VLS Announcements 158 - 6 October 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to thank everyone for welcoming me into the role of Acting Dean for the School. I look forward to working with everyone; some of whom I have worked with closely for a long period of time and some who I have not worked with previously.

We have some very exciting work happening in the school, Dr Sam Abraham and Dr Mark O’Dea are partnering with industry to investigate the application of laboratory robots to accurately test for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among farmed pigs and chickens. More information about their project is available online. Dr Rachel Standish has also led a group of ecology students to assess the recovery of the Roe 8 site and found positive signs that native vegetation is regenerating. It is great for the University to be involved in such a high public interest project, more information is available online.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Treena Burgess who has received an APPS Fellow award by the Australian Plant Pathology Society (APPS) Management Committee. The APPS Fellow award is in recognition of her exceptional contribution to the field of plant pathology, as a researcher, teacher and mentor to many students.

Kind regards,

Professor Richard Harper
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]

  • Murdoch University Conference Travel Award Scheme

    Due to the tight budget circumstances facing the university, the conditions for funding under the Murdoch University research degree student Conference Travel Award (CTA) scheme for conference travel from 1st January 2018 are changing. Please see the attached revised application form and associated conditions/instructions.

    If students are planning to attend a conference before the end of 2017 then they must get their applications in to the Graduate Research Office by the end of this week 6th October 2017, having met all of the current award conditions, including evidence of already paid registration (i.e. before the date and time of this email). The university will not be processing any requests for support under the CTA program after this date for 2017.

  • Important Information on Drone Usage at Murdoch and Drone users are requested to action immediately

    Drones (UAVs) are increasingly frequently utilised in research and teaching. The university is obtaining a CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) licence to support the use of UAVs.

    CASA requires that all UAV Murdoch users, regardless where the UAV is actually flown, operate with relevant understanding of air safety – this requires training and awareness of the requirements. There are significant penalties under the Act for any breaches. A Working Group has overarching documentation ready to submit to CASA, and now is the time to finalise some details. Could you please:

    1. There is a requirement to undertake an audit of current / potential UAV use within our School – both for teaching and research. Identify how many staff use or wish to use UAVs and the specific UAVs they already own / use. Please provide this information to by Friday 13 October so that we can check the relevant information with the university’s draft CASA manual. Staff seeking to use UAVs in the future need to be made aware of the regulatory and training requirements.
    2. Staff who pilot UAVs must have appropriate training and be able to provide a pilot’s license when required. The university has a contract with RPAS Training for those who still need to be trained. Contact point to organise training is: Ensure that each training registration is under Murdoch University in order to obtain the appropriate discounted price.
    3. Ensure staff who have / use UAVs contact Dr David Parlevliet (the university’s Chief Pilot) for access to the Drone complier software – this is the tool arranged by the university to manage the use and maintenance of UAVs, and is CASA audit compliant. This software needs to be used for all auditable records i.e. flight plans and approvals, safety and maintenance etc. and this must be made available to CASA for audit. The software is fully accessible on mobile devices. The process is simplified if staff learn the software and upload all standard documentation for their UAV well in advance of any actual flights. There is a small cost to users for access to this software (cost will be in the vicinity of $310 – 360 per user per annum, depending on total number of users); the university together with RPAs are underwriting the first 12 months of access commencing from September 2017.
    4. Ensure that the University Insurance Office is notified of the details of any UAV purchased / owned by Murdoch.
    5. UAVs are valuable equipment, the batteries can at times be prone to fire / explosion when being recharged, each UAV needs regular maintenance and software / firmware updates. The university is currently considering a central UAV storage and maintenance facility on campus. This will keep UAVs out of normal working spaces and link all UAV users through access to a single secure facility. CASA require us to have a maintenance contact person who is Mark Thiele in VLS.
    6. The university’s fieldwork form is currently being amended to provide information for individuals seeking fieldwork approval for UAV use. The form will point to the various CASA requirements as they apply to UAVs at Murdoch.
    7. One practical requirement is that Murdoch needs to have standardised signage in the vicinity where UAVs are being flown and the pilot and assistant/s flying or managing the equipment need to wear standard and clearly identifiable vests. These items will be available for staff to purchase through the university’s Science Store All UAV pilots and flight assistants will need to obtain these and use them for each flight.

    All staff are reminded that Murdoch’s South Street campus is in close air proximity to Jandakot airport. As such it is not legal to fly a drone (UAV) on this campus unless real time radio permission is provided through Jandakot flight control. This requires that Murdoch UAV pilots who wish to fly on campus must hold a radio license in addition to the usual pilot training.

    Should you have any questions or wish to interact with us on any aspect of UAV at Murdoch, please contact either Erich con Dietze or Vanessa Hahn (xt 6326) in the first instance.

  • Unit Coordinator Updatesfor action

    Can you please check your handbook entry and your unit coordinator and contact information is correct in the Handbook as the bookshop will be using these details to request textbook information for the S1 and any other teaching periods in the first half of 2018. If it is not correct, please send updated information to and it will be corrected for you.

  • National Landcare Program Phase Two

    Phase Two of the National Landcare Program has been announced. Full guidelines are not available at this stage, only the outline of each of the programs.

    The government will be holding a community information session in Perth, details for which are below:
    Date: Friday 13th October 2017
    Time: 10.30 - 12.30
    Location: International on the Water Hotel, 1 Epsom Avenue, Ascot WA 6104
    Meeting Room: Australis Room

    Some of us in the Grants and Contracts Office will be attending, and it may be good for any interested researchers to also attend.

    More information at

  • Trial – ClickView

    The University Library is trialling a new video database until the 30th of October, 2017; ClickView records Australian free to air and selected Foxtel programs and makes them available via the ClickView exchange.

