Support for Deakin research networks

20 February 2018

The successful Stage 2 bids for funding under a Deakin scheme to encourage multi-disciplinary research teams have been announced.

Affordable homes and new technologies to help reverse biodiversity loss are the latest cross-disciplinary projects to receive funding under the Deakin University Research Network Scheme.

HOME, led by Associate Professor Richard Tucker from the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, and the Deakin EcoTech Network, led by Professor Don Driscoll, Director of the Centre for Integrative Ecology will each receive $100,000 to build their network.

The DU Research Network Scheme (formerly known as the DU Cross Collaboration Fund) was established to encourage and support multi-disciplinary Deakin research teams in harnessing their collective talents to tackle issues of national or international significance and impact.

Led by: Associate Professor Richard Tucker (Science, Engineering and Built Environment). Core team members: Dr Fiona Andrews (Health), Professor Louise Johnson (Arts and Education), Associate Professor Bill Dimovski (Business and Law)

Spanning health, the social sciences, business and the built environment, HOME addresses with local communities the failure of governments and industry to deliver affordable, well designed, sustainable and connected housing for all.

The network has already been approached by three different local councils for help in solving housing issues in their municipalities.

HOME plans to offer an agile and adaptable research approach that will provide evidence-based, community-tailored housing solutions.

“Poorly integrated and under-supplied affordable housing has had widespread, negative health and wellbeing impacts on communities across Australia,” Associate Professor Tucker said.

“Many people are excluded from the current system of provisioning housing and homes including low income earners, Indigenous Australians, women and children escaping family violence, many first-home buyers, those with mental ill-health and/or a disability, and the elderly.

“HOME will provide collaboratively-designed solutions addressing the specific needs of communities.”

Deakin EcoTech Network
Led by: Professor Don Driscoll (Science, Engineering and Built Environment).  Core team members: Dr Justin Lawson (Health), Professor Sean Redmond (Arts and Education), Professor Lingxue Kong (IFM), Professor Abbas Kouzani (SEBE Engineering), Professor Dinh Phung (A2I2), Dr Helen Scarborough (Business and Law), Professor Seng Loke (SEBE IT)

With accelerating loss of biodiversity around the world, the Deakin EcoTech network, in partnership with environmental agencies, NGOs and industry, aims to play a vital role in reversing biodiversity losses and improving links between people and nature.

The network brings together the expertise of 30 Deakin researchers from Life and Environmental Sciences, Engineering, IT, the Applied Artificial Intelligence  Institute (A2I2), the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), Arts and Education, Business and Law, and Health with a vision to generate a wildlife monitoring revolution that engages the community and has quantifiable environmental, health and economic benefits.

In 2018, EcoTech plans to develop artificial intelligence that automatically identifies wildlife from images recorded by purpose-built video-traps. Citizen scientists will apply the traps across landscapes to make discoveries about the distribution of species, their interactions with each other and the impact of the surrounding built environment.

"Our approach is to develop and apply new technologies for monitoring nature. Applications through citizen scientists will multiply the amount of data collected, while improving people's engagement with nature," Professor Driscoll said.

"We will then evaluate the health, economic and environmental benefits of this approach to provide critical policy guidance for NGOs and government. EcoTech is perfectly positioned to make game-changing advances in wildlife monitoring and engaging people with nature."

EcoTech has assembled a community of organisations, including eight government agencies and five NGOs who will work with the network to deliver the EcoTech approach.


By Deakin Research

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Research networks led by Professor Don Driscoll (top) and Professor Richard Tucker have received funding under the DU Research Network Scheme

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Research networks led by Professor Don Driscoll (top) and Professor Richard Tucker have received funding under the DU Research Network Scheme

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