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VLS Announcements 053 - 4 September 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to issue 053 of our weekly announcements.

The School has had some recent staffing changes:

Firstly, I would like to announce that Associate Professor Michael Calver has accepted the role of Veterinary and Life Sciences Associate Dean Learning and Teaching. I am very grateful to Mike for agreeing to take on this position. He has big boots to fill, and I hope that everyone will support him as he eases into his new role, beginning at the end of September.

Secondly, Dr Tim Hyndman has been awarded tenure with the School through the Probationary Review Process. Congratulations Tim!

David Hampson
Dean, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences

Submissions for the announcements can be made by emailing Emma Thorp by COB each Tuesday for publication on Friday.

Note: items that require action are marked with a red flag for action.   Click on [Expand All/Collapse All] below to view the entire stories.

Teaching and Research News [Expand All] | [Collapse All]

  • Great Events

    There were two events held last Wednesday that wonderfully display the breadth of College activities

    On Wednesday 26th August at about 5pm in the car park adjacent to the equine reception, six red-tailed black cockatoos were released by a team comprising our own Conservation and Wildlife Program staff (Kris, Lian, Bethany), Jill Shephard (Lecturer in Ecology, VLS), and staff of the Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre and Perth Zoo. There were about 80 people gathered to witness the event, including members of the university’s senior Management group and Dr Chris Smith (The Naked Scientist), who is visiting Murdoch at the moment. I found it a truly moving spectacle – just prior to the release of the birds the resident Murdoch flock of black cockatoos arrived to greet them (two of the released birds were originally from Murdoch). There was much excited squawking and communication going on between these majestic birds – big groups circling overhead calling down to the birds in the cages. There would have been a lot of catching up to do later in the evening in the trees around campus with all the birds reunited – a Murdoch branch meeting perhaps?

    053 Cockatoo Release 1053 Cockatoo Release 2053 Cockatoo Release 3

    Photos of the release ( courtesy Sarah Gillett)

    At the same time as the birds were being released, there was a meet and greet of another kind in the Veterinary Biology building, where clinical academics from the College mingled with colleagues from other parts of VLS in the name of Animal and Human Health Research. This was a chance for like-minded individuals who may not yet have met face to face to have a chance to meet and discuss potential collaborations. The College was well represented by members of the Comparative Health Research Group and others, and there are exciting signs that more research is on the way from College staff, particularly those with clinical duties. Additionally, the new clinical research laboratory will be renovated shortly (located in the old clin path micro laboratory) and this will provide a focus for many of the companion animal-related projects at last. Thanks are due to Anthea, Giselle, Andrew Currie, Wayne Greene and others for this initiative.

  • Applications for 2016 Forrest Research Foundation PhD Scholarships now open

    The world’s best young minds are invited to apply for this year’s prestigious Forrest Foundation Research Scholarships, available to international and Australian students who wish to undertake a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at one of Western Australia’s five universities.

    In October 2013, Andrew and Nicola Forrest made what is believed to be the largest single philanthropic donation in Australian history – $65 million to attract the best minds to Western Australia. The donation included $50 million for the establishment of the Forrest Research Foundation to fund PhD scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships across all five WA universities. A further $15 million will go towards the establishment of Forrest Hall – a new building to accommodate scholarship and fellowship recipients.

    Applications are now open for 2016 Forrest Research Foundation Scholarships to attract the best domestic and international students to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at a Western Australian university as part of a package valued at over AUD$45,000 per annum for up to four years. This includes an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) valued at $25,849 in 2015; an accommodation allowance valued at $19,386 in 2015; and a research travel allowance of $13,000. International students will also receive and International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) or equivalent international postgraduate fee scholarship to cover the cost of tuition fees and health cover.

    Details of the application process are on the Forrest Foundation Scholarships listing on the UWA Scholarships database. All applicants for Forrest Research Foundation Scholarships at UWA will need to read the Information for Applicants and complete the online Forrest Foundation Scholarship application form available on the Forrest Research Foundation website.