    Also included in the trial is a Health Sciences video collection, which is accessible in the Libraries tab.

    Please send any feedback on the trial to

  • NHMRC consultation on peer review for new grant program - Perth Seminar 21st November 2017 - message from Jane Crier

    The NHMRC consultation paper on peer review is now our for comment and the NHMRC is inviting submissions to its consultation paper on peer review in the new grant program. Submissions will close at 5:00pm (AEDT) on Monday 4 December 2017.

    In addition, CEO, Prof. Kelso, will be conducting a series of public consultation events in most capital cities, outlining peer review parameters and processes and inviting the research sector’s perspectives on peer review for the new grant program. Registrations are currently being accepted through Eventbrite. Places are limited:

    If you are available, we encourage you to attend one of the fora and we would appreciate you highlighting both the consultation paper and the public events to your colleagues.

  • Murdoch Research on Zoonoses and Public Health featured in three international conferences in September

    September was a month full of rich research dissemination for Murdoch University PhD students and academics.

    Some of our research outputs on Zoonoses and Public Health were presented in three top international conferences in September.

    • CHRO 2017 (Campylobacter, Helicobacter, and Related Organisms International Conference): The conference took place in France (Nantes), between 10 and 14 September 2017. Dr Ihab Habib presented 2 posters on risk assessment of Campylobacter in chicken meat in Egypt. This work was completed in a frame of project funded by the Swedish Research Council and include beside Murdoch University collaborating partners from the Swedish Agricultural University (Uppsala, Sweden) and Alexandria University (Alexandria, Egypt).
    • 6th Euro-Global Conference on Infectious Diseases: The conference took place in France (Paris), between 7 and 9 September 2017. Our PhD student Ali Harb (supervised by: Dr Sam Abraham and Dr Ihab Habib) gave a very interesting talk about: Prevalence, Antimicrobial Resistance and Risk Factors of Salmonella Diarrheal Infection among Children in Thi-Qar Province, Iraq. Ali’s research provides local, specific epidemiological data which are crucial to understand and combat pediatric diarrhea in Iraq.
    • 26th International Conference of The World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP): The conference took place in Malaysia (Kula Lumpur), between 4 and 8 September 2017. Our PhD student Mohanad Abdulhameed (supervised by: Prof Ian Robertson and Dr Ihab Habib) presented his work on: Knowledge, Awareness and Practices Regarding Cystic Echinococcosis among Livestock Farmers in Basrah Province, Iraq. Mohanad’s research investigates different aspects of such important neglected zoonosis at the human-animal interface.
  • 2018 Science and Innovation Awards - applications close on Friday 13 Oct

    Applications close on Friday 13 October, so apply now! If you’re 18-35, this is your chance to apply for a grant of up to $22,000 (inc GST) to fund your project on an innovative or emerging scientific issue that will benefit Australia’s primary industries. More information here.

  • Terrestrial Ecology Research Group (TERG) news and events: Issue 7

    Please see the attached TERG Newsletter.

  • WAMSI Bulletin September 2017

    See the attached WAMSI bulletin including information about the upcoming WAMSI conferences.

  • Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) Bulletin

    See the most recent IMOS Bulletin here.

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

  • IT Services: Notification of Maintenance: Potential Temporary Application Outage

    To support the sustainability and efficiency of our IT applications we occasionally need to carry out maintenance. • During the times mentioned below, these applications may be temporary unavailable for a maximum of 2 minutes, please wait and then refresh and attempt to re-access the application.

    Maintenance on the following applications will be carried out between 9am and 5pm AWST, from October 9th to October 13th.

    • Academic Contacts
    • Assignment Calculator
    • CORS Administration Tools
    • IMLAM Registration Form
    • Murdoch Maps (Rockingham & Mandurah)
    • Online Response System
    • Thesis Deposit Form
    • Travel Registry

    The following applications will have maintenance after hours between 5pm and 7pm AWST, from October 9th to October 13th.

    • Murdoch Communications Manager – after hours
    • Online Donations – after hours
    • Parking Permits Online – after hours
    • Teaching Timetables – after hours
    • Transcripts / Document Ordering – after hours
    • The Handbook – after hours

    Note: There will be no visible changes to these applications.
    If you have any questions relating to this maintence please contact Trevor Phillips

  • CUTL Newsletter - Issue 6

    Please see the attached CUTL Newsletter published on 29 September.

  • Academic Registrar's Office (ARO) Newsletter #35

    Please see the attached ARO Newsletter for week beginning 2 October.

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

  • Public Lecture Series - Human Contact - How can we study wildlife from afar and protect them from human contact?

    Monday 9 October 2017, 6-7pm

    A conservationist’s conundrum is that to study the environment, they must impact it. Emerging ecologist Dr Margaret Andrew will showcase how her team is using cutting-edge technologies to avoid the negative impact of this contact and contribute to nature protection.

    More Information

  • Public Lecture Series - Human Contact - Go with the flow: how does the Leeuwin Current influence life in WA?

    Monday 6 November 2017, 6-7pm

    What do WA shipwrecks, climate and fish have in common? They are all influenced by the Leeuwin Current. Join Professor Lynnath Beckley as she explores how this unusual current influences life in WA as it flows from north to south along our coast.

    More Information

Student Opportunities [Expand All] | [Collapse All

  • Australian Wildlife Conservancy Internships 2018

    Please see the attachment for information about Australian Wildlife Conservancy Internships in 2018

  • PhD project Scope

    Please see the attached top-up scholarship and research opportunity. Research Title: Restoration and Resilience - Community re-assembly under climate change and increased fire.