Deakin has gained a new ARC Laureate Fellow, a new Industrial Transformation Research Hub and two new Future Fellows in the ARC Fellowships and projects announced today.
The Director of Deakin University’s Centre for Pattern Recognition and Data Analytics (PRaDA), Professor Svetha Venkatesh, has been awarded an ARC Laureate Fellowship by the Australian Research Council (ARC).
Professor Venkatesh is only the third Deakin researcher to be awarded a Laureate Fellowship, joining Professor Maria Forsyth from the Institute for Frontier Materials, who received a Fellowship in 2011, and Deakin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Peter Hodgson, a former Laureate Fellow.
Deakin will also host a new ARC Research Hub for Digital Enhanced Living, led by Professor John Grundy, Pro Vice-Chancellor ICT Innovation and Translation, and has gained two new Future Fellows in the round.
All four awards represent approximately $7.7 M in new ARC investment.
The Future Fellowships were awarded to Professor Tim Winter, Research Chair of Cultural Heritage in the Alfred Deakin Institute, and Ly Tran, Associate Professor of Education (Pedagogy and Curriculum) in the Research for Educational Impact Strategic Research Centre (REDI).
Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander AO congratulated the researchers on their awards and said she was delighted at the recognition of the impact of their work and future potential.
“These awards are a much-deserved acknowledgement of the importance of the work of all researchers involved and will ensure the development of outcomes that promise to make a difference to our communities in the years to come,” Professor den Hollander said.
“The ARC’s recognition of the efforts and calibre of these researchers and their work demonstrates the quality of the research taking place at Deakin.”
Professor Hodgson also congratulated the four researchers.
“We are delighted and proud of Professor Venkatesh, particularly, for the leadership role she plays for women and all researchers in the field of computing and pattern recognition in Australia and overseas,” he said.
The Australian Laureate Fellowships recognise outstanding researchers of international repute who play a significant, sustained leadership and mentoring role in building Australia's research capacity.
Up to 17 are awarded each year, including fellowships allocated to exceptional female researchers who also undertake an ambassadorial role to promote women in research.
Professor Venkatesh is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts in pattern analysis for accelerating scientific innovation and has been involved in developing new technology that recognises patterns in big data.
Her work has led to two start-ups, including the award-winning iCetana, which uses video analytics to detect potential security threats in large data sets and is now deployed with customers in the Middle-East, Europe, the Americas, South East Asia and Australia.
Other achievements include a health analytics program to help doctors predict suicide risk in patients. The outcomes of the health data analytics work have been spun out to create iHosp, a start-up that will improve hospital efficiency and patient care.
Professor Venkatesh also played a key role in PRaDA’s development of the TOBY Playpad app, which is providing therapy for children with autism around the world.
She said the Fellowship would allow her to continue doing the work she loves.
“I’m delighted. It will give me the opportunity to do new and exciting work in computer science.
“It is a team effort to get to this point. I’m so grateful to the members of my team who have worked with me so far and I hope they will continue with me on the journey.”
The Fellowship will provide over $3 M in funding to support a project that aims to determine how pattern recognition can be harnessed to accelerate and expand the capability of experimental optimisation that underpins scientific innovation.
“The project will establish Australia as a leader in innovation-led productivity in the fourth industrial revolution, which will include ground-breaking investigations into the use of pattern recognition to navigate complexity in the experimental process,” Professor Venkatesh said.
“This will transform the way experimentation is done, accelerating the development of new methods, products and processes.”
Disrupting current experimental methods, the new framework will use data-driven models to guide humans through experimental complexity. Expected outcomes include advancing the theory and practice of pattern recognition in Bayesian optimisation by solving both fundamental and translatory problems, totally transforming the way complex experimental explorations can be done. Using test cases in materials, researchers and manufacturers in diverse fields will be provided with new technologies and paradigms.
Led by Professor John Grundy, the ARC Research Hub for Digital Enhanced Living aims to address the growing challenges of aging people living in their own homes or residential care. It will focus on the invention of new personalised medical technologies through an innovative approach, with a multi-disciplinary team leveraging diverse expertise.
An enhanced capacity to create and deploy fit-for-purpose personalised health solutions will result in revenues from new and repurposed devices, analytics and integration platforms. New jobs and improved care will see cost reductions, better use of resources and enhanced mental, physical and social well-being.
Professor Tim Winter’s Future Fellowship project addresses China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, utilising the concept of heritage diplomacy to understand how history and culture are being used to advance 21st Century Silk Roads trade and diplomatic ties across Eurasia and the Indian Ocean Region.
This project, which has been awarded more than $1 million, expects to develop new knowledge about 21st Century diplomacy and the political economies of cultural heritage today.
Expected outcomes include collaborations with OBOR think tanks and universities in Australia, China, Europe and Central Asia, and an open-access mapping database, based on international heritage documentation standards. It will support Australian and heritage international agencies to understand the large-scale forces that shape the future of heritage conservation in the region.
Associate Professor Ly Tran’s Future Fellowship project aims to undertake a national investigation of Australian STEM students’ learning in and engagement with Asia through the New Colombo Plan and its effects on their identity formation, career directions and future aspirations.
Almost one in five Australian students undertakes learning abroad during their undergraduate study. Introduced in 2014 as Australia’s signature initiative of student mobility and public diplomacy, the New Colombo Plan has fundedover 10,000 Australian students to undertake learning abroad in the Indo- Pacific region by 2016.
Australia’s future is increasingly connected with Asia, with about 80 per cent of Australia’s trade and a majority of its biggest service export of over $22 billion, international education, within this region.
This project will provide essential empirical knowledge and theoretical insights linked with Australia’s needs to develop policies and practices to optimise Australian students’ learning in Asia. The intended outcome of the project is to enhance Australia’s human capital and relationships with Asia.
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ARC success for Deakin researchers: (from top) Prof Svetha Venkatesh, Prof John Grundy, Assoc Prof Ly Tran, Prof Tim Winter