VLS Announcements 64 - 20 November 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to issue 64 of our weekly announcements.

This is to advise that in line with the rest of the University the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences (excluding the Veterinary Hospital) will be closed from Friday, 18th December 2015.

The University is committed to ensuring our staff are able to maximise their health and wellbeing. An important component of this is staff being able to take adequate leave from work on a regular basis in order to ‘rest and recharge’. In taking these two days leave, this will allow most staff to take advantage of a complete two week rest period.

All VLS staff (except those working in the Veterinary Hospital) will be expected to take annual leave on both Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 December 2015. Leave applications should be submitted online via MyHR.

If any staff are unable to take annual leave for these two days you will be required to provide an explanation, in writing, before Friday, 4 December 2015 as follows:

· Academic Staff to David Hampson (copied to Sarah Gillett -
· Professional staff to Fiona Feist  (copied to Sarah Gillett  -


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 flagfor action.   Click on [Expand All/Collapse All] below to view the entire stories.

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

  • Meat judging team set for US

    FIVE Australian students have been selected this week as the 2015 Australian national meat judging team to travel to the United States in January.

    Their selection for the Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging team follows a 130-student strong competition held in Wagga earlier this year.

    The team, selected from a field of 10 finalists, consists of Reuben Welke of Murdoch University, Jessica McGrath from Charles Sturt Wagga Wagga, and Anna White, Georgia Clark and Simon Kensit from Sydney University.

    Ten finalists received an exclusive behind-the-scenes meat industry experience this week, spending five days in south-east Queensland with Australian team selectors.

    Brisbane-based beef processor and Coles supplier, Australian Country Choice hosted the students for several days providing training facilities and an insight into their business model, inspiring their careers in the industry.

    The students also received a unique insight into the pork industry at Swickers, Kingaroy as well as JBS Australia operations by visiting Beef City and viewing Australia’s largest beef processing plant in operation at Dinmore.

    South-east Queensland retailers, Super Butcher and Cabassi also opened their doors to the students, rounding off the supply chain tour.

    Anna White from Sydney University said the week of events allowed her to appreciate the diversity of the processing industry.

    Joining the ten finalists in Brisbane this year for the first time were an additional Coaches XI, made up of students selected by their university coach.

  • Weevils no match for apple export industry

    Good news for Pink Lady apple fans, as researchers have found a solution to eradicating weevils that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for Western Australian apple exports.

    The eucalyptus weevil (Gonipterus platensis) has wreaked havoc on the export of Pink Lady apples to countries such as England, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy since 2008, costing growers of the crisp apple more than $300,000 annually.

    Introduced by accident to WA and living in blue gum trees in the south west, the weevil clings tenaciously to the stem of the fruit, generally over winter and cannot be dislodged during harvest. 

    Murdoch University’s Dr Manjree Agarwal says various methods have been tried in the past but the pest can only be removed by concerted effort.

    Physical methods like cold treatment and water jets with rigorous washing were used to either kill the weevil or dislodge from the apple.

    “Since these weevils have very sharp claws they adhere tightly to the petiole part of the fruit and hence none of the physical methods worked,” she says.

    Other fumigants had also been tried in the past including methyl bromide but it caused browning of the apples. 

    Ethyl formate was then selected, as it is currently registered as a fumigant for dried fruit in Australia with a history of being a safe chemical.

    “Ethyl formate occurs naturally in soil, water, vegetation and a range of raw and processed foods including vegetables, fruit, grain, beer, grapes, wine and animal products like milk and cheese,” she says. 

    “Unlike other fumigants, ethyl formate kills insects rapidly and its residue breaks down to naturally occurring products, formic acid and ethanol.”

    Weevils have very sharp claws that cling to the stem of the fruit. Photo credit: Dr Manjree Agarwal

    Part of the five commercial trials were done at fruit grower Harvey Giblett’s Manjimup orchard, one of the largest WA growers of pink lady apples, producing about 1000 tonnes of the apple annually.

    Mr Giblett is hopeful ethyl formate will help tackle the problem as he ships around 100 tonnes annually in the niche export market. 

    “If one weevil is found on the consignment by security officers, the consignment can’t go. It is pretty stringent biosecurity control,” he says.

    The trials found a 100 per cent eradication of the weevil and the researchers are now applying for registration of the fumigant for ongoing commercial use. 

    Notes: The weevil only impacts the Pink Lady export market, not the domestic. Ethyl formate has also been found to be effective in trials against the fuller rose weevil, California red scale and mealy bugs on Navel oranges.

  • Australian Wool Innovation : AWI investment boost for reproduction

    The research, development and marketing body of the Australian wool industry is tripling its investment in reproductive efficiency over the next four years. Building on its investment of over $2.7 million in all facets of the Lifetime Ewe Management program over four years, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is to accelerate the further extension of the program while investing in new research and development opportunities to improve the reproductive performance of the Merino.

