VLS Announcements 78 - 11 March 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to issue 78 of our weekly announcements.

The School has featured extensively in news items this week, beginning with two of our researchers receiving National Science Awards, congratulations to Amy Lockwood and Jatin Kala. The publicity continued with Trish Fleming highlighting the need for research of " ugly" mammals and James Tweedley boosting prawn stocks in the Swan and Canning rivers.

It is extremely rewarding to see so much of our researchers hard work being publicly recognised, well done!

The Science Career Evening was held on Wednesday, I would like to thank Michael Calver, Garth Maker, Belinda Robson and Peter Irwin for presenting information for each of their clusters.

David Macey's retirement celebration will be held on the 23th March, please RSVP by the 18th March, if you have not already done so to A collection and a card are available in the Biological Sciences building, Rm 2.002.

Kind regards

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]

  • Frost maps for farms and the development of a drone 'lamb cam' scoop two national awards

    Two Murdoch University scientists have been honoured with prestigious national science awards.

    Amy Lockwood has won a national award for her drone monitoring of lambing ewes.

    Sheep researcher Amy Lockwood from the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences was announced last night (March 1) as the winner in the wool category of the 2016 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

    She will be using the $22,000 award grant to fund a 12 month research project into the use of drones to monitor lambs and ewes during lambing.

    “Current methods of monitoring lambing often involve close human observers, which may disturb the ewes and therefore alter natural ewe-lamb behaviour and increase the risk of lamb deaths," Ms Lockwood said.

    “Utilising smart technology is a priority for the Australian agricultural industry in order to improve farming efficiency, and smart technologies are enabling rapid advancements in research and development in the agricultural industry.

    “Not only could the use of drones be beneficial for researching ewe-lamb behaviours, but they could have wide application on farms for routine animal monitoring.”

    Ms Lockwood added that drones will unlikely be able to detect everything that farmers see when observing their livestock in person but they should improve efficiency by reducing the need to drive through all mobs of sheep to inspect them.

    The drone trial has already commenced on a commercial property in north-east Victoria. Lambing will occur in late April and observations will be made by drone.

    The drone project will not directly form Ms Lockwood’s PhD project, which is investigating the effects of lambing density, mob size and stocking rate on ewe-lamb behaviour and lamb survival. But it will inform the design of an experiment which will help her observe these occurrences.

    Dr Jatin Kala is creating frost maps for farms.

    Dr Kala is investigating the link between frost and topography at the farm-scale, starting with a single research farm.

    He hopes to expand the project to encompass the entire Western Australian Wheatbelt, providing farmers with an indication of the parts of their land most likely to be affected by icy nights.

    “Although Australia’s south-west is becoming warmer and drier because of climate change, many farms in the Wheatbelt are actually experiencing an increase in frost,” Dr Kala said.

    “If farmers know which parts of their property are most susceptible, they might be able to mitigate the risk by adopting management practices to minimise frost damage in these areas.

    “I am excited by the opportunity to work on a project in the field that will have a real impact in the community.’

    Frost, along with rainfall and heat stress, is one of the biggest challenges faced by the wheat industry and is estimated to cost Australian growers $95.8 million per year.

    The 2016 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry aim to support young people to undertake a project on an innovative or emerging scientific issue that will contribute to the ongoing success and sustainability of Australia’s agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries.

    They are coordinated by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES) within the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

  • Global Biosecurity Short Course – April 2016.

    A four-day short course in Global Biosecurity is being offered from 26-29 April 2016 .

    The course is available internally and externally and offers optional assessments which can be credited towards relevant postgraduate degrees (ie: Master fo Food Security, Master of International Affairs, Master of Development Studies, Master of Biosecurity) more

  • 400,000 Western School Prawns released into the Swan and Canning rivers

    A total of 400,000 Western School Prawns were released into the Swan and Canning rivers on Tuesday afternoon, bumping up the number of prawns released since 2013 to four million. For more information click here.

  • Producers to profit from new lean meat yield manual

    The sheep industry has a new tool to bolster its bottom line, by producers improving the lean meat yield obtained from each carcase and processors and retailers saving time in preparing meat for sale. For more information click here.

  • Learning Support S1 for Staff for action

    As presented to the School last week this document reiterates the services provided by CUTL now that they have restructured.

  • Deferred Assessment - Changes to Assessment Policy for action

    With the release of the new Assessment Policy, from 1 January 2016 students who apply for deferred assessment no longer need to satisfy the requirement “It must be possible for the student to pass the unit” for their application to be approved.

