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16/12/2008 Deakin hosts information security conference
8/12/2008 Scientist wins chemistry education award
2/12/2008 Wildlife returns to farms
22/10/2008 Faculty Alumni Cocktail party
20/10/2008 Hot Research Breakfast
14/10/2008 T2 gives Tim the ride of his life
10/10/2008 A Model Team effort
2/9/2008 Crunching numbers for fun
1/9/2008 35 years for Science and Tech trio
29/8/2008 Physiology lecturer wins teaching award
27/8/2008 Science student shaves head for charity
13/8/2008 Maggots, crabs and crazy ants
4/8/2008 25th International SAHANZ Conference
25/7/2008 Technology Showcase Project 729
16/7/2008 ExcITing Careers
19/5/2008 Sumo Robots Competition
9/5/2008 Civil Engineering – new in 2009!
2/5/2008 Student’s Engineering Career IGNITED
4/4/2008 Science and engineering challenge
28/3/2008 Wired Up Today - What About Tomorrow?
22/1/2008 Student helps save lives in East Timor
Information security experts from around the world gathered in Melbourne recently for the ASIACRYPT 2008 Conference hosted by Deakin. Organiser and chair Professor Lynn Batten (School of Engineering and IT) said this is the premier international conference on information security in the Asia-Pacific region.
Around 180 experts from leading universities and industries from around the world attended the four day event. Experts in cryptology and information security from over 20 countries were there to present and learn about advancements in the field.
The topics of the conference focused on ensuring that the world’s data can be sent safely by computer, whether to businesses, banks or governments. Professor Lynn Batten said Information Technology security is increasingly important in today’s technology-based workplace and hosting the conference is in line with the importance Deakin places on this work. The Faculty of Science and Technology has a research priority area in IT security and offers the only undergraduate course in IT security available in Victoria.
The next ASIACRYPT conference will be held in Tokyo next year.
Associate Professor Kieran Lim has been awarded the Australian chemistry profession's highest education prize. The Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) awarded Associate Professor Lim with the Division of Chemical Education Medal for 2008 at the RACI ChemEd08 Conference this week.
The medal is the highest national chemical education award of the RACI, and is given for excellence in chemical education in Australia. It is awarded for a combination of chemical education research, teaching, and promotion of chemistry.
In the medal citation, the RACI said Associate Professor Kieran Lim was known for his advocacy, development and research on the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in chemical education.
“His push to improve students’ generic written communication skills uses ICT as mainstream (taken-for-granted) tools and his Chemistry Style Manual is used as a teaching resource at many institutions within Australia and overseas,” the citation said.
"Kieran’s research on the use of ICT and development on various aspects of teaching and learning have resulted in 30 refereed papers in the areas of chemical education and university education.
"He has been active in the promotion of chemistry and chemistry education by organising and delivering professional development sessions for schoolteachers, and hands-on outreach activities for primary- and secondary-school students."
Engineering researchers Dr Abbas Kouzani and Alycia Lee have developed an automated system to improve the vital early detection of lung cancer—one of the most common cancers in Australia.
Lung disease, including cancer, is usually detected with the aid of CT (computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans. Interpreting the results of these tests can be challenging and may lead to false detections, but the new automated system evaluates CT scans with a higher level of accuracy.
“Recent studies show that radiologists can differ in their interpretation of nodules in one patient. Automated approaches can therefore help improve the precision of lung nodule detection and serve as a preliminary interpreter to assist radiologists.
While other automated methods have been developed over the years, the Deakin system has proved to be more accurate.
“The experimental results demonstrate that the system performs well. Our nodule detection rate is higher than that of the existing systems, and at the same time, our false detection rate is lower than that of those systems.”
The researchers have been working on this project for a year and a half and expect the system to be available for hospital trials by early next year.
Revegetation on farms in Victoria is bringing back wildlife, according to the findings of a three-year study by environmental research scientists. Dr Rohan Clarke and Associate Professor Andrew Bennett presented their research into ways to help native wildlife survive and prosper in farmland at the Ecological Society of Australia’s annual conference in Sydney last week.
When farms are revegetated, wildlife, such as frogs, native mammals and butterflies return, especially woodland birds. Many of the detected species were making use of the revegetation, supporting the notion that farm landscapes can provide important habitat opportunities for local wildlife.
“There is no doubt that birds that specialise in woodland habitats are in trouble, but revegetation is helping turn things around. The total amount of cover is the key driver for the recovery of woodland birds and any increase in the amount is of benefit,’’ Dr Clarke said.
The study, involving 43 farming areas in western Victoria, focused on ways to improve habitat for wildlife on working farms.
“It is not about bringing back the bush wholesale, rather it’s about improving opportunities for wildlife while maintaining farm productivity,’’ Dr Clarke said.
Dr Clarke said it was positive to see that there had been a lot of revegetation undertaken in the region, through the hard work of many individuals and various community schemes.
“When revegetation is undertaken the number of woodland bird species occupying these areas rebounds,” he said.
Master of Architecture student Marina Kozul returns from overseas travels as part of a cultural exchange and previously winning a national design competition. Her bridge design was the winning entry in the national competition open to all Australian Architecture universities and independent student designers. The Dialectical Bridge Student Design Competition was held as part of the recent Critical Visions 2008 National RAIA conference in Sydney.
The project originated as a university design assignment for Master of Architecture students at Deakin. Out of 40 bridge designs submitted, those by Marina Kozul and James Adams were chosen to go on and compete at the national Dialectical Bridge Student Bridge Design Competition.
Students were briefed to design a conceptual Pedestrian bridge addressing the ritual of crossing a river. Culturally the bridge would join two very different cities one called Nostalgia- a city of great heritage and tradition, and the other, Zeitgeist- a newer and faster city full of development and changing technologies.
Out of hundreds of entries, around twenty bridges were short listed and placed on exhibition during the conference. Of those exhibited, five bridge designs were critiqued by panel chair Architect Chris Wilkinson from London’s Wilkinson & Eyre and a panel of national and international architects, engineers and academics.
Marina’s design used the stair and the ramp as metaphors for rapid or slow progression from one point to the other, where neither mode dominates but rather the integrated structure required both so that balance and purpose is achieved. The dialectical bridge allows two minds to cross, and for two cultures to exist as one, even if for a moment in time.
Marina used her prize of a return flight to London as part of a wider European tour, visiting the UIA World Congress Transmitting Architecture in Torino and tour of the Wilkinson & Eyre UK and International design work.
As part of DeakinWeek, the Faculty Alumni Cocktail party was held at the RACV Club in Melbourne. Alumni members from each school in the Faculty mixed with members of staff.
rofessor of Property and Real Estate, Richard Reed, spoke about the relationship between sustainability and value for residential property in his talk 'Combating Climate Change: Is property and the built environment the missing link?'
“It is clear that sustainability has already been removed from the front page of the newspapers and replaced with the economic downturn…this has widespread implications for society’s perception about the importance of sustainability when compared to financial returns.
Professor Reed said from the perspective of the average homeowner, this turn in economic events means it will be less likely money will be spent on making their homes greener. From an investor point of view, the news for sustainability was also bad with people looking for short-term financial gains rather than long-term benefits. However he stressed that both investors and home-owners should remember that property does have value over the long-term.
Three leading Deakin researchers spoke about the global and local significance of their research at the Hot Research Breakfast Science Research Making a Difference, as part of DeakinWeek. Dr Daniel Ierodiaconou, Professor Saeid Nahavandi and Professor Andy Bennett presented their research findings to an audience of local industry members and Deakin staff.
Recent discoveries on Victoria’s sea floor have revealed previously unknown underwater gardens and submerged river systems and lagoons that would have supported aboriginal communities over 10,000 years ago. In his talk, Victoria beyond our shores: Understanding Victoria’s marine assets, Dr Ierodiaconou looked at their findings and how they will redefine resource assessment, conservation planning and improve fisheries management.
Researchers at Deakin have developed an innovative software platform – believed to be the first of its kind in the world – which allows for simulation of baggage handling systems and how they would cope with changes to airport security. Professor Saeid Nahavandi said in this era of heightened travel security, the new software was proving invaluable to airports around the globe. In his talk, Airport security: Hi-tech solutions for improved safety, he focused on modelling, simulation and analysis of airport operations providing greater understanding of airport security.
Do animals see more colours than humans? What explains the extraordinary diversity of colouration found in animals? Professor Andy Bennett leads an international team of scientists who have been studying parrots, in particular the Crimson Rosella, in a hunt for answers to these questions. Parrot colouration and colour vision, focused on ways of understanding these questions and on how colour diversity is maintained in natural populations, focusing on parrot species found in South Eastern Australia. Part of their work facilitates some predictions about how colouration and distribution should change with increasing climate change.