    As AWI's flagship extension program, Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) has now directly influenced 20% of the national flock. The 3000 wool producers that have participated in LTEM have on average increased weaning rates by 10% and reduced ewe mortality by 30%. AWI now aims to lift the participation rate of LTEM to 50% of the national flock by 2019, assisted by regional variants of the program. A farm based course developed and delivered through Rural Industries Skill Training or RIST, LTEM involves woolgrowers learning to best match the energy requirements of animals with pasture production and supplementary feeding to maximise production and animal welfare. AWI General Manager, Research Paul Swan added 'LTEM is now regarded as best practice nutritional management but we also want to explore the next opportunities around genetics and management to further improve reproductive efficiency. It is important to continue the momentum.' To help guide research opportunities, renew strategy and deliver further extension, AWI has enlisted the expertise of renowned sheep researcher Dr Andrew Thompson as the new Program Manager of Reproduction for AWI. Dr Thompson is Associate Professor of Animal Science at Murdoch University, Perth and is well known across the country for his research leadership of sheep production systems, especially in the area of reproduction. He has managed many large national projects for both AWI and MLA over the last 15 years including the AWI-funded Lifetime Wool Project and subsequently co-developed the LTEM program. He will remain at Murdoch University and be employed by AWI on a part-time basis.

  • Semester 2 Board of Examiners meetingfor action

    The semester 2 Board of Examiners meeting for all AGF, ENC and MBM units will be held as listed below. DATE: Thursday 3 December 2015 TIME: 10 am VENUE: Biological Sciences Lecture Theatre Please make a note in your diary.

    Results are due: Units with no exams – 18 November Units with exams up to and including 18 November – 23 November Units with exams after 18 November – 26 November

  • School of Veterinary and Life Sciences Research Day - message from Prof Giles Hardy

    Many of you will be aware of the upcoming VLS Research Day on Friday 4th December 2015. Thank you to those of you that have already signed up to participate, we have had a great response so far. Please note for those of you that have not rsvp’d that wish to join us please ensure that you do so by no later than Friday 20 November 2015, as this is the date we must submit final numbers for catering to the venue. We will be providing morning and afternoon tea as well as lunch on the day. You can either respond to the meeting request or you can email Sarah Gillett directly to confirm your attendance.

    I have provided some information below which will help clarify the plans for the day, a more detailed agenda will also be sent out next week with further information.

    Location: Tompkins on Swan (in the Tompkins room)
    Start time: 9:00am
    Finish time: 5:00pm (those staff wishing to attend the University Staff Celebration will be able to leave at an earlier time to do so)

    Purpose of the day
    To establish 2-4 University Centres in VLS that will capture our core research strengths and where possible (but not absolutely necessary) link to the proposed thee Institutes that will be developed in Agriculture, Sustainability and in Health.
    To be more visible nationally and internationally and to help attract Category 1-3 funding into the University
    To aim to get each of the Centres formally confirmed as a University Centre by mid-2016

    1. Professor Chris Hutchison, Director Research and Development to provide an overview of the University’s Institutes and Centres document and how future funding from the University will be aligned to these Centres.
    2. Professor Alan Johnson (external facilitator) will discuss importance of Centres in today’s environment and their formation and what is required for a viable and compelling centre with both depth and breadth.
    3. Professor Giles Hardy, Associate Dean Research will then set the scene for the day.
    4. Split into groups based on existing Research Themes to discuss areas of research strength and develop prospective Centres
    5. Around each of the prospective Centres, develop a plan to submit a grant proposal to the ARC for an 'Industrial Transformations Training Hub’ (these fund 10 PhD and 3 Postdocs for 5 years) for submission in late 2016 for funding in 2017.
    6. Discussion around how each prospective Centre links with other Schools (note University Centres are expected to be across more than one School where possible).

    This is an important initiative for the School and the greater the attendance the more effective the Research day will be.

    We hope to see you there!
  • R&D, Animal Ethics Fact Sheets – Nov 2015 Update

    The facts sheets have been updated for November for more information - click here.

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

  •  End of Year Financial Deadlines for action

    The Finance Support Team (FST) and the Central Finance Office need your support by ensuring documentation is provided as soon as possible to meet the year end 2015 processing deadlines as follows:

    Accounts Payable Monday, 7th December 2015 Includes all invoices for payment and staff/student reimbursements.
    Invoices received by 7th December 2015 will be paid to the supplier and expensed in 2015.

    Invoices for goods or services delivered in 2015, but not submitted by 7th December 2015 will be accrued in the same year if the invoice is with the FST on or before Tuesday, 22 December 2015.

    Note: payment will most likely not reach supplier account until 2016.

