Achievements and Announcements

Sports injury and environmental law the focus for Fulbright scholars

UniSA’s Professors building industry innovation

Aviation partnership to create soaring new skills for students

UniSA’s international Jazz academy opens in Mount Gambier

Winning team boosts women’s participation in local government

Aviation academic receives highest honour from Royal Aeronautical Society

Sports injury and environmental law the focus for Fulbright scholars

A UniSA environmental law expert and a PhD student investigating the connection between running strides and sports injury will travel to the United States to further their research as part of the prestigious Fulbright scholarships program.

UniSA PhD student Joel Fuller. UniSA PhD student Joel Fuller will use his Fulbright South Australia Postgraduate Scholarship to visit the University of Massachusetts while UniSA Adjunct Professor Rob Fowler will travel to George Washington University on the Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Climate Change and Clean Energy.

Trained physiotherapist Joel says he will use his time in the US to investigate whether there is a connection between running stride and injury risk.

“Running is an inherent component of most sports, so it’s important for understanding injuries,” he says.

“We’re looking at whether the structure and pattern of your running stride gives an indication of the health of your neuromuscular system – similar to how the structure and pattern of your heartbeat gives an indication of the health of your cardiovascular system.”

Joel will set off in August with the goal to further investigate a stride assessment technique developed as a spin-off from his PhD project on footwear and running injuries.

“We developed some novel biomechanical assessment techniques that we thought had potential clinical application,” Joel says.

“We use a sensor inside the shoe to detect foot strikes and measure running stride rhythm.

“When running, no stride is the same as the last one. Previous work in motor control shows this variation is not just white noise, but instead contains a purposeful structure that results from fine-tuning of the running stride by the central nervous system.

“If certain stride structures and patterns can be proven to predict certain types of injury, our technique to assess running stride will give a good idea of a runner’s risk of injury.

“Currently biomechanical assessment can be equipment-heavy and time consuming. This technique is much simpler, and will be easy to use in practice. The complexity is in processing the stride information, not in collecting it and this processing can be automated.”

The University of Massachusetts will offer Joel the opportunity to work with a large group of high-performance athletes from the institution’s sporting programs. Joel says he is looking forward to tapping into the university’s expertise.

“This is a great chance to stay at the forefront of my field and investigate questions that have come up in practice,” he says.

“Down the track, I hope to translate my findings to clinical work, to benefit patients and end users.”

Adjunct Professor Rob Fowler. Adjunct Prof Fowler will spend his time at George Washington University exploring how different levels of government collaborate to manage environmental challenges from a US perspective.

The Washington DC location will enable him to work with some of the US’s leading environmental law scholars, as well as senior administrators from federal, state, regional and local government.

Prof Fowler, who has extensively researched and published in environmental law areas such as environmental impact assessment, soils and land degradation, biodiversity conservation and climate change, says the scholarship will give him an opportunity to examine what the most appropriate role for the federal government in environmental matters is, and how this role can be effectively pursued.

“My US research will particularly focus on the federal role in climate change and clean energy, which I hope will provide useful insights for Australia as it seeks to develop new approaches to climate mitigation, and also engages in a wider reflection upon the appropriate role of the federal government in relation to the environment,” he says.

The Fulbright Program has been providing opportunities for educational exchanges between the United States and Australia since 1949.

For more information on Prof Fowler, Joel and the Fulbright Scholarship program, visit the Australian American Fulbright Commission website.

UniSA’s Professors building industry innovation

Two of UniSA’s key players in developing long-term research relationships with industry have been promoted to a new role at UniSA as Industry Professors.

Professor John FielkeProfessor John Fielke (pictured right) and Professor Peter Murphy (pictured below) are the first to earn the positions because of their unique and close collaborations to develop products and innovations being applied today in agriculture and the manufacturing sector.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the new title of Industry Professor reflects the importance of new styles of research leadership.

“As the research environment becomes increasingly competitive there is a strong role for research that crosses the divide between industry and academia,” Prof Lloyd says.

“John and Peter are exceptional examples of research leadership that is constantly engaged with industry and able to bring clarity around the practical needs of industry into the research space. And they are delivering real results.

Professor Peter Murphy“Peter and his team are behind the world’s first plastic car mirror developed in partnership with local manufacturer SMR Automotive, which is now being manufactured in Adelaide and exported to the United States.

“To date more than one million mirrors have been manufactured and fitted to vehicles. The project has seen a local manufacturer invest in a multi-million dollar state of the art advanced manufacturing facility, creating new, upskilled jobs in the process. Developed under Peter’s leadership, the mirror uses a series of ultra-thin coating layers to impart abrasion resistance, corrosion resistance and UV stability to a polycarbonate mirror base.

“The science behind this product is now being broadened for application to new commercial opportunities in the concentrated solar power sector.

“John has been a champion of innovation in agriculture working with agricultural producers and machinery manufacturers to improve tillage and seeding equipment and develop products suitable for different farming conditions.

“His latest work is focussed on developing mechanised harvesting solutions for the almond industry.”

Prof Lloyd says the new Industry Professor roles strengthen UniSA’s commitment to industry-informed research.

“As we build on our reputation as a university that is ‘open for business’ we will continue to acknowledge the researchers making that a reality; those who are actively seeking out opportunities to collaborate and make a difference,” he says.

Aviation partnership to create soaring new skills for students

Dr John R. Watret, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of ERAU, and UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd.Dr John R. Watret, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of ERAU, and UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd.

A new partnership between UniSA and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is set to boost undergraduate and graduate aviation degree opportunities at the University, as the aviation industry anticipates rapid growth over the next two decades in the Australasia region.