From Marshall to Michigan, it’s been a dream come true
There have been times in the past few months when Tim de Souza has had to pinch himself, sometimes to make sure it wasn’t all a dream, at other times just to keep himself awake.
“We did a lot of late nights, particularly towards the end of the project when we had to meet Ford’s deadline,” he sighed.
Not bad for a boy from Marshall, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
“We left Dearborn pretty confident in what we had achieved, but then there were all the nerve-wracking moments waiting for the final world.
“I must admit I did have to pinch myself when I saw Deakin’s name up there alongside Aachen’s as the two universities that would be showcased by Ford to see if I was dreaming.”
“We got the first phone call from a radio station in Hobart at 6am,” he said.
A broad range of people rose to the Challenge, says a thankful Dr Bernie Rolfe.
Deakin University’s win in the Ford Global Challenge was a model team effort, according to Project Leader Dr Bernard Rolfe.
“I was fortunate to receive a lot of excellent advice from Professor Kate Smith-Miles on how to go about managing a major project like this
" I and the rest of the group also benefited from some pep talks from Professor Peter Hodgson.
“My main thanks though must go to the core design team which included students from the School of Architecture and Building, the Centre for Material and Fibre Innovation (CMFI) and Intelligent Systems Research (ISR).
“In the end, this project happened because Tim de Souza, Stuart Hanafin and Greg Pitts put in the long hours.
“Special thanks, too, to Noel Miller, whose long involvement with Deakin and Ford proved invaluable.
“Noel organised committee meetings when I couldn’t be there and played a vital role in liaising with Angelo di Pietro from EngineAir.
In a spectacular win against international competitors, Deakin University’s answer to the Ford Global Challenge to design a Model-T for the 21st Century has been chosen as one of two designs showcased by Ford in Detroit last night. The vehicle, designed by a team led by Deakin engineering students, is labelled ‘T2’ (T-Squared).
T2 was described by Ford as 'pushing the boundaries and delivering an alternative transportation concept for tomorrow.' The win earned Deakin’s School of Engineering and Information Technology $30,000 (US$25,000) in scholarship funds from Ford.
Deakin University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sally Walker, congratulated the Deakin students and said that the win demonstrated how Deakin’s research is both innovative and relevant to the real world. 'This is a fantastic example of the capabilities and talents of Deakin’s students and the staff who support them; their collaborative efforts, under deadline pressure, produced a wonderful outcome that may influence the design of future vehicles. Our team more than met the Ford challenge to create an innovative vehicle concept for the future,' she said.
Dr Bernard Rolfe, the Deakin Project Leader, said that T2’s use of the latest research and technology has re-defined the idea of an inexpensive, innovative and sustainable car. 'Our design, developed by a cross-disciplinary team effort from across the University, has "plenty of bang for the buck". As well, T2 is a very green machine,' Dr Rolfe said. Ford called the design 'simple, lightweight, practical, compelling and low cost.'
Deakin University’s T2 runs on compressed air (with some compressed natural gas support for longer distance travel). It incorporates safety proven lightweight materials in which Deakin is an acknowledged world leader. With three wheels, it can turn 360° on itself, making inner city parking easy. The simplicity of the design means that it can be assembled at accredited Ford dealers, which was the original business model used by Ford Australia back in the early 1920s when the Model T was first launched in Australia. The key design points include:
Dr Rolfe said that there were many infrastructure related advantages of using compressed air. 'Compressed air requires less change to current infrastructure than other alternate sources,' he said. 'For example, hydrogen would require a large change to petrol stations and existing infrastructure to accommodate this new power source.'
Note: The other design showcased in Detroit was from Aachen University of Cologne, Germany.
Environmental science expert Dr Rohan Clarke has been involved in a major study of migratory birds moving from South-East Asia and Papua New Guinea to northern Australia, with the aim of tracking how disease spreads.
Dr Clarke has made several field trips to the Torres Strait to take samples from birds and study their migration patterns. He said this is the obvious pathway of any disease like bird flu moving into the country as Australian islands are situated just 3kms from the Papua New Guinea coastline.
“Clearly this border is the major bio-security threat for Australia and if anything is likely to come into country, this is the path the disease is likely to come through,’’ he said.
Dr Clarke’s research project is looking at rates and spread of avian malaria amongst birds in the region, with the aim of using this information to predict the way other diseases might travel throughout birds in Australia.
“Avian malaria is a common bird affliction. Although it is similar to human malaria it doesn’t affect people,’’ he said.
During several trips to the Torres Strait the research team has gathered 900 samples from different bird species, which will now be subject to molecular screening. However Dr Clarke said that blood-smears done on location show a high prevalence of malaria infection – about 30 per cent – making it an ideal study in disease transmission.
Dr Clarke said the Torres Strait is a major migration pathway for bush birds in Australia. “We are talking hundreds and thousands of birds moving back and forward across the strait each year.”
“We can use this information to see how bird diseases might move around different areas and it has implications for our understanding of how bird flu might spread.” said Dr Clarke.
Year 10 students from around Geelong and the Western District went head to head crunching numbers at Deakin’s Maths competition held at the Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds recently. Around 200 students attended the annual competition which saw them competing in a range of individual and group based activities throughout the day, designed to create interest in further pursuits of Mathematics.
Co-organiser Michelle Cyganowski said the event is an important way to change the perception that many students have of maths. “Sometimes students have the perception that people that do maths are a bit nerdy. The various contest activities show students different applications of maths and that it is possible to be creative and have fun with maths.”
The event also provides an opportunity to show students the variety of careers available from studying maths and encourages students to go on to study maths at tertiary level. “We hope to encourage the students to go on and study maths at University which can be taken as part of engineering and IT courses. It is important to get students excited about maths and consider future careers in this area as there are shortages of graduates with mathematical skills across a range of industries. Students often think that if they take maths the only option for them will be a career as an engineer or actuary. We show them maths is used in such a variety of jobs and that maths opens up so many opportunities for them.”
Having a wide range of schools participating in the competition provides an excellent opportunity for both students and teachers to get together and exchange ideas on the learning and teaching of mathematics. With Deakin hosting the competition, it also provides students with an opportunity to walk around the campus and see what a university looks like as many of the students have never been to a university before.
Three members of the Faculty of Science and Technology have been awarded a 35 Year Service Award - Sue Frances, Gary Franklin and Howard Greenhill.
Gary Franklin’s career at Deakin started as a Laboratory Technician in the School of Chemistry at the then Gordon Institute of Technology. He says over that time he has seen rapid changes in technology, especially in chemical analysis and instrumentation and computer based learning.
Howard Greenhill remembers being asked at his job interview if he intended on staying for at least the next three years. 35 years later Howard is now Senior Technical Officer IT for the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. Howard says these days all computerised equipment is bought off the shelf rather than being built from scratch. He has seen many changes during his time at Deakin. “It has never been the same; I have never been bored because things never stay the same. The people have been great. It has always been the people that have made my time here so interesting.”
Physiology lecturer Jan West has been awarded a citation for her outstanding contribution to student learning by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC). This citation recognises Jan's approach to providing students every opportunity to achieve and reach their academic potential through communication and fun, relevant interactive learning methods for physiology.
Jan says she strives to achieve interest and enthusiasm in Physiology by incorporating innovative approaches in lectures. “I take pride in preparing lectures that stimulate the student mind and applications to major physiological concepts are taught through relevant examples.”
Students actively participate in lectures from forming a Mexican wave, in which the students become a piece of nerve membrane, to blowing up balloons to demonstrate the workings of the heart.
Guest lecturer, Lexie the Cardigan Welsh Corgi, is always well received. “The students are not told who the guest is. Many are very surprised but delighted to be greeted by a canine speaker.” Lexie, who came to be because of frozen semen technology, is a novel way of applying what the students have learnt with human reproduction. “Students do a ‘meet and greet’ with Lexie after the lecture. This also puts a human touch to me their lecturer, it makes me more real, in that I am not just the face in front of the lectures but I too am an ordinary person with a love of dogs.”
Jan says she loves the interaction with students and her “Keeping In Touch” newsletters allow her to see what they go on to achieve after graduation. “You have to be interested in them as people, interested in what they do and think”.
“If students feel they belong to part of a team and know that their opinions count they are more likely to strive for the best possible outcome.”
The fine dining habits of pet cats are placing pressure on dwindling fish supplies that might be better used for human consumption, according to a Deakin University fish nutrition scientist.