    If goods or services are delivered in 2015 without invoice, please advise your Financial Analyst by the 4th January 2016 to be managed as part of the 2015 accrual process.
    Credit Card Acquittals Tuesday, 8th December 2015 To guarantee processing of your 2015 transactions in the current year, every endeavour should be made to ensure purchases can be captured on your November statement to be submitted for processing by the 8th December deadline.
    The 8th December deadline is to allow as much time as possible to process cost in the 2015 year. The FST cannot guarantee this will occur for purchase card acquittals received after this date.

    Time permitting, expenses >$2k post your November statement that relate to goods or services delivered to site, or travel that has happened in 2015, will be managed as part of the 2015 accrual process. You will need to provide a copy of the invoice and account code to charge. Please liaise with your Financial Analyst to facilitate.

    Note: when submitting your December statement, please make notation indicating the item(s) that has been accrued for reconciliation purposes.
    Accounts Receivable Friday, 11th December 2015 All invoice requests (Form 485).

    Note:- Continue to send in your invoice requests after the deadline that relate to services provided in 2015 and we will manage as part of the 2015 accrual process.
    Cash to be Banked Thursday, 17th December 2015 Deliver to Central Finance by 12pm – Chancellery Building, Level 3.
    Asset Acquisition & Disposal Monday, 30th November 2015 – All purchases post this date by Friday, 18th December 2015 This will ensure all costs associated with an asset are recognised in 2015.
    Journal Requests Wednesday, 16th December 2015 Relates to internal charges, transfer of cost between accounts, posting code corrections, etc.
    Finance One and Concur Approvers: timely approvals in Finance One and Concur are critical to achieving the deadlines so as not to delay the end process – your assistance is appreciated.

    If you have any concerns regarding the above deadlines or need further clarification, please contact Ellie Meek or Annette Baker-Forrow in the Finance Support Team (FST).
  • Payroll Arrangements for December 2015 and January 2016for action

    Please find link below advising the payroll arrangements for December 2015 to January 2016. Details are listed on the MyHr log on page.

    Please note the University finishes close of business on Tuesday, 22nd December 2015. Staff that are taking leave on Tuesday, 22nd December 2015 will need to book 1 full day. 

    Closing dates for applications prior to the Limited Service Period

    To ensure sufficient time is allowed for the appropriate processes (e.g. shortlisting, organising interviews etc.) can occur for approved positions for advertisement, please be advised that the last closing date for 2015 to accept applications will be the 4th December 2015. After this date, job advertisements will have a closing date of 9th January 2016 or later to allow for the University shut down period, please refer to table below for advertisement deadlines.

    First closing date for 2016

    Date Deadline (i.e. HR Received authorised ORAs by)
    Last closing date for 2015
    4th December 2015
    23rd November 2015
    9th January 2016 14th December 2015 (case by case basis)
    First day of advert placed online in 2016 11th January 2016 From 4th January 2016
    Further to this, and due to a quieter job market over Christmas and New Year, any authorised ORAs that require advertisement prior to shut down will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the recruitment team to determine whether appropriate to be posted over the break.

    It is proposed that normal business will recommence from 11th January 2016.
  • Tonya Parry appointed to role of School Administrative Officer - message from Fiona Feist

    I am pleased to announce that after interviews yesterday Tonya Parry has been merit selected and appointed to the role of School Administrative Officer. Please join me in congratulating Tonya on her success!

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

  • Special Soil Seminar Series at Kings Park in celebration of World Soil Day...

    When: 2pm-4.00pm Thursday 3 December 2015
    Where: Biodiversity Conservation Centre, Kings Park

    A series of three seminars will be held on that day...

    Welcome and introduction: Miriam Munoz Rojas (UWA; Kings Park and Botanic Garden)

    Soil water repellency: what happens when water does not infiltrate in soils?
    Presenter: Antonio Jordan of MED-Soil Research Group; Department of Crystallography, Mineralogy and Agricultural Chemistry at the University of Seville, Spain.
    Please see attached for Antonio’s abstract and biography.

    Molecular proxies of the effect of fire in soil organic matter and soil repellence
    Presenter: José A. González-Pérez of Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de Sevilla, IRNAS-CSIC, Spain.
    Please see attached for José’s abstract and biography.

    The contribution of Western Australian native plant species to water repellency in Kings Park
    Presenter: Luke Kitchens of Murdoch University.
    Please see attached for Luke’s abstract and biography.

    Map to venue:

    We hope you can attend.

    Coming soon ...
    26 November 2015, 4pm – “Oxidative stress during cryopreservation of Australian plants” Presenter: Dr Bryn Funnekotter, of Curtin University / BGPA.
    10 December 2015, Time changed to 2.30pm – “Snottygobble (Persoonia longifolia) germination biology: Solving a restoration challenge“ Presenter: Kerryn Chia, of The University of Western Australia / BGPA.

VLS Announcements No. 64