    Application will be approved by the Exams Office if they satisfy the University’s Assessment policy (Section 9). Unit coordinators will now be asked to indicate in Exam Data Collection Stage 1 if they want the Exams Office to administer any deferred exam during the standard Sup/Deferred exam period.

    If yes, they will receive an automated email advising them of an approved deferred exam application plus information on when the deferred exam paper is to be submitted.

    If no, the Exams Office will email the Unit Coordinator when an application is received for advice on when they would want the student to sit the deferred exam. For deferrals of assignments etc. unit coordinators will continue to be contacted for advice on due dates and assignment content.

    This information has been included in the Exams Data Collection Stage 1 email sent to the Unit Coordinators today.

    Anyone with queries should contact the Manager of Exams and Assessment, Jenny Lai.

  • Ethel Mary Read Research Grants

    Applications are now open for the Ethel Mary Research Grants.

    In 1985, the Council of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales decided to establish the Ethel Mary Read (EMR) Research Grant Fund. The initial source of the fund arose from a bequest to the Society from Ms Ethel Mary Read, a long-time supporter of the Society. The Council decided to use the bequest to support short term research projects and young zoologists working in any aspect of zoology within Australasia.
    See the links for information on the grants and the application process. Applicants must be members of the RZSNSW (see Mike Calver for assistance with joining if you are interested) Applications close on 30 April 2016.

    Application form
    EMR Instructions
    Membership form

  • Algae Research and Development Centre

    Researchers at Murdoch University's Algae Research and Development Centre have proven they can grow some aquatic species on untreated pig waste, despite the high concentration of ammonium.

  • Koombana Bay's bursting with mums and babies

    The dolphins of Bunbury have long been studied by MUCRU researchers and the latest column by Phil Coulthard from Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre highlights two of the papers published by our academics.

  • Ugly Australian mammals attract little scientific interest, study finds

    Murdoch researcher, Professor Trish Fleming has highlighted that Australian mammals that are considered ugly are researched less that others, for information click here.

  • ‘Gone is the solitary genius – science today is a group effort'

    Rachel Standish has recently published the article ‘Gone is the solitary genius – science today is a group effort'. To read click here

  • Australian Academy of Science Awards and Grants

    The latest Australian Academy of Science (AAS) newsletter  has been released with links below to their current round of prizes, research grants, travelling fellowships and conference funding. 

  • Reminder to register the 2nd IRMA AE workshop

    Please find attached the Animal Ethics update, please don't forget to register for the IRMA animal ethics workshop.

  • Speed careering a local hit

    Local employers had only a number of minutes to sweep students off their feet at a ‘speed careering’ event held at Applecross Senior High School in Perth.

    Norman the sheep attended, bringing along his humans Dr Peter McGilchrist and Jade Castle. For further information please see the article here 
  • Careers Masterclass - 1st April

    Registrations are open for our annual professional development day, Careers Masterclass. As with previous years, this event is aimed at Private Practitioners, Principals, Career Counsellors, Teachers, Year 10-12 Coordinators, Head of Learning Areas, Student Services Coordinators or anyone else who may find themselves involved in career conversations with students and their parents .

    It would be wonderful if you could please share this with staff at VLS for them to invite any of their High School contacts or anyone else they feel would benefit from the event. The event will be held on Friday 1st of April with guest speakers including acclaimed psychologist, Dr Suzy Green and the Principal Economist for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia, Matthew Sargeant. We’ll also be offering sessions covering the latest admission requirements, scholarships, The New Colombo Plan and graduate employability skills. Further information can be found via the attached flyer or by visiting

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

  • New Staff Member - message from Wayne Greene

    It is a pleasure to announce that Dr Murray Adams has been appointed as Associate Professor in Haematology and will lead our new course in Laboratory Medicine, which is being set up to meet AIMS (Australian Institute of Medical Scientists) accreditation. Murray will start with us later in the year (in September).

    Murray is a member of the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists and a Fellow, Faculty of Science, of the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia. Being originally from Perth, he began his diagnostic career in the Haematology Core Laboratory at Royal Perth Hospital and then moved into research, which included a stint at the Haemostasis Unit, Department of Haematology, University College London. Murray’s research interests centre on understanding the mechanisms that alter haemostasis, particularly those that lead to thrombosis. He has established and led independent research groups at both Curtin University and the University of Tasmania. Complications associated with cardiovascular disease, including thrombosis, are leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, so his research is of international importance. Murray joins us from the University of Tasmania, where he has been an academic for the past 9 years and B.Biomed.Sc course coordinator since 2014.
  • VLS Professional Organisation Chart

    If you are not sure about who to contact for your admin queries in the School of VLS, you can now refer to the VLS Professional Staff organisation chart

  • Re team newsletter March-April

    The Re team have released their latest newsletter.