The collaboration will create new opportunities for UniSA students to develop key skills in emerging growth areas of aviation, including maintenance engineering and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, significantly expanding on UniSA’s current aviation program.

UniSA Head of Aviation, Neil Hyland says the Memorandum of Understanding between the universities will enable the development of further aviation teaching and research opportunities between both institutions, while supporting the academic and professional development of UniSA’s faculty and staff.

“There is a springboard now in place for our students to learn more in the field of aviation,” Hyland says.

“It opens the door for our students to learn about other areas of the industry, including air traffic control, cyber security, UAV technology and maintenance engineering.”

Dr John R. Watret, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of ERAU, believes the partnership signals an exciting future.

“ERAU, Asia partnering with UniSA represents the future of aviation and aerospace globally,” Dr Watret says.

“The tremendous growth opportunities and passion for aviation here in Australia and Asia coupled with the direction and commitment of UniSA makes this an exciting venture.”

Winning team boosts women’s participation in local government

(L-R) Dennis Mutton, Madeleine Davis, Dr Margaret Faulkner, Alex Gaut, Kath Button and Colin Dunsford AM (Chair of the Leaders Institute Board). (L-R) Dennis Mutton, Madeleine Davis, Dr Margaret Faulkner, Alex Gaut, Kath Button and Colin Dunsford AM (Chair of the Leaders Institute Board).

UniSA lecturer Dr Margaret Faulkner was part of an award-winning project group who helped increase the representation of women in elected roles in last year’s South Australian local government elections.

Dr Faulkner, a Senior Research Associate at the UniSA Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, as a member of the Missing in Action team, was awarded the 2014 Dennis Mutton Group Medal. This was a Community Action Group for the Leaders Institute of South Australia that examined why women were missing from local government in SA.

In delivering the accolade, which recognises outstanding community involvement and contribution, the Leaders Institute acknowledged that the project group played a role in a modest but important increase of two per cent in women’s representation in the 2014 local government elections.

Dr Faulkner said she was thrilled to be involved in a research project that had a tangible impact in the wider community.

“When we started the project in 2013, women represented only 27 per cent of elected council members. We were keen to discover how we could encourage more women to consider running for local council. We identified the issue is not in getting women elected, but in attracting women to nominate in the first place,” Dr Faulkner said.

“Our group undertook research and ran several forums for women in the community, which were supported by a Local Government Association (LGA) grant.

“The results of these forums informed a report which outlined our recommendations to the LGA about how to increase female nominations. This report was added as a resource to the LGA website and our findings were also included in the 2014 Council Community Awareness Strategy and Checklist provided to councils to develop their own strategies for the local government elections.

“In the end, a record percentage of women stood for and were elected to local government in the 2014 elections and I am really proud to have delivered insights on how to attract more women to local leadership positions.”

Dr Faulkner worked alongside Madeleine Davis, Director of Marketing and Communications at Defence SA; Alex Gaut, Biodiversity Program Manager at the Conservation Council of South Australia; and Kath Button, Manager of Corporate Resources at the State Library of South Australia on the Missing In Action Community Action Project. All four team members completed the Governor's Leadership Foundation Program at the Leaders Institute in 2013.

UniSA’s international Jazz academy opens in Mount Gambier

The opening of the James Morrison Academy of Music @UniSA in Mount Gambier.The opening of the James Morrison Academy of Music @UniSA in Mount Gambier.

The James Morrison Academy of Music @UniSA in Mount Gambier was officially opened this month by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.

Led by prominent Australian Jazz musician James Morrison, AM, the Academy has attracted top teachers and students from Australia and overseas for its first year.

Its teaching team will feature an ‘artist in residence’, Grammy-nominated American saxophonist Jeff Clayton, known for his playing with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.

Australian arranger and educator Graeme Lyall, AM, will lead the faculty, supported by Perth-born trumpeter Mat Jodrell – who is returning to Australia from the United States to take up the post - as well as guest musicians from the US, UK and Europe.

Morrison, who will teach all students at the Academy, said he had high ambitions for the school.

“Our focus is on the experience of the musician while they are making music, rather than more traditional theory-based learning,” Morrison says.

“I’ve seen the stunning results of this approach over the last 30 years. I’m confident that we can create the Southern Hemisphere’s best jazz school, and make a lot of great music along the way.”

The Academy is a partnership with UniSA, where all of its students will be enrolled, and it received critical seed funding of $500,000 from the South Australian Government.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd said he was proud to be part of such an exciting development in music education.

For more information, see the related media release.

Aviation academic receives highest honour from Royal Aeronautical Society

Dr Steven ThatcherUniSA aviation expert Dr Steven Thatcher (pictured right) has been made a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), the highest award conferred by the world’s only professional body dedicated to the aerospace community.

RAeS awards fellowships to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in the profession of aeronautics, attained a position of high responsibility in the profession of aeronautics or have had long experience of high quality in the profession of aeronautics.

Dr Thatcher, who was a member of the team who established the UniSA Aviation Academy, says he was honoured to receive the fellowship.

“When I was elected by the RAeS’s membership grading committee at the head office in London I was absolutely thrilled. The Fellowship is the highest honour conferred by RAeS,” he says.

The Fellowship award was in recognition of the contribution Dr Thatcher has made to aviation education and training in the Australasian region.

UniSA’s Head of School of Engineering, Professor Peter Majewski congratulated Dr Thatcher on the significant achievement.

“Dr Thatcher has been an integral part of the UniSA Aviation Academy since its formation, playing an important role in the development of Australasia’s first tertiary award program. We are pleased that his outstanding career in the aviation industry has been recognised at an international level,” Prof Majewski says.