Early career scientists reveal research with a difference

Dynamic, innovative and enthusiastic best describes the five talented early career researchers who will present at ‘Collaborate | Innovate | 2019’, the annual conference of the Cooperative Research Centres Association (CRCA) at the Adelaide Hilton, May 28-30.

They will deliver five-minute oral pitches on their research, covering low carbon housing, renewable energy, brain disorders, outer space and ulcers, as the finalists in an outstanding field of 41 video entries. One will be selected winner by audience vote at the conference.

CRCA CEO, Dr Tony Peacock said entrants submitted 30 second videos demonstrating they could convey the aim of their research clearly and effectively.

“Judges then looked for entrants who demonstrated excellent oral presentation skills and most favourably those who could best articulate research likely to make a difference.

“In Australia’s competitive research landscape, young scientists often face uncertainty in funding and job security. The awards, sponsored by CQ University, recognise and support early career researchers who’ve demonstrated excellence not only in the laboratory but in communicating their science,” Dr Peacock said.

The finalists are Tanya Babaeff and Lio Hebert, both of CRC for Low Carbon Living, Ricardo Mesquita, Edith Cowan University, Joseph O’Leary, Space Environment Management CRC and Christina Parker, Queensland University of Technology.

Ms Babaeff, in her presentation ‘Mainstreaming low carbon housing precincts’, said cities were major contributors to climate change.

“So, changing the way we develop our neighbourhoods is critical to survival, yet contemporary planning and development practices fail to meet this challenge, still producing unsustainable housing precincts.

“To assist urban planners and developers to better facilitate institutional change, my research identifies how a recent residential development project, which began with a business-as-usual approach, ended up transforming toward innovation,” she said.

Mr Hebert, in his presentation, ‘New approach to integrate renewable energy into our network’ said renewable energy and particularly customer-owned rooftop solar greatly helped countries reduce their carbon footprint and customers reduce their electricity bills.

“However, utilities struggle with the way renewables are integrated into our grid and the latter might either collapse or limit the amount of renewable.

“I’ve taken a new approach, developing a business model for solar and battery to optimise the grid, reduce our electricity bills and unleash the potential for a zero-carbon future,” he said.

Mr Mesquita, in his presentation, ‘These nerve cells are on fire – are they?”, said the mechanisms from the brain to the muscle that underpin fatigue were not yet fully described.

“Your brain does not directly command your muscles to move. Half-way, we have amazing nerve cells that speed up the information that is sent to the muscles.

“I aim to find if this increase in signal speed is impaired during exercise. The techniques I use will potentially be used in the clinic to assess people with neurological disorders,” he said.

Mr O’Leary, in his presentation, ‘General relativistic and post-Newtonian dynamics for near earth objects and solar system bodies’, said classical theories of gravity were not sufficient for describing the motion of near-Earth objects such as GPS satellites.

“Small departures from Newtonian gravity require that general relativistic effects be taken into account for accurate time-keeping and satellite orbit prediction.

“My PhD focuses on the mechanics of near earth objects in a relativistic framework, simulating satellite orbits and comparing with classical models,” he said.

Dr Parker, in her presentation, ‘Predicting the likelihood of non-healing: A venous leg ulcer risk assessment tool’, said her research had identified early predictors of non-healing in venous leg ulcers that had contributed to an innovative tool for their early detection of these ulcers.

“This tool has shown good results for reliability and validity and is being tested internationally.

“Identifying risk factors for delayed healing is an opportunity to implement adjuvant interventions and routine care at an early stage and to determine realistic outcomes for patients and guide decisions on tailoring treatment,” she said.

The annual conference of the Cooperative Research Centres Association (CRCA) at the Adelaide Hilton, May 28-30, joins researchers, educators and industry with a diverse community of CRCA members.

To register for ‘Collaborate | Innovate | 2019’, visit https://collaborateinnovate.com.au/conference-registration/ or contact CRCA 2019 Conference Secretariat, Kaigi Conferencing and Events, Tel 02 6198 3218 or
Email CRCA@kaigi.com.au


Authorised by Cooperative Research Centres Association and issued on its behalf by

Brendon Cant of BCA PR, Mobile +61 417 930536.

Further information: Dr Tony Peacock, CRCA CEO, Mobile +61 402 036 110