Dr Giovanni Turchini (School of Life and Environmental Sciences), with colleague Professor Sena De Silva, has found that an estimated 2.48 million tonnes of forage fish—an increasingly limited biological resource—is used by the global cat food industry each year.
“That such a large amount of fish is used for the pet food industry is real eye opener,” Dr Turchini said.
“What is also interesting is that, in Australia, pet cats are eating an estimated 13.7 kilograms of fish a year which far exceeds the Australian average per capita fish and seafood consumption of around 11 kilograms. Our pets seem to be eating better than their owners.”
Wild forage fish, such as sardines, herring, anchovy and capelin, are an important link in the marine food chain, forming the diet for larger fish like tuna and swordfish. Overfishing of marine resources is a concern to conservationists and the fishing industry.
“While much of the criticism has been on the grounds that forage fish could be better used for human consumption directly, particularly amongst the poorer nations of the world, rather than in the production of food for farmed fish, little attention has been paid to the amount of forage fish used by the pet food industry,” Dr Turchini said.
These gourmet pet foods contain a significant amount of fish that may be suitable for direct human consumption, while different raw material unsuitable for human consumption, such as by-products of the fish filleting industry, could be used.”
Mathematics and Statistics lecturer Michelle Cyganowski has been awarded a citation for her outstanding contribution to student learning by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC). This citation recognises Michelle's efforts in inspiring students in mathematics and statistics through engaging teaching approaches that enhance their learning experience and outcomes.
It is an ongoing challenge to make the work seem interesting and relevant to students. Previous experience and practical knowledge help Michelle recognise and anticipate topics that provide the most trouble to students. “I always endeavour to explain the relevance of each topic to the course aims, students’ expectations and real life.” Having worked in the areas that she is teaching, Michelle includes practical examples in her teaching. “I give relevant personal accounts from my own research, maths teaching and previous work as a statistician. Students respond to these stories and can see applications of their studies.”
Michelle adapts her teaching methods to best suit the subject and group she is teaching. “Assessment tasks and class activities are designed to be stimulating, engaging and promote deep and independent learning. I always try to make maths and statistics as enjoyable as possible.”
Biomedical Science student Erin Naismith shaved her head recently as part of her efforts to raise money for the Cancer Council. What started out as a small fundraising idea turned into her organising an afternoon of family focused activities at the Glen Waverly Community Centre to raise funds for the charity.
Erin, who has always had long hair, said the decision to shave her hair off for charity was the culmination of a variety of reasons rather than being triggered by a single event. “I decided to do the head shave because you hear so many stories about people losing someone they love to cancer. I didn’t want to wait until I lost someone close to me before I did something about it, so I decided to do this now.”
Since the decision to go ahead with the head shave, Erin has learnt her grandfather has been diagnosed with a form of cancer, which has made her more proud and determined in her fundraising endeavour.
Erin said they received widespread support from the council who donated the venue, through to organisations who donated prizes and activities throughout the day. A mini market was set up, complete with trash and treasure stall; a DJ and Picco the Clown provided entertainment throughout the afternoon. BBQs were running and a gourmet cake stall kept the munchies at bay. A raffle with an assortment of prizes donated for the cause was drawn. Not to be overshadowed by the big event – Erin’s head shave – which she was brave enough to go ahead with!
Around 150 primary and secondary students from all over Victoria got to show off their robot building skills at the Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds recently – home to the annual RoboCup Junior Victoria State Finals 2008.
Students got to choose which challenge they wanted to compete in based on different levels of skill and interest. Their robots could dance, rescue or play soccer. Competing throughout the day were 58 teams from 17 schools.
School of Engineering and Information Technology Associate Professor Abbas Kouzani said building robots provided a fun and exciting introduction to engineering for the students:
“The competition is a project-oriented entertaining way for students to learn about robotics. They have learnt not only how to build a robot but more importantly explored what engineering is. This is a way for them to see how the subjects they have learnt like maths and science come together in engineering.”
The robots that students have produced for the RoboCup Junior competitions are programmed to move autonomously and interact with other robots using sensors. All of the robots have been designed by the students themselves. Participants have programmed their robots to dance to music. The Rescue competition mirrors the real life use of robots that rescue people from life-threatening situations. Soccer-playing robots sense the ball and other robots nearby, as they attempt to score goals.
“Through these activities students see that engineering is not too difficult, and it can be very enjoyable and rewarding.”
Abbas said the program was particularly important, given Australia’s skills shortage in the engineering industry, improving awareness and attractiveness of engineering.
RoboCup is now played in 30 countries around the world.
Volunteering is a great way of getting practical experience and an opportunity to ‘give something back’. Lucie Cutting has a strong history of community service and involvement with environmental volunteer work. Lucie says there are a range of volunteer opportunities for students wanting to get involved in the environmental field.
“You have to be very committed and have a passion for the type of volunteer work you are doing. It’s amazing how much time it takes up trying to do something good, you can’t view it as just a few hours a week. But if you can keep your interest in it alive it won’t feel like a burden.”
Lucie has worked with her local Alexandra Roots & Shoots, a youth program of Jane Goodall Institute aimed at positive change for communities, animals and environment and the Oaktree Foundation on their ‘End Child Slavery’ campaign. Her current project involves raising US$5,000 for the Nepalese Wildlife Centre for the construction of the first wildlife rehabilitation centre in Nepal. The project aims to raise funds to build a holding facility for a recently rescued leopard cub. This is the first project by the Global Youth Council for Wildlife Conservation (GYCWC), of which Lucie is a founding member. The GYCWC was formed at Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit earlier this year. Of the 100 participants from around the world, 29 formed this global network to continue to protect and conserve wildlife.
“The hands on practical experience opens up opportunities for employment and you build up a bit of a network of contacts in your chosen field. It also adds to your experiences in life that you need to have to understand what you want to do in the future as a career.”
There is a wealth of opportunities available to volunteer in environmental organisations. Lucie suggests joining a group or club for those unsure of volunteering alone, Deakin has an environment club. Participating in one day activities gives a good indication of time commitments required for voluntary work. Internships are available and various organisations offer environmental volunteer work. Earth Watch Institute’s environmental research and volunteering program gives tertiary students the chance to experience genuine field research. Fully funded places are sometimes available but students can cover costs as well. The Environmental Jobs Network website provides links to a wide range of environmental organisations looking for volunteers. Deakin’s Jobshop lists volunteer opportunities for students. Jobsites usually have a volunteer section as well.
Lucie is studying a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.
Tom Kelly has recently returned from this year’s Australia India Universities Youth Forum (AIUYF). Tom was one of 54 students from Australia and India brought together for this year’s forum. Sustainability was the theme for the two week program, designed to give attendees an increased knowledge of the key issues of sustainability, including sustainability leadership training.
A cruise around Sydney harbour marked the start of two weeks of interactive workshops, events and activities all focused around environmental sustainability. A three day leadership course equipped participants with the tools to become sustainability leaders in their own communities. During this workshop the AIUYF Protocol was born, the group’s sustainability action plan which was presented at the Australian Association for Environmental Education conference in Darwin.
One of the highlights of the trip for Tom was visiting the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. “The ANU has undertaken numerous community projects to create awareness of environmental issues and promote student involvement in green programs. They have a well maintained organic vegetable garden tended by students, giving them an opportunity to have hands on experience in sustainability,” says Tom.
Attendees also got to experience some great sites, including a tour of the Blue Mountains and a three day eco tour of outback Australia. “As well as visiting Uluru, Kings Canyon and cattle stations, we explored fossil sites and even managed to fit in a game of outback cricket! Sleeping in swags under the stars was a unique experience for many of the Indian and Australian students.”
One of the aims of the forum was to create national and international networks between students from a variety of academic and cultural backgrounds. “Many long lasting friendships and networks were formed between students and universities both around Australia and internationally. It will be interesting to see how this network we have formed will enable the AIUYF participants to instigate change and awareness in our own communities and universities,” says Tom.
Tom is a third year Environmental Science (Environment Management) student.
On cold, damp winter’s days in Victoria, there would be plenty of people all over the state whose minds would wander to warm, tropical paradises.
Few though have the undeniable excuse to take that mental holiday available to Deakin University’s Dr Stuart Linton.
A lecturer and researcher in the School of Life and Environmental Science, Dr Linton has been working to help ensure a better understanding - even the survival - of Christmas Island’s fabled terrestrial red crab, a.k.a. Gecarcoidea natalis.
Famous for its annual breeding migration and unique for the way it digests its food, in recent times the crab has fallen prey to an introduced species from Africa, the Yellow crazy ant. The newcomer is believed to have already killed 20 million of the island’s estimated population of 120 million red crabs.