    International UWA applicants applying by 31/08/2015 should complete the iAthena online application form for the International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS) Round 1 for 2016.

    International applicants applying from 01/09/2015 to 30/10/2015 will need to submit the Higher Degree by Research International Student Application form to the International Admission Team.

    Domestic applicants (Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents) should complete the iAthena online application form for the Domestic Australian and University Postgraduate Awards (APA/UPA) Round 1 for 2016.

    Applications close on Friday 30 October 2015.

  • Biomass Conversion Pilot facility to be built at Murdoch University
  • A team led by Professor Parisa Bahri have secured a major investment from the University’s Capital Planning Investment Committee to establish a biomass conversion facility on the campus.

    The state-of-the-art facility will be the first of its type in Western Australia and will put Murdoch University at the forefront of Renewable Energy, Environmental Engineering, Algae, and Instrumentation and Control Engineering research and education.

    A number of SEIT staff (Dr Xiangpeng Gao, and A/Prof Graeme Cole) and Dr Navid Moheimani (VLS Algae R&D Centre) contributed to the winning bid.

    The new biomass pilot facility will significantly increase the capability of the group, and also provide an excellent platform for applied as well as fundamental research. The facility is also expected to attract further investment from industries and government bodies for future upgrade and expansion of the system, as well as facilitate increased collaboration with industries.

    • Visiting Professor Program BRAZIL - FOR INFORMATION

      The Australian Embassy in Brazil and the Department of Education and Training are requesting applications for a Visiting Professor Program.

      To support short, medium and long term visits by foreign professors to Brazil. Currently active teachers and researchers from all areas of knowledge are accepted, as long as their knowledge and work experience represent an innovative contribution to doctoral programs in Brazil.

      For further information click here.

    • Campus Brasil

      Campus Brasil, serves as an in-country, locally-owned resource for abroad programming from undergraduate to graduate, faculty-led to semester, to internships and institutional agreements.

      Campus Brasil sends groups of Brazilian students to short term programs overseas as well as hosting groups of international students in Brazil. We partner with institutions across Brazil and internationally, helping bolster the bridge between these institutions and their countries.

      We would like to gauge the interest of staff at Murdoch in areas such as Mining and Environmental Sciences, for opportunities to send groups of undergraduate and graduate Brazilian students for short term programs at Murdoch as well as hosting Murdoch University students in Brazil for Faculty Led Programs. The ‘Battle of the Amazon – Environmental Issues on the Rise' is just one example of programs on offer.

      To express your interest, please contact Mrs Fiona Feist.

    • Combined Biological Sciences Meeting Awards- Message from Professor Peter Irwin

      Two Murdoch Students were awarded prizes at the Combined Biological Sciences Meeting (CBSM) at the University of Western Australia on Friday 28th August.

      Congratulations to Alex Gofton on being awarded the “Best New Investigator” prize ($2,000) for his presentation “Discovery and Phylogeny of Novel Candidate Pathogens in Australian Ticks”. Also, at the same meeting, Kim Loh (PhD student with the Vector- and Water-borne Pathogen Research Group) was awarded “Best Poster” and “Best Image in a Poster” for her poster about ticks on Australian wildlife. Well done Kim and Alex!

    • Port Smith visitor research – Partnership with the Karajarri Traditional Lands Association

      Jennifer Strickland-Munro has recently returned from fieldwork in Port Smith, 160 km south of Broome, where she was undertaking visitor research in partnership with the Karajarri Traditional Lands Association (KTLA).

