Showcasing Early Career Researchers 2016

Showcasing Early Career Researchers celebrates good research, communicated well.

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Entrants were asked to submit a 30-second video demonstrating that they could convey the aim of their research clearly and effectively. Twenty-three video entries were received and from those, five finalists have been chosen to attend the CRC Association conference in Brisbane, The Business of Innovation 2016, from 7–9 March and give a five-minute oral presentation about their research. The judges were looking for entrants who demonstrate excellent oral presentation skills. One of the five finalists will be selected as the overall winner by an audience vote at the conference.

See the five finalists

Entries received

Ms Kathina Ali, Young and Well CRC

Online peer-to-peer support for young people at risk of eating disorders

Stigma and shame are major barriers for people seeking help around weight related issues. The internet provides young people with an easily accessible and relatively non-stigmatising place to seek help – but how exactly are young people using it and what for? Are they accessing information or help that is beneficial to them? My research explores online peer-to-peer support for young people with eating disorders – a place where young people can connect in a safe and supportive environment.

Ms Elisabet Andres Garcia, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Development of a novel decentralised wastewater treatment system, based on electrochemical oxidation, for the production of recycled water

Diversification of water treatment systems and the reuse of water provide an opportunity to satisfy growing water demands. The aim of this project is the development of a novel decentralised water treatment system, based on electrochemical oxidation, capable of in-situ fit-for-purpose water production through treatment of grey-water. Electrochemical oxidation is an emerging technology for wastewater treatment that present several advantages to be implemented for the production of recycled water.

Mr Christoph Brodnik, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Transformative change strategies

Urbanization, climate change and environmental degradation require cities to adopt more sustainable infrastructure solutions. These innovations are often radically different to established ways of service provision and require specific strategies to ensure that they become widely and irreversibly adopted. My research will discover the most successful strategies to mainstream sustainability innovation and will reveal the best timing to use these strategies.

Mr Luis Elneser, CRC for Spatial Information

User expectations of a national, real-time, high accuracy, multi-GNSS positioning service for automated applications

Automated machine applications in Civil Construction, Precision Agriculture and Intelligent Transport Systems require a real-time, high-accuracy positioning and navigation solution. The positioning and navigation requirements using GNSS have not been comprehensively defined for these industries. The current study proposes to describe the user requirements of automated machine applications in these three industries and present them in a uniform format.

Ms Sera Harris, Young and Well CRC

Social workers in digital spaces: rethinking relationships

I started my research with 14 years of experience as a social worker. I found out that we knew a lot about social work’s relationship with digital technology from an American perspective. I also knew that young people were using technology to support their well-being with great outcomes. So what my research looks at is the Australian experience of social workers and their accounts of how they support people and social change using technology.

Mr Michael Hartup, Young and Well CRC

Vulnerable young people and their music making practices

Writing, playing and recording original music can be incredibly important for vulnerable young people. My research seeks to understand the reasons why. What I’ve found is that as a result of being engaged in music-making, young people also find value in the sense of community and support from those around them. The unique practice of music-making allows these young people to understand their world, and in many cases improve their wellbeing.

Miss Megan Hatfield, CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Development of the Successful Transition to Employment Protocol – Autism Spectrum Conditions (STEP-A)

Think back to when you were in High School, preparing for leaving school. The pressure was immense! It felt like the decisions you made at that point could make or break your whole life.
Now imagine you have all these pressures, and on top of this you have autism. You have trouble with change, making new friends and thinking about the future. Thinking this might make things a bit harder? You bet it does!
Teens with autism need a guide through this transition. Enter my PhD…

Ms Cecilia Hilder, Young and Well CRC

Young people’s everyday digital practices with Australian youth-led activist organisations

My research examines youth citizenship and participation, through the everyday ways young people engage online. Using Australian youth-led activist organisations as case studies, I’m asking young people what they do online and what is important to them. I want to deepen understanding of young people’s digital practices and networks and ask how those practices and connections have changed, and are changing, our democracy.

Mr Hao Hu, CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CARE)

Developing a mechanism-based bioassay for predicting toxicity of environmental contaminants

Widespread chemical use has polluted our environment, making monitoring and risk assessment critical for public safety. Monitoring has long relied on chemical analysis, which can fail to detect many contaminants and does not identify the accumulative effect of contaminant mixtures. I am developing sensitive cell-based bioassays (in which contaminants activate a gene) for rapidly and reliably analysing and predicting the toxicity of persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and metalloids.