“I have been working with Australia Parks, testing something that we hoped would kill the crazy ant, but not do any harm to the crab,” Dr Linton said.
“Unfortunately, my research so far reveals that the proposed substance would harm both, so the search goes on.”
Finding a way to curb the Yellow crazy ant is not the only research Dr Linton is doing involving the red crab whose breeding migration ritual annually turns parts of Christmas Island into a vast, moving red carpet.
He is keen to learn more about the unique digestive system that allows the crabs to extract nutrition from fallen leaf matter.
Deakin University is to honour one its finest researchers, Professor Neil Archbold, with the establishment of a new travel award and medal. “Professor Archbold was not just a wonderful researcher, he was universally loved,” said the Executive Officer Higher Degrees by Research, Grant Michie.
His death in 2005 was a tremendous loss for Deakin and for his many, many friends around the world. This travel award and medal will keep his name alive. It will also do something that Neil himself would have applauded, providing support to young researchers. Neil was actively involved in all facets of research and research training at Deakin.
He was Professor and Personal Chair in Palaeontology at the School of Ecology and Environment and the coordinator of Earth Sciences at Deakin University. He was the author of 160 scholarly publications, was awarded Australian Research Council grants of over $1m and was a long-standing member of the Royal Society of Victoria and that body’s president from 2001 to 2004. From 2003 until his death in 2005, he was the Chair of the University’s Higher Degrees by Research Committee.
The School of Architecture and Building recently hosted the 25th international SAHANZ (Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand) conference at the Waterfront Campus. Delegates from Australia, New Zealand and the globe attended this milestone conference in the history of the Society.
Co-convenors Ursula de Jong and David Beynon, School of Architecture and Building, said it was a privilege for Deakin to host this year’s conference, History in Practice, which explored the connections between architectural history and architectural practice.
Ursula de Jong, also one of the founding members of SAHANZ, says the speakers considered the relationship between critique and intervention, and the links between analysis and creation that lie at the complex intersections of architecture and the writing about architecture.
“They critiqued the practices of architectural history and theory, analysing the gaps, connections and contentions between them and the ongoing history of architectural practice. These relationships were further framed in terms of exchanges between: old and new; local and global; history and technology; conceptual and visual; centre and periphery; memory and evidence.”
SAHANZ provides a forum for the open discussion of architectural history and historiography of the region and setting from which to reflect on the status of the architecture, landscape and cities of Australia and New Zealand in the wider world. Throughout the last quarter century there has been an evolution of the discipline reflected within the society:
“When we started our work was ‘simple’. We focused on gathering information, documenting our architectural history, establishing an archive of architectural knowledge. Over time that has evolved, as we reflect on and interpret that information, as we begin to explore who we are and how we connect to place; how we understand our place, and consider it within the wider regional context of the Pacific and South East Asia,” says Dr de Jong.
The Geelong Technology Precinct (GTP) was recently host to over 150 students as part of the Technology Showcase Project 729. Project 729 is an initiative created by the Smart Geelong Region Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) to prepare young people for work in the manufacturing industry, to readdress the skills shortage in this sector.
Although the focus is originally on manufacturing, students are shown skills that can be easily transferred to other industries, such as transport and logistics. By getting students involved in a range of activities they get a feel for the range of skills involved and the diverse career options available to them in engineering. Students were taken on a tour of the GTP and activity stations were set up showcasing electron microscopy, haptics, wine science, carbon fibre mechanical testing and other facilities housed there.
Jamie McKinnon and Margaret Walker, Project Officers at SGRLLEN, said year 7 to 9 students were deliberately targeted to raise the awareness of opportunities available in industry and to get students thinking about careers in this sector earlier.
“Perceptions about the industry need to be changed not only by students but parents and teachers as well. Students need to make sure they are equipped with the right skills before they make their career choices and make these choices earlier. For example, a student would need to have taken the appropriate maths stream throughout school to ensure they could get into their chosen university engineering course, it would be too late by Year 10 to make this decision” Jamie said.
Dr Bronwyn Fox says she was thrilled to be involved in this event, particularly as she was a late convert to engineering. “If someone had explained to me
The showcase was held over three days between three different venues, depending on the particular interest of the students. The GTP was host to students who had expressed an interest in going on to complete tertiary study, those with an interest in trade engineering attended Gordon Institute of TAFE and the Ford Discovery Centre displayed a range of new technologies. Over 430 students attended. It was the first time the event has been held and there are plans to make it an annual event, with the potential to increase the frequency in the future.
As part of ICT careers week, students are invited to ExcITing Careers which will be held on Wednesday 30 July between 12-2pm at the Melbourne Campus at Burwood. This event will showcase some of the ExcITing careers available to IT professionals. Students will have the opportunity to get first hand advice about careers in IT from industry experts and find out about graduate recruitment opportunities available.
Industry presentations will provide snap shots of some ExcITing careers. Delloite Consulting will be presenting ‘The life of an IT Consultant’. ‘Working in an in-house IT service provider’ will be the topic of discussion by Telstra and ‘The business of IT project management’ will be explained by Terra-firma.
Students will be able to ask IT professionals about the range of ExcITIng careers available to IT graduates and graduate recruitment in IT.
Lunch will be provided, following the presentations.
Date: Wednesday 30 July
For further information and to RSVP please contact:
The Faculty of Science and Technology held the Industry Based Learning (IBL) Professional Development Program in Geelong recently. This program aims to prepare high achieving students for industry placements and graduate roles. Over forty students representing a diverse range of degrees across the Faculty participated in the workshops.
The two days of workshops were run by external consultants. The first day focused on skills integral for fitting into the workplace, where students learnt about how different people approach work, time management, team work and business communication. The focus of the second day was preparing students for graduate recruitment and career planning.
Bachelor of IT student Aaron Spence will take the skills he has learnt from the workshops into the IBL placement he starts next week. “I have learnt skills that will last for my lifetime, like time management and workplace practices. I have learnt a lot about how to conduct myself in the workplace and in business.”
Showcasing the talented students and giving them an opportunity to put their newly acquired skills into practice, an industry partnerships lunch was held on the second day. This provided a great informal platform for students to interact and network with nearly fifty industry representatives from the Faculty’s industry partners.
Joe Adamski, Executive Manager Strategy and Technology Barwon Water, said the students came across as being very confident and well aware of the benefits of fitting an industry placement into their course. “Students get to see opportunities that do exist for them. Companies get to meet students as well. Students have shown that they all have great prospects and are very talented.”
Lucie Cutting recently returned from a life-changing five-day trip to Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA. Lucie was one of 100 youth from six continents and 28 countries brought together to attend world-renowned primatologist, Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit. The first annual event, which took place at Walt Disney World Resort®, mobilised the young leaders to address the critical issues facing the planet. At the Summit’s end, the attendees headed home with a commitment to make positive change happen and the hope that – together – they can make the world a better place.
Lucie was hand-picked by Dr Goodall, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and partner organisations to take part in the all-expenses-paid, first-of-its-kind event. All attendees shared a strong history of community service and demonstrated leadership qualities. Lucie had worked with her local Alexandra Roots & Shoots (youth program of JGI aimed at positive change for communities, animals and environment) group in helping to organise part of Dr Goodall’s visit to Australia in 2006 and is currently working with the Oaktree Foundation on their ‘End Child Slavery’ campaign.
Attendees shared cross-cultural ideas, strengthened their leadership skills and created messages through digital media. They identified key issues and developed self-led workshops and discussions to tackle the topics that concerned them. They decided what they wanted to focus on whether it be species conservation, conflict resolution or some other pressing issue.
Each of these young leaders left the Summit equipped with a “toolbox for changing the world” and individual action plans for protecting the future. Over the next year, they will work to implement their plans within their communities.
Lucie’s action plan entails raising urgently needed funds for projects which support wildlife and the conservation of their habitats through the foundation of a Global Youth Council for Wildlife Conservation with 29 of her fellow participants from over a dozen countries. Projects chosen for fundraising have to demonstrate a high level of commitment and involvement to the local community in which they are located.
Dr Goodall found the Summit stimulating and moving. “I know I speak for everyone involved when I say we left the Summit energized, inspired and filled with a new hope for the future and new ideas for encouraging others to bring about a more peaceful world,” said Dr Goodall.
Lucie is studying a double degree, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.
Students from the Computer Crime and Digital Forensics course have recently completed a Linux competition to get practical experience in digital forensics. The competition was open to all 150 students in the class, across Melbourne, Geelong and off campus.
Lecturer Lei Pan says the competition was designed to stimulate students’ interest in developing Linux-based forensic platforms.
