire re-branding,” says USASA General Manager, Daniel Randell.

“The commitment he has shown to the organisation during this challenging period is a testament to his character and resilience, making him a worthy recipient of this honour.”

Arun has recently graduated from a Bachelor of Nursing and is working as a registered nurse at a private hospital in Adelaide.

His leadership aspirations remain though with his career goal to get involved in leadership roles in the health sector and to one day be the CEO of a South Australian hospital.

Arun, who left his family in India seven years ago to originally study a Bachelor of Commerce, says “determination, dedication and discipline” are three words that have become his personal mantra as he works towards his goals.

“I would like to express my gratitude to UniSA for providing me with countless opportunities,” he says. “Special thanks go to Professor David Lloyd and Daniel Randell for their inspiration, enthusiasm and advice.”

Stakeholder theory specialist at UniSA

(L-R), Associate Professor Howard Harris and Professor R Ed Freeman.(From left), Associate Professor Howard Harris and Professor R Ed Freeman.

A well-known advocate for stakeholder theory spent a week providing insight into the topic during a visit to UniSA’s School of Management in June.

Professor R Edward Freeman from the University of Virginia visited Australia in a joint partnership between UniSA, Monash University and the International Association for Business and Society.

“Prof Ed Freeman is a leader of stakeholder theory of the firm,” says UniSA Associate Professor Howard Harris, Acting Head: School of Management.

“Stakeholder theory is widely taught in many courses in the School of Management, elsewhere in the Business School and beyond.

“The opportunity for staff and students to hear directly from Prof Freeman on this topic has enhanced their understanding of this complex and often over-simplified topic. Prof Freeman also conducted a session for local executives arranged by the Business School’s Strategic Partnerships unit.

“The ability to attract him to Adelaide has also added to the reputation and status of the School.”

Prof Freeman’s latest book, Stakeholder Theory: The State of the Art, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. He is the author or editor of more than 20 volumes in the areas of stakeholder management, business strategy and business ethics as well as more than 100 articles in a wide variety of publications.

Soil health focus of international congress

Ramya Thangarajan with her award-winning poster.Ramya Thangarajan with her award-winning poster.

Soil health is fundamental to food security and global peace according to a recent world soil congress attended by a dozen staff and students from UniSA’s Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation (CERAR).

The CERAR contingent was involved in 31 presentations during the World Congress of Soil Science in Korea, organised two special symposia and released a book (see ‘new books’ for more information about the book, co-edited by UniSA’s Professor Jock Churchman).

Included in the presentations were two keynote addresses by Professor Ravi Naidu, Director of CERAR and Professor Nanthi Bolan, Chair in Environmental Science at CERAR.

Prof Bolan says the congress highlighted that there is an urgent need to undertake innovative research in managing soil health and also mitigating the environmental impacts of mismanagement of soil resources.

“Soil is being increasingly used as a dumping ground for indiscriminate waste disposal resulting in environmental and ecosystem contamination,” Prof Bolan says.

“At CERAR we are undertaking pioneering research on contamination and remediation of natural resources that include soil and water.”

At the congress, the work of CERAR PhD student Ramya Thangarajan impressed the international soil experts, winning a best poster award at the conference for her research work.

Ramya says she is proud to have received the award at the conference, where she was able to meet and listen to presentations of soil expert scientists from all over the world.

“I am thrilled that my research information has been recognised and regarded favourably by an international panel of eminent scientists,” Ramya says.

“The award is tremendously inspiring and receiving the award has deepened my commitment to continue research in soil science.”

Ramya is due to finish her PhD at the end of this year, exploring nitrogen transformation in organic amendments added soils and possible ways to reduce nitrogen loss as gaseous emissions from these soils.

Recent CERAR PhD graduate, Anitha Kunhikrishnan also won a best poster award for her PhD research on the role of recycled water sources in the (im)mobilisation and bioavailability of copper in soils.

Both Ramya and Anitha have been supervised by Prof Nanthi Bolan and Prof Ravi Naidu.

Real win for virtual design

The CADwalk™ system. Image supplied by Jumbo Vision International. The CADwalk™ system. Image supplied by Jumbo Vision International.

A team of UniSA researchers has played an important role in the early stage development of a ground-breaking workspace design system, which recently won a South Australian iAward.

Allowing users to view and design potential work spaces in virtual reality, the CADwalk™ system was created by information and communications technology (ICT) company Jumbo Vision International (JVI) in close collaboration with UniSA. The system was partially funded by ITEK Ventures, the University’s commercialisation company, while elements of the system’s software were developed in UniSA’s own Wearable Computer Lab.

Last month the system took home the New Product Award at the state’s iAwards, an event which celebrates ICT innovations happening across Australia.

Once the stuff of science fiction, CADwalk™ gives architects, builders, operators and engineers the chance to work in a virtual playground, where they can walk through a life-size version of a concept and modify the room layout in real-time as they proceed.

In its current form, CADwalk™ is being used to improve the process of designing complex control rooms, but according to JVI General Manager Lena Kimenkowski the technology has broad potential, from use in home interiors to hospital design.

“A world-first, the CADwalk™ system uses 2D and 3D image projection and 3D motion capture cameras to create a full-scale concept layout of a workspace that closely mirrors the room’s actual physical characteristics – not unlike the famous ‘Holodeck’ of Star Trek,” Kimenkowsk says.

“While high-value control rooms are our current area of focus, we are looking ahead to selling CADwalk™ as a service to other industries – these include interior home design, hospitals, and quite possibly even bigger projects such as oil rigs, shipbuilding and general construction.”

New Zealand’s national electricity power provider Transpower recently completed a major control room design upgrade for their Wellington and Hamilton National Coordination Centre using CADwalk™ with very promising results.

Co-Director of the Wearable Computer Lab Professor Bruce Thomas says he is thrilled to see research from the Lab making a real impact in the world.

“We are delighted to be part of a collaborative team working on cutting-edge technology that has the potential to revolutionise the way design projects happen. It is great to see the fruits of our research making it into the world,” Prof Thomas says.

“In particular, I’d like to thank Peter Harriss, Dr Ross Smith and Dr Michael Marner for the hard work they’ve put into this software development. We’re very proud to be involved with JVI, and to see them take home one of Australia’s leading innovation awards.”

CADwalk™ will now be in the running at the national iAwards to be held in Melbourne at the end of August.

Yazbek hosts ASMR medallist

UniSA researcher and president of the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) Dr Roger Yazbek recently hosted world renowned ageing scientist, and 2014 ASMR Medallist Professor David Sinclair, as part of ASMR Medical Research Week® celebrations.

Dr Yazbek says he was delighted to host a national tour for Prof Sinclair, who has been named by TIME Magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people on the planet.

Prof Sinclair, who divides his time between Harvard University and the University of New South Wales, is widely regarded as pushing the frontiers of medical science to help people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

“The ASMR Medical Research Week® tour visited all Australian capital cities, and featured a presentation at the National Press Club in Canberra,” Dr Yazbek says.

“We hosted a number of dignitaries at each dinner, including the Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton and the CEO Warwick Anderson in Melbourne.

“Prof Sinclair’s talks at each dinner received a lot of attention, where he outlined his landmark work to develop a new class of anti-ageing drugs which could ultimately present cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes.

“ASMR Medical Research Week® was an enormous success and highlighted the tremendous contributions of Australian health and medical researchers.”