VLS Announcements 134 - 21 April 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you were able to enjoy the long weekend over Easter.

The New Colombo Plan Mobility Program applications are due by Friday 12th May. Our School has had good projects previously, with 15 students going to China for an agricultural study tour (thanks to Liselotte Pannier), and 5 forensics students going to Malaysia for a Disaster Victim Unit experience (thanks to Paola Magni).  There is more information about the benefits and eligibility in the "Teaching and Research News" section, so do please consider this opportunity.

The VC, Professor Eeva Leinonen will be holding a town hall meeting in the Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre on Friday 28th April from 1pm till 2pm. The presentation Update on Strategy Refresh will draw on the valuable feedback received from staff, students and external stakeholders on the new strategy document, which was shared with these groups earlier this year. Professor Leinonen will also provide a general university update at the meeting. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to

Congratulations to Navid and the team at the Algae R&D Centre who have received a grant from the Pork CRC. Their Entrepreneurs’ Programme (Innovation Connections) proposal was also successful, they have a 1-year project developing collaborations with Richgro (garden products and bioenergy) with whom they will be developing a CRC-Project. Both projects are based on their most recent success on using microalgae and macroalgae to treat anaerobic digestate effluent.

Kind regards,

Phil Nicholls
Acting Dean, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences.

Submissions for the announcements can be made by emailing Mhairi Finlayson COB each Tuesday for publication Thursday

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

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

  • New Colombo Plan Mobility Program

    New Colombo Plan Mobility Program applications should be submitted by Friday 12th May. Submissions and queries to the Student Mobility Officer Jeannette Geesmann. Queries should be directed to Jeannette (X7836, School-led program checklist attached

    Key points include:

    • Govt. funding to students of $1k-$3k for short term (min. 2 wks, provide credit in Murdoch enrolled course) and $7k for a full-time (with credit for MU course) semester abroad. School gets 10% to assist in administrative costs. Extra $1k for internship component within a semester study.
    • Mobility Projects can include: study, practicums, clinical placements, Internships and Mentorships, research.
    • Multi-year projects can be funded (same project offered to successive student cohorts)
    • Students must be Australian citizens, 18-28y, doing Bachelor (AQF 7) or honours (AQF8) study.
    • Projects can be in: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.


    • Overseas study opportunities are a key driver for students to choose a University. Use your international programs as a recruitment tool.
    • Create relationships with international universities and other stakeholders for future collaboration and, in particular, two-way flow of students, research, articulations. Again, use these programs and convert overseas students to study with us, short- or long-term.
    • Increase the number of Murdoch students with an international study experience, and make them more employable.
    • Reach and exceed the average of other Australian and International Universities, who are sending a greater number of students abroad.
  • Instructions for the New Multiple Choice Marking System

    For in depth instructions on how to use the new multiple choice marking system please see

  • Focus Groups for Tutors

    Craig Whitsed from CUTL has organised two focus groups to collect feedback from tutors/lab demonstrators across Murdoch on what they would like to have available in in-service opportunities (you can see some of his ideas at

    Please draw this opportunity to the attention of any tutors/demonstrators in your units. Prospective attendees can click on this link to go to the Evenbrite page where they can register they can register their interest in participating.

    If you are interested in participating, please sign up for one of the two focus groups by selecting a date. These are:
    Focus Group 1 - Thursday the 27th of April 12:30 -1:30
    Focus Group 2 - Friday the 28th of April 12:00 - 1:00

  • Urkund Update

    This post provides an update on Urkund, the text-matching software solution used at Murdoch to foster original writing. Academic and professional staff are invited to book professional development on Urkund to address School needs.

    Text-Matching Software to foster Original Writing

    Text-matching software is an integral tool for fostering academic literacy. Often misunderstood as anti-plagiarism, text-matching software compares submitted documents to a vendor database of academic literature, student papers, and web content to produce reports which show any matches to existing published text. The reported matched text is most often accounted for with accurate referencing, and when used as an educative tool, helps students improve and refine their writing.

    Murdoch is using Urkund as our text-matching solution. The product offers a lightweight and stable technical solution, seamless integration with LMS (Moodle) requiring little administrative overhead, and unique functionality to aid in marking, evaluating and accounting for matched text.

    We acknowledge questions and concerns have been raised in regards to the product, and are addressing these by way of:

    Staff Workshops
    We have introduced a new workshop entitled Promoting Original Writing with Grammarly and Urkund. Covering latest research on the educative use of text-matching tools along with a deep-dive into interpreting Urkund reports, it offers Staff contextual and practical guidance on using these tools in their assessment workflow.