“Students who participate in this competition will gain hands-on skills on Linux platforms and great experience in digital forensics.”
He explains that Linux is used more widely for digital forensics because there are many free open-sourced packages (freely available on the web) and the flexibility of combining many developed ICT research projects.
“With the steady growth of Linux systems, digital forensic investigators have developed many self-bootable Linux systems for forensic purposes. These Linux systems are hardware-friendly and packed in a single CD so that they are used to boot up PCs used by a cyber-crime suspect,” says Dr Pan.
The challenge for students was to learn Linux system in a limited time. They were given 5-6 weeks to complete the project and had to continue with their normal coursework at the same time. Lei Pan was impressed with the energy and enthusiasm shown by students undertaking this project, even though it was not compulsory for them to participate.
The winners of the competition are Michael Bond, Fabian Schmidt, Matthias Trojahn (first prize) and Burak Hoban (second prize).
A breathtaking array of marine life on Victoria’s seafloor has been discovered off Victoria’s Surf Coast by Deakin University scientists. The discovery includes previously unknown ‘gardens’ of magnificently coloured sponges, seaweed forests and seagrass meadows, and submerged river systems and lagoons that would have supported Aboriginal communities over 10,000 years ago.
The findings were captivating and would redefine the way the Victorian’s see their marine environment, according to Dr Daniel Ierodiaconou, Deakin researcher and the principal scientist overseeing the project. "For the first time we have an accurate and comprehensive picture of life and the diversity of marine habitats along the Surf Coast, including hotspots for marine plants and animal communities,” Dr Ierodiaconou said.
“The findings also present a picture of what our region looked like prior to sea-level rise that occurred 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. “These results will redefine conservation planning, improve fisheries management, and improve infrastructure planning to limit impacts on the environment. More than ever before we will be better informed about ways to conserve these areas and the life they contain for future generations to enjoy.”
The research project, which received $700,000 funding from the Australian Government, mapped seafloor habitats from Anglesea to the 12 Apostles - a massive 600,000 hectares of the State’s coastal waters. Research was done by sonar technology, towed video cameras and remotely operated vehicles.
A joint initiative of Deakin University, Fugro Survey P/L, the Australian Maritime College and the Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing, the work forms part of an ambitious undertaking to eventually map all of Victoria’s marine environment. Victoria's marine environment is home to an estimated 12,000 plants and animals, the vast majority of which are unique to the waters of southern Australia.
“The significance of this work is immense,” Dr Ierodiaconou said. “For some areas, this is the first information that has been obtained since Matthews Flinders took depth readings from his boat, the Investigator, in 1803.”
Deakin University has been selected by Ford Motor Company to design a revolutionary concept vehicle to drive the future of the automotive industry. Deakin is one of five universities worldwide, and the only Australian university, selected to take part in the ‘Creating a Ford Model T for this Century University Challenge’.
The Challenge is to design a simple, practical, light-weight, innovatively sustainable vehicle for the non-traditional consumer that would revolutionise the automotive industry and society in a similar way to the original Model T Ford.
Deakin’s concept proposal will be delivered to Ford in early September. The two concepts that best meet the Challenge criteria will be announced at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Model T on 1 October. The winning teams will each receive a US$25,000 scholarship from Ford Global Technologies.
The Head of Deakin’s School of Engineering and Information Technology, Professor Kate Smith-Miles, said that Deakin’s involvement in the Challenge was a fantastic opportunity for the University. ‘It is a great honour that Ford has selected Deakin to be the only Australian university to be involved in the Model T Challenge,’ Professor Smith-Miles said. ‘Taking part in the Challenge will allow Deakin to showcase the innovation and skills of our Engineering and IT researchers and students to an international audience. ‘Our invitation is recognition of the long standing partnership between Deakin University and Ford, both locally and in the USA via collaborative research and development programs, and also through the provision of undergraduate and postgraduate programs to the employees of Ford Australia.’
The Challenge will be pursued by staff and students from Deakin’s School of Engineering and Information Technology, School of Architecture and Building, and Centre for Materials and Fibre Innovation. The Deakin team will have four months and US$75,000 in funding from Ford Global Technologies to design a revolutionary vehicle that redefines the modern day car through innovation and sustainability.
Dr Bernard Rolfe, the team leader and senior lecturer with Deakin’s School of Engineering and Information Technology, said the vehicle must be simple, lightweight, compelling and practical and be able to be sold for under US$7,000. ‘Rather than being just an engineering challenge, this task will require innovative ideas drawn from a variety of sources throughout the University,’
Dr Rolfe said. ‘Using our cutting edge research at the Centre for Materials and Fibre Innovation (CMFI), as well as drawing on the diverse skill sets throughout the University, we aim to deliver a concept portfolio including a virtual vehicle model and detailed design/proof of concept for the key innovative features of the vehicle. ‘We expect to use the very best that Deakin can show, from the state-of-the-art manufacturing at the CMFI, and the fabulous design spaces at Architecture, to the advanced multi-media lab within Arts.’
Weighing in at less than 1kg and spanning just 20cm, these machines may not be the size of your average sumo but they are serious players in robot sumo. Deakin’s fourth year Mechatronics and Robotics students will set their creations against one another at the annual sumo robotics competition on 30th May.
The student’s robots have been built during the semester to strict specifications; they must weigh-in at less than 1kg, be less than 20cm x 20cm x 30 cm (height) and cost less than $150 to build.
During the event the robots are placed on a sumo wrestling-style platform from which they attempt to push each other off, without falling off themselves.
Faculty of Science and Technology lecturer Ross De Rango says the success of the robots depends on a range of factors:
“They need to be able to sense each other and follow each other’s movements, have the strength to push each other around, and be able to detect the edge of the arena,” he said. “They must also be completely autonomous.”
The sumo challenge is a way for students to draw together all of the skills they have acquired during their course in a practical manner. “These skills range from engineering specific disciplines, such as mechanical design, electronic design and programming, through to broader industrially relevant skills such as project budgeting, time management, progress reporting and project commissioning,” says Mr De Rango.
Spectators are welcome to come and support their favourite robot at the KD Stewart Centre, 10am – 1pm, Friday 30th May.
The Faculty of Science and Technology welcomed Professor Brian McGaw to his new role as Dean of the Faculty early this month.
“I am delighted to join this progressive and ambitious University and to have the opportunity to work with my colleagues and our students to create an enabling environment for the achievement of our personal and institutional goals,” he said.
Professor McGaw comes to Deakin from the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, where he was Dean of the Faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences for the last 5 years. Previously, he was Head of Department of Biological and Food Sciences and prior to Lincoln University, his extensive experience included appointments at the Robert Gordon University, the Rowett Research Institute, The University of Wales, Aberystwyth and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Although he has only been in his new position for a few days, Professor McGaw is looking to the future of the Faculty:
“My ambition is for the Faculty to build on its existing reputation for high quality teaching and research and to contribute fully to the achievement of Deakin’s missions and core commitments. I want Deakin to be recognised as the University that enables students and staff to achieve their ambitions and their full potential within an enjoyable, supportive and challenging environment,” he said.
Professor McGaw is a distinguished scientist who holds a Chair of Biological Chemistry. He is a member of the Institute of Biology, the Science Council and the British Mass Spectrometry Society; he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has worked in diverse areas of scientific research.
Professor McGaw visited Deakin on two previous occasions before starting his post. Although he has experience working in a number of Universities, he says he has been struck by the open and supportive nature of his new colleagues:
“As recent immigrants to Australia, my wife and I have been very touched by the warmth of our welcome,” he said.
Civil Engineering will be offered from 2009 at the Geelong campus at Waurn Ponds and in off-campus mode. Engineering students at Deakin undertake common subjects in the first year of their four year course, before they choose to specialise in Civil, Electronics, Mechatronics and Robotics or Mechanical Engineering.
Civil Engineering at Deakin combines the broad range of civil engineering disciplines including materials science and engineering, structural engineering, water engineering, geotechnical engineering and transport engineering. This new major is designed to provide students with practical industry knowledge in the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure facilities such as roads, railways, water supply systems, buildings and facilities.
Students will conduct numerous site visits and field trips, to gain practical hands-on experience and real industry knowledge. Geelong is experiencing rapid growth and expansion and will continue to do so for at least the next decade. This course is based in the hub of this rapidly growing region - in terms of population and infrastructure. Deakin has strong links with industry which enable students to gain valuable work experience and industry-based learning. Students will utilise existing facilities in the region available among industry partners, in the areas of soil testing, concrete technology and road construction.
Graduates can expect to gain employment in a wide range of organisations such as construction companies, water authorities, local government bodies, public works departments and as consulting engineers.