Mr Mijail Karpyn, Dairy Futures CRC

The effects of ryegrass endophyte on African black beetle

The African black beetle is a major pest in Australia and causes significant damage to pastures. Certain fungi (endophyte) that grow in perennial ryegrass produce chemicals that are toxic to the African black beetle. The use of these endophytes in pasture would eliminate the need to use harmful or ineffective pesticides. My work examines the effect of the chemicals produced by different endophyte-ryegrass combinations. I hope to increase ryegrass pest resistance while ensuring livestock safety.

Miss Nita Lauren, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Investigating spillover: How self-efficacy may encourage pro-environmental behaviour

My research investigates how the simple and easy pro-environmental behaviours we do may spillover into engagement of more challenging pro-environmental behaviours. I’ve found that when we feel a sense of self-efficacy (i.e., personal beliefs about one’s capacity to protect the environment) from the behaviours we do, we feel motivated to take on more challenging and impactful pro-environmental actions.

Mrs Anne Ozdowska, CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Overcoming the difficulties with written expression for students on the Autism Spectrum

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that affects at least 1 in 100 Australian children. Many children on the spectrum struggle with the fine motor and perceptual skills required for handwriting, and the conceptual and language skills required for written composition. They therefore often need specialist intervention to assist them with written expression so that they can succeed academically. This research aims to improve writing outcomes for students with ASD.

Mrs Tracy Schultz, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Engaging people with pro-environmental policy initiatives through the use of visual images

There is growing interest in identifying the properties of images that engage people with pro-environmental communication. My research seeks to expand on the nascent research in this area by examining how people react to images embedded into communication messages about water sensitive cites and how these reactions influence their level of engagement. The research will provide clear guidelines on the type of images that promote readiness for the adoption of water sensitive policy initiatives.

Mr Adam Shypanski, CRC for Water Sensitive Cities

Interactions between centralized and decentralized sewer infrastructure

We are reducing domestic water consumption by using water re-use systems, modifying user behaviour and increasing the efficiency of appliances. However, our sewer systems were not designed for a water sustainable society in mind. My work consists of operating laboratory and pilot scale sewer systems under conditions we expect to exist in the near future and applying the results to system models. This is allowing us to better predict the formation of sulfides, methane and fat deposits in sewers.

Mr Alex Stretton, Young and Well CRC

What is normal? An exploration of youth perceptions of wellbeing and help seeking

Did you know that 87% of young men and 69% of young women do not seek help for mental health problems when they need it? Staggering isn’t it!?
My research aims to do two things— The first, utilise a social marketing behavioural change model to better understand youth help seeking behaviours
And the second, to use this knowledge and inform future behaviour change initiatives that promote help seeking behaviours.
The sooner a young person seeks help for a problem, the better!

Mr Ben Vezina, Poultry CRC

Development of live vaccine for broiler chickens

Poultry is a large and growing industry, with projections to become the most consumed meat product worldwide in a small number of years (already the most consumed meat product in Australia). There are several issues within the poultry industry such as presence of disease causing pathogens that cause harm to chickens, as well as humans. I am constructing a live vaccine; a next-generation vaccine strategy to prevent colonization of unwanted pathogens during the chicken’s life to reduce disease.

Mr Joshua Wong, Young and Well CRC

Media, mobility and well-being: A case study of international students’ media usage for wellbeing

How does this new age of media transform the way international students pursue their own wellbeing or “a good life” for themselves? The internet, social media and mobile technologies have enabled the rapid transfer of ideas and people across many social, cultural and geographical boundaries. Through interviews and other ethnographic methods, I explore the role that new media technologies play in enabling students to think about, and then pursue, a better life for themselves.

Ms Qing Xia, CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CARE)

Assessing risk to humans: arsenic, cadmium and lead as mixed contaminants with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Most contaminated sites have a mix of contaminants, such as heavy metals/metalloids (e.g. arsenic, cadmium, lead) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (fossil-fuel compounds). Because many people, especially children, inadvertently ingest contaminated soil, we need to learn how contaminants interact in our digestive systems and are absorbed by our organs. My research will lead to better knowledge of this and the attendant risks, and will help improve remediation decisions for mixed contaminants.