    Vendor Collaboration
    ITS with CUTL have commenced a collaboration with Urkund to develop and enhance the product to meet the University needs. Solutions being explored include:

    • staff and students having different views of the report so to protect student privacy;
    • adding further report generation to check for collusion; and
    • recommending content for addition to their database.
    We look forward to keeping you informed on the progress of this collaboration

    Student Advice
    Workshops delivered by CUTL teach students how to use Grammarly and Urkund to improve their writing by increasing their understanding of text-matching and plagiarism. For more information on the Learning Support offerings and to recommend support for your students, see here:

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

  • Veterinary and Life Sciences Award Ceremony 2017 - DATE CHANGE

    The date of the VLS Awards Ceremony 2017 has changed to the 9th May from 6pm. Please note: there is a formal University RSVP process for this event and information will be available approximately 6 weeks prior to the event via the Main University Staff Announcements: as well as in the VLS Staff Announcements 

    So if you would like to attend, please ensure that you monitor both sets of announcements to see further information on how and when to RSVP.

  • New Manager of the Academic Policy Coordinators - message from Anne Allen, Manager of Academic Policy Coordinators

    I would just like to introduce to you Julia Copeland who will be commencing at Murdoch on the 18th of April as the Manager of the Academic Policy Coordinators team.

    Julia will be new to Murdoch University, but not the University sector having worked previously at Curtin and ECU.

    Her Office will be room ECL3.054 and she will be on extension 1772. I will be continuing at Murdoch (no getting rid of me yet!) on a part time basis and am very excited to be joining the Curriculum@Murdoch team. My formal commencement in that role is the 8th of May 2017.

  • The Academic Registrar's Office Communication and Events Team Location

    The ARO Communications and Events Team have moved offices today and they are now located with Marketing & Comms on level 2 of building 121 (old Murdoch College). Jo, Michelle and Kayla can be contacted on their same extensions.

    The co-location with Marketing will make it a bit easier as the team works closely with Marketing on Conversion activities, Open Day and with Design on document production. Comms & Events are still part of our External Engagement team. The team have asked that anyone who is down that way, or wants to stretch their legs, pop in and say hello when you’re next in the area.

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

  • Fifty Shades of GMOs- Facts and Issues

    Presenter: Professor Michael Jones
    Date: Monday 1st May
    Time: 6pm - 7pm
    Location: Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre
    RSVP: here

    Internationally recognised for his research in agricultural biotechnology, Professor Mike Jones will tackle the topical issued of genetically modified crops, commonly known as GMOs.

    It’s a strange paradox in plant breeding: the less precise a technology, the less it is regulated: conversely, the more knowledge and hard science that underlies a technology, the more it is regulated. Common sense would dictate exactly the opposite. What does GMO mean, what foods are or are not genetically modified, and does it really matter? What are the benefits of GMOs and what’s in the pipeline? Why has genome editing created so much excitement? Is there any reason why GMOs and organic crops can’t co-exist, and which is the safest food? Can we separate facts from misinformation, ideology, ‘alternative facts’ and politics? With 20 years history of safe usage, and 10 % of the worlds’ crops now GMOs, should regulations be eased to help feed the world’s growing population? These issues will be addressed.

  • Science on Swan Conference

    This year’s Science on the Swan Conference, WA’s annual premier health and medical research meeting is focused on cutting edge research into “One Health” medicine (flyer attached).

    The three-day meeting (May 2nd-4th), has drawn international experts from all over the world to Perth and will focus on leading edge discoveries and their impact on “One Health” medicine.

    It will also profile some of WA’s brightest and best scientific minds as they present their recent innovative research findings.

    A number of significant Australian researchers will be presenting including 2017 Australian of the Year, Professor Alan Mackay-Sim; Professor Ian Frazer and Nobel Laureate, Professor Barry Marshall. International speakers include Professors Elaine Homes and Jeremy Nicholson from Imperial College, Professor Charlie Xiang, Zhejiang University, Dr Christopher Dye, WHO, among many others – Not to mention our own Una Ryan and Elizabeth Philips plus alumni Mark Schipp and Mia Carbon.

    This would be an excellent opportunity for you to meet colleagues across the medical and health research community.

    Please view the program here and register to attend here. Registering as soon as possible would be appreciated for catering purposes.

HDR Opportunities [Expand All] | [Collapse All