Zoe Hill and Matthew Quittner have gained places in the Science and Technology Dean’s Scholars Program, recognised at the annual Faculty of Science and Technology Student Excellence Awards at Deakin University’s Melbourne Campus at Burwood on Tuesday 29th April.
Zoe was awarded a Dean’s Scholarship after achieving an ENTER of 96.65 in her final year at Tintern Girls Grammar and gaining admission to the Bachelor of IT (Games Development & Design). Matthew achieved an ENTER of 96.25 in his final year at The Knox School and is studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science.
As Dean’s Scholars they receive academic mentoring, $5,000 annually and the opportunity to include an industry-based learning placement as part of their degree.
Both students agree the scholarship gives them a head start in their careers, giving them an upper hand when they graduate.
At school Zoe had additional workload due to undertaking the International Baccalaureate program:
“I had to put a lot more work in. With more exams and essays I had to stay on top of everything. When my friends were going out I was at home studying. I knew it would be worth it, I knew I would be better off for it at the end. You get one chance at high school so I knuckled down.”
The hard work is paying off with Zoe studying an area she is passionate about. In the future Zoe plans to be involved in the industry-based learning program, getting hands on experience and making contacts. She would like to focus on concept design for either a games or animation company.
Matthew’s advice to students is that high grades are more than achievable:
“I made the most of my time. I have always been good at organising things and found by managing my time I did not have to sacrifice much at all. I got a
“I had no idea I would get 96, it really is possible to achieve if anyone is going to work hard. I applied myself to every subject, so all my scores were quite even which made for a high overall mark,” he said.
Matthew has a keen interest in sport which, combined with his aptitude for science, was a key factor in his study choice. He plans to undertake post graduate work, probably in some area of sports medicine.
The Dean’s Scholars Program was set up to attract high-achieving students to Science and Technology courses at Deakin University,” Associate Professor Mather said.
Nevenka Ilicic has been awarded the IGNITED – Initiative for a Girls’ Network in Information Technology & Engineering @ Deakin – scholarship at the annual Faculty of Science and Technology Student Excellence Awards at Deakin University’s Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds on Thursday 1st May.
Nevenka was awarded the scholarship after achieving an ENTER of 86.8 in her final year at Clonard College in Geelong West. She is studying a double degree, Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce at Deakin University. She receives a $10,000 scholarship and academic mentoring.
Whilst Nevenka is only in her first year of studies, she is looking to combine all her skills in her future career:
“I have been to a few presentations about management and this is an area I am interested in working in. I would like to have a role in management in the field of engineering. I’m not sure if there are many girls in these roles, but this is something I am interested in,” she said.
The program aims to redress an imbalance in the number of males and females in the industries. In Australia, women currently account for less than 25% of IT graduates and less than 15% of engineering graduates. Through the IGNITED program, Deakin aims to attract more top women students to these courses.
Engineering and IT Head of School Professor Kate Smith-Miles said the industries are facing a serious shortage of women:
“It is really critical that we encourage more high achieving female students to consider Engineering and IT degrees. Women represent 50% of the population, and given the growing skills shortages in these industries, we cannot continue to have women so under-represented in the workforce,’’ says Professor Smith-Miles.
“The interesting thing is that when women do embark on careers in engineering and IT, they are usually very successful, working their way into management roles very quickly. This is possibly due to the extra non-technical skills that women are often very good at, such as communication, team work, relationship building, project management,” she said.
Bianca Anderson has been awarded the Alcoa Future Leaders of Industry Engineering Award. She received the scholarship at the annual Faculty of Science and Technology Student Excellence Awards at Deakin University’s Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds on Thursday 1st May.
Alcoa Future Leaders of Industry Engineering Scholarships target engineering students enrolled in disciplines that are critical to maintaining and growing a world class manufacturing capacity in regional Victoria. Bianca was awarded the scholarship as a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) student who demonstrates a high level of academic achievement, possesses a high level of communication, team and interpersonal skills.
Under the scholarship Bianca is awarded $7,000 to go towards her fourth year academic tuition. She also receives 12 weeks paid work experience at one of Alcoa’s sites in Victoria.
Currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Engineering, Bianca will be commencing her work experience at Alcoa in late November during semester break. Although it has not been determined at which site she will be working, Bianca is looking forward to the hands on experience:
“I will get to work in a variety of fields, across a number of different projects. I will be working alongside professionals and have some small projects assigned individually. It gives me the opportunity to learn about different aspects of engineering and gain an understanding of engineering principles in practice. I get the chance to have a taste of everything,” she said.
As well as the practical experience she will gain, Bianca is also looking forward to the working relationships she will form and future possibilities that will open up as a result.
Engineering and IT Head of School Professor Kate Smith-Miles says the scholarship provides an excellent platform for practical experience:
“The twelve week work placement at Alcoa is a great opportunity for students to apply the knowledge they have learnt at University directly in the field in a practical manner. Students gain a broad understanding of engineering practices and acquire other skills while undertaking graduate level work.”
“Students are exposed to a variety of opportunities, creating an awareness of different career paths open to them and what future careers in engineering may entail for them individually.”
“Through closely working and interacting with colleagues, informal networks are established which is a great way for students to build contacts and strengthen ties with industry,” said Professor Smith-Miles.
Hard work and excellence was rewarded at the School of Architecture and Building Opening Night at Deakin University. The awards, held at the Waterfront Campus on Tuesday 1st April, provided a platform for students to showcase their work in front of their peers, industry experts and the community as a whole.
“In addition to recognising outstanding achievements, this evening is also an opportunity for everyone to see first hand the talent that graduating students will be bringing to the world of building,” said Professor Des Smith – Chair in Architecture.
There were numerous coveted awards up for grabs with monetary and practical industry prizes attached.
The outstanding graduate student that successfully achieved a balance between design excellence and construction and practice excellence was awarded the RAIA McGlashan Everist Graduation Prize in Architecture. This year the recipient of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) accolade was Eugenia Tan who received one year’s employment at McGlashan Everist in addition to $2,500 prize money.
For excellence in the final year design unit in the Architecture degree, the Peddle Thorpe (architects) Award, with $5,000 attached with it, went to Mat George, Hideto Chijiwa, Siang Choon Foo, Daniel Gibbs, Teuta Jerliu, Amanda Rippon and Eugenia Tan.
First year students were also acknowledged with the offering of the Peddle Thorpe Scholarship awarded to the student with the highest ENTER score, as well as $1,000 prize money. This year’s recipient of the award was Alice Turnbull.
Other award winners were:
It’s not every day you get to build a giant catapult and not get in to trouble for firing it! Year 10 students from the Geelong region and Warrnambool are taking part in this year’s Engineering and Science challenge that will see them design, create and build a variety of projects. The challenge is to be held at Deakin University, Waurn Ponds Campus on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd April.
Around 400 students from schools around the region will have the chance to participate in a range of activities showing them that science is anything but dull. Over two days, they will be actively involved in a range of activities from building bridges, solving a virtual maze to constructing and firing a catapult. There is a combination of full day and half day activities. The action packed Challenge gives students an insight into the principles involved in science, engineering and technology.
School of Engineering and Information Technology Head of School Professor Kate Smith-Miles said the event aimed to generate enthusiasm for science and engineering to redress skills shortages in the industries.
“Without enough engineering graduates coming out of universities, our society will struggle to meet the demands we place on it - demands for solutions to our water crisis, to improved roads and transportation, to improved efficiency of manufacturing, to better design of products and technologies,” she said.
“With severe skills shortages growing in engineering, it is critical that we encourage school students to consider studying engineering at university.”
“Part of the problem in attracting students to study Engineering is that many students don't know what it is. There is no such subject as VCE Engineering. The Science and Engineering Challenge is a great forum for students to get exposed to the field of engineering and appreciate how important the problems that engineers solve are to our society,” she said.
The challenge is held across Australia and at the end of the year the top eight schools battle it out in the Grand Challenge Gold final.
The Science and Engineering Challenge was first held at the University of Newcastle eight years ago to introduce students to the possibilities of science and engineering. The Geelong event is held in partnership between Deakin University, Rotary club of Queenscliff and regional secondary schools. This year’s main sponsor is the Victorian Regional Channels Authority (VRCA). Based in Geelong, the VRCA oversees the operation of channels and port waters. Providing safe marine services to the regional commercial ports of Geelong, Hastings and Portland, which outside of Melbourne are the largest in Victoria and amongst the busiest in Australia.
Further information can be found on the Science and Engineering Challenge website
The action packed Science and Engineering Challenge gives students an insight into the principles involved in science, engineering and technology.