      A suite of Indigenous Karajarri rangers, cultural advisors and Traditional Owners were involved in the 10-day survey exercise, which was focused on understanding the views of tourists to the region. Topics surveyed included desired infrastructure improvements, activities undertaken and values associated with the area, and thoughts regarding the soon-to-be-introduced Visitor Permit System whereby visitors are required to pay to access coastal areas.
      Karajarri ranger overlooking Gourdon Bay
      Based at Bidyadanga, the rangers manage the Karajarri Indigenous Protected Area, 24,797 km2 of land and sea country officially declared in May 2014. Tourism development is a priority for the Port Smith area yet the KTLA and rangers face a number of pressing management concerns including unmanaged tourism access, concomitant pressures on the environment and a lack of recognition of Karajarri cultural rights and jurisdiction. The research, which included the training of Indigenous rangers in questionnaire data collection, formed the first steps towards the development of a comprehensive tourism strategy for the KTLA. Information collected will be used to support the rangers in planning for on-ground management actions as well as providing data to refine the Visitor Permit System.
      Karajarri rangers and tourists
      The partnership between Murdoch’s Nature Based Tourism Research Group and the KTLA will soon be formalised through an official Memorandum of Understanding. The research forms part of an existing partnership between Murdoch University and the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI).

    Staff News and Events [Expand All] | [Collapse All]

    • Congratulations to Dr Tim Hyndman

      The Lecturer Promotions and Probationary Review Committee recently considered Dr Tim Hyndman's application for Probationary Review.

      The Committee recommended that Dr Hyndman's position be confirmed with award of tenure. This was accepted by the Acting Vice Chancellor on the 7th August.

      Congratulations to Dr Hyndman.

    • Updated Guide to the ARO Office

      The Academic Registrar’s Office (ARO) provides student-facing services and administration, and support services to academic staff.

      This Guide is designed to provide information about the services provided by the ARO, and to offer a point of reference for key contact information. The guide can be found here.
    • Temp Annual Leave cover - Carolyn Hilton - Message from Sarah Gillett

      I am pleased to announce that we have secured a temp to cover my role as PA to the Dean and PA to Fiona from the 7 Sept to the 25 Sept (inclusive) while I am away on annual leave.

      Her name is Carolyn Hilton and she comes to us with a wealth of experience in various Executive/Personal Assistant roles.

      Carolyn will be coming in to our office this Thursday 3rd of September to spend the day working on a handover with me and meeting the staff here. She will then start full time for 3 weeks on Monday 7th September.

    • Power Interrupt Tuesday 8th August

      Please be advised that due to continuing works, there will be a power interrupt on Tuesday 8th of August.

      · B340 Physical Sciences & B335 Environmental Sciences Tuesday morning 8th September 2015 at 05:30hrs—07:30hrs. The duration of the interrupt for B340 & B335 is therefore 2 hours.

      · B350 Library North Tuesday morning 8th September 2015 at 07:30hrs—07:50hrs. The duration of the interrupt at Library North is therefore 20 minutes.

      This interruption is intended to finalise this particular project and no further interruptions related to this project should occur. If anyone needs to discuss this further or has concerns, please contact me directly on 0419 501 169.

    • MUEnSA Quiz Night

      The annual MUEnSA Quiz night will be held on Friday 4th September 2015.

      The Annual Battle of the Brains Quiz night will be held on the 4th of September at 7pm. This year's venue will be the Melville Bowling Club, 592 Canning Hwy, Alfred Cove. Book a table by contacting Tickets will be available at the door.

    Seminars, Conferences and Workshops [Expand All] | [Collapse All]

    • Early- and Mid-Career Researcher Forum

      The Early- and Mid-Career Researcher Forum of the Australian Academy of Science invites you to an afternoon networking and learning about what the EMCR forum does and how you can be a part of it.

      Professor Peter Klinken will speak about how young researchers can contribute to Australia.

      Date and Time: Monday 7th September, 4:30 - 6:00pm ( drinks and nibbles provided)

      Location: Ground Floor Foyer, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, QE11 Medical Centre, 6 Verdun St, Nedlands.

      RSVP to Carl White -

      For further information visit -


    • IIID Presentation - A Career in Medical Research: Why Bother?

      The head of the Monoclonal Antibody Facility from te Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Ms Kathleen Davern will be giving a presentation for IID.

      A Career in Medical Research: Why Bother? will be held on Wednesday 9th September at 11am in the McCusker Conference Room in the IIID Building.


    VLS Announcements No. 053