Deakin researchers honoured

Dr Hamid Abdi seals green deal as University shines at awards dinner.

Craig Hill (left) presents Dr Hamid Abdi with his winner's cheque.
Craig Hill (left) presents Dr Hamid Abdi with his winner's cheque.

Deakin researchers featured prominently at the Smart Geelong Network Researcher of the Year Awards on October 26th.

Winners included Dr Hamid Abdi, a postdoctoral research fellow in Human Performance and Haptics working in the Centre for Intelligent System Research (CISR), one of the University's Strategic Research Centres.

Dr Abdi won the inaugural award for Best Entry to $50,000 IT Invention Test from a Deakin University representative for the project Green Deals for Short-Stay Accommodation.

This project is an integrated technology platform aimed at improve the energy efficiency of short stay accommodation including hotels.

This method will reduce the short stay accommodation business expenses as well as the accommodation expenses of low energy-consuming residents.

Other members of Dr Abdi's research team included Dr Vu Le and Professor Saeid Nahavanda, the director of CISR.

Dr Abdi was presented with a cheque for $4500 by the Geelong ICT Cluster's representative, Craig Hill.

Professor Svetha Venkatesh and her colleagues from another of the University's SRC's, PRaDA, were also successful on the night.

Professor Venkatesh won the Geelong Chamber of Commerce Smart Technology Award  for the development of an iPad app providing educational therapy aimed at social, language, sensory and cognitive skills for children with autism spectrum disorder.

The Karingal Living with a Disability Award went to Deakin's Helen Larkin for developing innovative teaching and learning practices with occupational therapy and architecture students.

The Deakin University Early Researcher Award was won by Dr Sharon Brennan for a study into the relationship between social disadvantage and musculoskeletal disease.

The Shell Geelong refinery biotechnology award went to Deakin PhD student Meagan Gillespie for research into pigeon "milk" in the poultry industry.

This year, the Researcher of the Year award was won by Johanna Dups of CSIRO for her project working on a model using mice to improve understanding of hendra and nipah viruses while aiming for the development of drugs to prevent or treat human infections.

Smart Geelong Network chairwoman Sue De Gilio said fields of high-calibre candidates had tested judges and highlighted Geelong's growing smart-city status.

"This is a real sign of the depth and important contribution Geelong makes to research not only nationally, but globally," she said.

"Looking at the big attractors of people at the moment, Deakin, Barwon Health, CSIRO, they are the big ones that have the research going on and they are attracting different sorts of people who will spend their money here and they do so for quite a long time."

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