Two of the most popular activities are the War Machine for Austium (catapult) and Gold Rush Fever (bridge building). Both the bridge and the catapult projects get the students thinking about the engineering design process of: design, build, test and redesign. Students are allocated a task with design budget and time constraints, similar to what they would find in the real world. The difference is the students have to solve the problem with pieces of string, balsa wood, tape and rubber bands. They then spend several hours designing and building a catapult to fire a tennis ball at a target or build their bridge to withstand a series of weights.
Chris Hurren, Technical Services Manager for the Centre for Material and Fibre Innovation, has been involved in running the catapult since the start of Deakin’s involvement in this event:
“These activities teach students the principles of physics and design. They learn about good engineering structures, such as triangles, squares, forces and momentum. It also draws on student’s problem solving skills and creativity. They fire off the catapult once then take it back for a total redesign and rebuild. It is great to see the thought process and problem solving that has gone into the rework when they come back out and fire it off again,” says Mr Hurren.
“The challenges are about team building and getting students to work within a team. At the end of the day the winning team is one that works well together and has the best building skills.”
“It is important that all of the students also take some knowledge away with them at the end of the challenge. It is not just the act of having built something but rather that they have learnt how to build structures adhering to engineering principles.”
“The thought of firing a catapult or destructing a bridge seems to awaken the engineer and scientist within the most unsuspecting of subjects. I can’t help myself and generally build at least one catapult per year so that I can get involved in the thrill of the final firing,” he said.
The Science and Engineering Challenge will be held at Deakin University, Waurn Ponds Campus on Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd April.
New and young engineers are getting the highest pay rate rises. According to a survey released by Engineers Australia recently, starting salaries on average increased 13.3% for 2007. The highest increases were for graduates and for those starting out in the industry. Engineers with between 4 to 10 years experience saw a 10.7% increase in salaries.
Simon Cavenett, Director of Professional Practice (Engineering), says this is great news for students with starting salaries rising higher than inflation.
“Graduate starting salaries are increasing treble the rate of inflation. There is a shortage of between 20,000 to 28,000 professional engineers in Australia. This is creating a very strong demand for engineers and making it a very attractive market for graduates,” says Mr Cavenett.
“Only 8,000 students graduate nationally. There is such a backlog of demand for engineers across all streams, that even if there was a down turn in the economy demand for engineers wont evaporate because of all the concerns facing society. The demand for engineers is fuelled by multiple issues,” explains Mr Cavenett.
“The impact of engineering to society is significant. Engineers have a flow on effect to society in general. If resources are not available the implications are critical. A large amount of demand for engineers is driven by climate change and other large scale issues, such as water management, environmental sustainability and urban growth. Such issues are solved by engineers. It is engineers that implement major infrastructure projects, like building dams, water pipelining, creating housing and transportation solutions. If there are not enough engineers, the consequences are dire. Infrastructure delays due to a lack of professional engineers. Some areas, particularly water management, are going to hit crises point due to skills shortage,” says Mr Cavenett.
With underlying demand for professional engineers continuing to increase, it is a good time to be studying engineering and graduating. Engineering graduates can be selective about the type of employer and location they want to work for.
Mr Cavenett says with the current market, it is essential that students consider the implications when choosing a University and career.
“When students are selecting Universities to attend, they must consider what their career goal is. They need to be graduating with the right skills and abilities that employers want.
“It is very different today than twenty years ago. Then it was expected by employers that it would take two years to get a graduate up to the expected level of productivity. These days the expectation is that graduates will hit the ground running and be producing results within 6 months. These demands by industry are passed on to the University, as an institution we need to produce graduates that employers can get to reasonable productivity levels quickly. Our graduates need to be fully equipped and ready to go,” says Mr Cavenett.
Gen Y is tech savvy, wired up, proficient with interactive technology that looks after all their needs and is instantaneous. They know what they want and they want it right now – but what about tomorrow?
Guy Wood-Bradley (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) student within the School of Engineering & Information Technology) has just completed his PhD on interactive technologies used by Gen Y and whilst it confirms the long held belief of just how wired up Generation Y is, their ability to predict the next wave of technologies is not so advanced.
Guy says he focused on Gen Y as the using group for his thesis due to the familiarity and relationship they have with technology. Also the importance Gen Y place on technology and the dominant role it plays in their day to day lives.
Gen Y has a lot of choice when it comes to technology. In this fast paced environment interactive technology has to be instantaneous and immediate:
“We want an answer right now, we don’t want to wait,” says Guy. This applies to sourcing information, entertainment and communication.
Interactive technologies have to follow the “3 E’s” to be adopted by Gen Y. It has to be Engaging, Enriching and Entertaining explains Guy:
“They have to be connecting with it and it needs to fulfil an individual goal. TV is a ‘laid back’ approach, you lean back and watch it, you don’t get too involved. When you add an interactive element it becomes ‘lean forward’, for instance a user actively interacting with a computer in completing tasks and achieving goals. So TV could traditionally be classed as a ‘leaning back’ technology, but the advent of iTV (interactive tele), means TV has become more of a ‘leaning forward’ experience and one which clashes with its traditional roots.”
“They are socially connected. They need to feel connected.” Which is evident in the popularity of social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace. SMS and instant messaging also allow for rapid communication and means of staying connected.
“It must fit in with their lifestyle and individual needs. It knows their preferences and interests, it knows who they are. There is a bit of AI (Artificial Intelligence) involved, it knows the elements that make up their lifestyle and focuses on that profile, not just a generic solution. It creates a unique user profile, for instance if you are interested in car racing you get information just on that and not on gardening or something unrelated. It has to plug in to all their interests and emotional needs.”
“Lastly, it has to be dynamic, they have to be entertained.”
“We need to be in control of our experience. We are control freaks. We want it on our terms.”
Guy said what he found surprising was although his Gen Y participants could readily recite the functionality of a multitude of devices, they were unable to think of possible future developments.
“They struggled early on to think what would come next, to think outside the square. Gen Y know exactly what they want, we just struggle to think about the future. When we get new technology then we can tell you what we think about it. Just not what we think will happen next, what the next wave will be.”
Guy says he thought Gen Y would be more influential in this area, however in later phases he did see an improvement in their awareness and opinions. One possibility for this is that Gen Y think they already have everything they need so don’t need to take the next step forward. They are tech savvy and tuned in already. There isn’t the need for anything else.
And what does interactive technology hold for the next generation? “Gen Z will be even worse than Gen Y growing up with so much technology – they won’t know life without technology.”
Five years of hard work will be rewarded at the School of Architecture and Building Opening Night at Deakin University. The awards, held at the Waterfront Campus on Tuesday 1st April, provide a platform for students to showcase their work in front of their peers, industry experts and the community as a whole.
“In addition to recognising outstanding achievements, this evening is also an opportunity for everyone to see first hand the talent that graduating students will be bringing to the world of building,” says Des Smith – Chair in Architecture.
There are several coveted awards up for grabs with monetary and practical industry prizes attached.
The outstanding graduate student that has successfully achieved a balance between design excellence and construction and practice excellence will be the recipient of the RAIA McGlashan Everist Graduation Prize in Architecture. This Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) accolade awards the graduate with one year’s employment at McGlashan Everest in addition to $2,500 prize money.
For the graduate that has achieved excellence in the design unit in their final year in Architecture, they receive the Peddle Thorpe (architects) Award which also has $5,000 attached with it.
First year students are also acknowledged with the offering of the Peddle Thorpe Scholarship. This is awarded to the student with the highest ENTER score and they receive $1,000.
Prior to the announcement of the awards, two industry specialists will be discussing ‘melding of construction and architecture’.
The presenters from the award winning companies are Tony Isaacson, Managing Director Kane Constructions, specialists in large community projects. He is joined by Glen Rodgers, Architect and Director of Third Ecology Architects, whose expertise is in sustainability and heritage architecture.
The presentation starts at 6:00pm, followed by the award presentation at 7:00pm. Students’ work will be on display for viewing throughout the evening.
With the strong demand for professional engineers, industry is looking to engineering students to fill the shortages. Employers are getting students on board earlier in their studies to meet industry and market demands, according to Simon Cavenett, Director of Professional Practice (Engineering).
“We listen to industry demands and the needs of industry are integrated across the whole degree. Deakin focuses on the range of disciplines, including the managerial and communication skills that engineers need five years or so in the workforce, required. Someone coming from Deakin has a range of skills and qualities making them ready for the market.”