  • VLS Sundowner and welcome to new HDR students - 18/03/16

    Every last Friday of the month there is an opportunity to catch up with colleagues and enjoy the start of the weekend with some drinks and nibbles. Next VLS Sundowner will take place on 18/03/16 and will especially welcome all of our new HDR students in the school.

    Because it is wonderful to see so many new faces around, there will be a free sausage sizzle available.
    Where? BSB common room (building 240, room 2.020) starting at 4pm
    Don’t forget to bring a gold coin donation for your drinks, so we can keep doing this in the future.
    Hope to see you all there!

  • New Staff Commencing 2016 after University Open Public Holidays and Limited Service (Christmas) Period

    I wish to advise that the following information is now on the People and Culture website referring to New Staff that start during 2016 and who do not work the 1-3 Open Public Holidays during the year. That is, how this will impact them during the Limited Service (Christmas) Period. Please refer to link below:-

  • Reminder – For actioning for action

    All XP computers will be blocked from 13th May 2016. Arrangements for the continuation/replacement of such machines, must be in place by mid-March otherwise there will be no time for replacement before the cut-off date. Please check with IT Security or Amy Shepard Moeen for any concerns.

  • ASPIRE program by Perth Convention Bureau (PCB) and Murdoch University

    Aspire program includes a professional development award of $5,000 for successful applicants who research an international conference that should be held in Western Australia.

    Some of the Murdoch’s staff engaged with the PCB have achieved the following benefits: - Raised Murdoch’s profile nationally and internationally - Built international and national networks - Facilitated expansion and commercialisation of research development programs - Attracted world’s best practice in their field to Western Australia Aspire program as well as other PCB activities present fantastic opportunity to raise Murdoch's professional profile as a Conference Chair and a Convener.
  • Technical Staff Announcement - message from Phil Good

    It is my pleasure to announce that Ian Dapson has been made permanent as a Laboratory Assistant in the School.

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

  • NEST - VetSet2Go Information Session - message from Dr Laura King

    The upcoming NEST event, the VetSet2Go information session will be held on the 30th March for further information, see the attached flyer.

  • Ausindustry - Innovation Connections

    The Innovation Connections programme supports collaborative research between industry and the research sector – see the attached Factsheet and Customer Information Guide. This programme forms part of the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda. The programme is designed to assist small and medium businesses (SMEs) to access knowledge, engage with researchers and foster innovation. The grant provides 2 to 12 months of financial assistance in the form of a matched funding grant worth up to $50,000. These assist industry to access to research capability from the research sector. This could be an ideal way to initiate or establish a partnerships that leads to a future ARC Linkage or CRC Project application, for example.

    Eligible activity includes:
    1) Researcher Placement: the placement of a Researcher in the business to work collaboratively on a specific Innovation Connections project to develop and implement a new idea with commercial potential (up to a maximum of $50,000);
    2) Business Researcher Placement: the placement of a Participants’ own research employee into a Publicly Funded Research Organisation to work collaboratively on a specific Innovation Connections project and access to research infrastructure (up to a maximum of $50,000);
    3) Graduate Placement: the employment of a graduate or post graduate into the Participant’s business to undertake a specific Innovation Connections project collaboratively with a Publicly Funded Research Organisation (up to a maximum of $30,000).

    To access the funding, SMEs must satisfy in one of the following:

    1) Operate in one or more Growth Sectors (see attached definitions):
    - Advanced Manufacturing;
    - Food and Agribusiness;
    - Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals;
    - Mining Equipment, Technology and Services; and
    - Oil, Gas and Energy Resources; or

    2) Provide Enabling Technologies and Services to one or more of the Growth Sectors; or

    3) Demonstrate they are committed to, and have the skills, capability, intellectual property or expertise to operate in, one or more of the Growth Sectors in the future.
    SMEs must also within the current or previous two years have an annual turnover or operating expenditure between:
    - between $1.5 million and $100 million; or
    - between $750,000 and $100 million for applicants from Remote Australia or Northern Australia.

  • IIID Presentation Wednesday 16 March 2016 at 11am by Dr Robert Holt

    Dr Robert Holt, Visiting Research Fellow, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, UWA, will be presenting a talk on Wednesday 16 March at 11am at the Institute for Immunology & Infectious Diseases.

    Dr Holt’s talk is entitled “How can we find the relevant anti-tumor T-cell specificities”. Please see attached flyer.

VLS Announcements No. 78