Traditionally undergraduate students would not have given thought to finding employment until their fourth year of study. Similarly, employers would look for students in their final year. The widespread shortage has pushed this forward:
“Employers are now looking at students in their second year of study. If they wait until the students are in their final year it may be too late. They want the best of the best. Universities are a good introduction between student and employer. Work experience is a mandatory part of the degree and many students get job offers from the work experience they do. They get paid for it too so with increasing costs in education this is very beneficial too. It is easier now for first year students to get work experience. Industry is looking for a long term relationship with students. They can bring them on as cadets employed either part time or full time whilst completing their studies. They have a relationship with that company and an edge on their peers having had practical hands on work experience.”
Career fairs are another way of exposing students to industry. Recently Engineering and IT students took advantage of such an event at the GTP (Geelong Technology Precinct) as part of Careermonth. This was an interactive information session between students and over 30 participating companies from a range of industry.
Mr Cavenett says that these events are a good opportunity for students, not only graduating but also first years, to get hands on practical career advice direct from industry leaders.
“Going to one of these events students may get a cadetship or a job offer for part time or vacation employment. Students may discover scholarships or options they had never considered before, says Mr Cavenett.”
Male Starlings are singing more and their songs are more complex as a result of eating polluted worms. Rather than being deterred, female Starlings are being drawn to those birds with this diet.
Dr Katherine Buchanan, new School of Life and Environmental Sciences Senior Lecturer, has recently published results in PLoS ONE showing that male Starlings feeding on worms contaminated with environmental pollutants sing more complicated songs.
The paper (Markman et al 2008 PLoS ONE 3(2):e1674. doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0001674) shows that invertebrates on sewage treatment filter beds accumulate contaminants from agricultural and human waste, including estrogen and estrogen mimics.
The results also show that birds experimentally dosed with the chemicals in these invertebrates sang more and sang more complex songs. A male’s song is one of the key traits in attracting a female mate for reproduction.
“This is the first evidence that environmental pollutants not only affect, but paradoxically enhance a signal of male quality such as song,” says Dr Buchanan.
Although females are seeking out these males, there is a downside to their current diet. These male Starlings were also found to have immune deficiencies, making them less physiologically fit.
“Females are choosing them as they sing better songs, but those males are not as physiologically fit as mates, as they have immune deficiency.”
Starling population numbers have already decreased dramatically in the UK, making them a listed species.
What is the next step in research? Studies along the same lines but this time looking at the females. Although females do sing occasionally, it is not really known what the function of the female’s song is. Those females that have been exposed to the same environmental pollutants have already been observed to be singing more.
Coverage of this work by the international media includes BBC Radio, New York Times, MSNBC and Fox News, Medical News Today, Environmental Science and Technology and Discover Magazine.
In November 2007 a team of staff and students from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and Melbourne Zoo participated in a trip to North Sumatra, Indonesia. With the recent focus on climate change and carbon emissions (i.e. Bali 2007) this area will be one of the environmental battlegrounds. This initial trip was focussed on establishing long-term research links in the area to examine wildlife conservation.
North Sumatra faces many problems, making conservation a very difficult prospect for the local people. Large-scale deforestation, encroachment from palm oil plantations and poverty are just a few of the challenges to overcome.
We were based in the Tangkahan region where Fauna and Flora International has been running conservation programs with Zoos Victoria. Until recently one of the primary sources of income for these local people was from illegal logging of the jungles. However, several years ago the community came together and decided to stop logging the National park and try to build an income based around ecotourism. The ecotourism is managed by the community with revenue returning to the community. Whilst the income from ecotourism will never replace the income from logging, it is hoped that the community will not need to return to logging in the future.
Very quickly we witnessed that conservation in developing areas like Sumatra is not as straight forward as in developed areas. The major issues surrounding conservation include limited knowledge of the need for conservation, and more concerning is the poverty faced by rural communities. For conservation to work we must acknowledge these limitations and plan conservation strategies accordingly.
First we need to develop alternative income streams that negate the need to overexploit the natural resources of the area, and at the same time enter into environmental education for the community. The Deakin and Zoos Victoria trip focused around both these areas. We were involved in developing VIP ecotourism strategies to bring in western tourists who want to visit remote natural locations in the world.
Another aspect of our trip was to run training for different community groups. Our two student volunteers under Zoos Victoria guidance focussed on training rangers in the use of GIS and GPS technologies in their day to day work. Using these technologies has several advantages, one is that the rangers can more safely guide ecotourists into the jungle, and they can also record sightings, tracks and traces of wildlife while in the jungles. The information on wildlife sightings etc will be important in future research in the area. The Deakin staff also worked with Zoos Victoria to deliver environmental education training courses to primary school teachers in the region. The courses were great fun for all involved but did highlight a lack of knowledge. Starting with the teachers will have some long term benefits, and hopefully the Zoo and Deakin will continue to further develop environmental programs for teachers in the future.
Currently we are examining long-term research strategies. We are hoping to establish research examining biodiversity throughout the area, looking specifically at mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. We also want to examine how jungle wildlife returns to areas after logging, and how ecotourism can be used to facilitate conservation in developing countries.
A DEAKIN University student has gained an extraordinary introduction to his medical degree by helping save lives in East Timor over the summer break.
Noble Park resident James Xavier, 20, provided much-needed medical care to city and rural East Timorese communities during for two weeks in November and December.
He used skills he gained in nine years of St John’s Ambulance training and the three-year Biomedical Science course at Deakin to treat illnesses including dehydration, malnutrition and road trauma. He was also in the country with his parents to mark the first anniversary of his East Timorese grandmother’s death.
“When I arrived at the house in the countryside where I was staying, there were heaps of people who had heard that I would be there waiting to ask me about their illnesses,” he said.
“They just kept coming and coming. Some were suffering from injuries from road trauma such as bruises, wounds and closed fractures as they didn’t wear seatbelts and hung outside their cars and others had flu-like symptoms that wouldn’t clear up.”
“It was back to basics as the hospital didn’t have much equipment and the medicines they were using were stored in bottles with no lids that looked like Pepsi bottles.
“It was really chaotic and so different from here; the surgeon turned up wearing an apron, a showercap and kitchen gloves and the doctors wore sandals because it was hot.”
Mr Xavier said that although he had enjoyed the opportunity to provide some medical help to people in East Timor, he was looking forward to contributing more after starting his medical degree.
Mr Xavier completed his Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Deakin University in 2007 and in December discovered he had achieved his dream of gaining a position in the new postgraduate medical degree at the Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds. He said that he was pleased to have the opportunity to become a doctor through the new Medical School.
“It [medicine] is something that I’ve always wanted to do and that’s one of the reasons I have been involved with St John’s since I was 11.
“I think my experience in Timor has also given me a great start and I learnt a lot on my feet. Now, I’m looking forward to getting started on the course,” he said.
Mr Xavier is also grateful for the grounding he gained in Biomedical Science before entering the medical course.
“It’s a good way of moving from an undergraduate course into Medicine, and it means that I’ve got some life experience first,” he said.
Interview: James Xavier is available for interview on 9562 3043. Photographs are available
An improved technique for estimating a person’s age that will have implications for national security, law enforcement and restricting children’s access to inappropriate web sites has been developed by Deakin University researchers.
The Head of Deakin’s School of Engineering and Information Technology, Professor Kate Smith-Miles, and PhD student Xin Geng are working on the automatic age estimation project known as AGES (AGing pattErn Subspace). Using mathematical algorithms, the AGES technique has proven to be more accurate in estimating age based on photographs of people’s faces than other existing methods.
“While recognition of most facial variations, such as identity, expression and gender, has been extensively studied, automatic age estimation has rarely been explored,” Professor Smith-Miles said.
“In contrast to other facial variations, aging presents several unique characteristics which make age estimation a challenging task.”
Logging on to inappropriate websites by under-age computer users would be more difficult with the AGES technique able to determine whether the face of the person at the keyboard conforms with the age they say they are, Professor Smith-Miles said.
“That’s just one practical and obvious way in which the work we’re doing could be used,” she said.
Other applications include:
Professor Smith-Miles said that the AGES method had proven to be more accurate than other systems in estimating age—it even performed better than humans.
“In extensive experiments of over 2000 faces, our method outperformed the existing approaches, and even outperformed human perception of age estimates when the humans were given only the same tightly cropped face images to view as those fed into our algorithm,” she said.
“When humans are given wider shots of faces, including hair and clothing, their ability to estimate age is much improved, but without those extra cues our algorithm performs better than humans at age estimation.”
A paper co-authored by Professor Smith-Miles and Xin Geng with Professor Zhou Zhi-Hua from China’s Nanjing University has been published in the December edition of the prestigious American-based journal – IEEE Transaction on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence.