February 2012 How to remain collaborative while becoming more competitive.

February 2012
A Graduate success story
Collaborative Research
Sita seizes the day
The Siberian Connection
How to remain collaborative while becoming more
Recently most SITE colleagues attended a retreat to
consider how we might respond to the considerable
challenges that we face as a School in today’s
competitive and contestable environment. The
following is a summary of the points I made then that I
believe are vital for our success.
The SITE retreat is a time to come together to address
some of the T & L, research and procedure issues within the
school but also just a time to be together.
Success in Kazakhstan
A Retreat to Advance
SITE covers areas of national significance but areas that
have low participation rates and particularly so for females.
National Maths Agenda
Increasing participation in a demand driven environment is
indeed challenging but we have worked very hard at this
over summer with VTAC, direct and international recruitment
and admissions.
We have started to address a number of major issues:
engineering accreditation with EA, new programs, new courses in IT, changes in
metallurgy, increasing numbers and diversity of partners with our first offshore teaching
starting this year and the implementation of many new processes in the school.
The new school presents many opportunities and I think that we are the right people to
deal with these problems because this is what we do – we solve problems. We can do this
best by working together.
Professor John Yearwood – Dean of School
On retaining an International focus while delivering locally.
SITE has continued the practice of its pre-existent schools of maintaining a
very strong international focus.
This is apparent through its partner sites, its Research Centre’s, its visiting scholars
program and the participation of its academic staff in various international settings. We
devote page three exclusively to stories that spring from SITE’s international focus but it
can be traced to some degree in all of the School’s activities. This strength springs partly
from the recruitment of staff from many countries and cultures, who then bring their
connections and collaborations with them.
It also reflects UB’s (and SITE’s) many partner sites in Australia, catering for international
students and the growing number of off-shore arrangements and campuses where
Australian staff teach insitu and in many cases, their students articulate into higher
degrees based at the Mt Helen campus and other partner sites in Australia.
Maintaining a credible international program is integral to the UB’s claim to be of a ‘real’
university standing and status, to be compared with the well recognised excellence in its
teaching & learning and cutting-edge research. International – yes, but ‘foreign – no!
Enthusiastic ‘Post Doc’ joins SITE
Four postdoctoral fellows have been appointed by UB to
participate with other Universities as part of the Collaborative
Research Network (CRN) – we profile one below:
data collected by Bird Observation & Conservation Australia
(now Bird Life Australia), which reveals significant declines in
a suite of species. This work draws upon Birgita’s many
years of involvement in shorebird monitoring and research in
the Victorian Wader Study Group, and more latterly, as the
editor of Stilt – the journal of the Australasian Wader Studies
Birgita says “As a volunteer member, I have had the privilege
to work in many remote and unusual locations both in
Australia and overseas. I will continue to maintain my
involvement in international wader studies whilst
simultaneously undertaking riparian, stream and floodplain
research in modified landscapes.”
A Graduate Success Story
Birgita Hansen’s research interests relevant to the
role of a (CRN) postdoctoral fellow in Water and
Biodiversity are riparian and stream restoration.
Two years ago UB gave a reference for Vignesh Kumar,
who had just completed his Masters Degree in ICT at UB.
He was given a positive reference and PAMS
subsequently hired him. Two years later his CEO,
Richard Gerner has provided feedback on performance.
After completing her PhD at Monash University in 2008 on
Population Genetic Analysis of the endangered Leadbeater’s
Possum (Victoria’s faunal emblem), supervised by Andrea
Taylor, Birgita went on to conduct a comprehensive review
of riparian and stream literature.
On the basis of this, with colleagues Paul Reich, Sam Lake
and Tim Cavagnaro she developed minimum width
recommendations for riparian zones in Victoria. This review
identified a number of knowledge gaps which Birgita wishes
to address using existing restoration sites in western and
central Victoria. In particular,
She is interested in investigating the effectiveness of riparian
restoration at different spatial scales and configurations to
augmenting or rehabilitating in-stream and terrestrial habitat
for biota, improving downstream water quality and mitigating
the impacts of high-intensity land uses.
Current ARC-funded research being undertaken by SITE’s
Singarayer Florentine, Tricia Wevill and Peter Gell on
vegetation and soil responses to riparian restoration will
provide a strong basis for the development of new restoration
projects seeking to assess changes in fauna, particularly
macroinvertebrates, birds and fish.
Whole-of-catchment prioritisation of restoration effort and
configuration has high relevance to Birgita’s previous
research at the Arthur Rylah Institute, where she led several
projects on waterbirds and estuaries. In this role Birgita was
responsible for developing methodologies for assessing bird
communities as part of a Victorian Index of Estuarine
On the basis of intensive bird survey data from 22
estuaries in the Melbourne Water and western
Victorian regions Birgita has developed a set of
preliminary metrics that will help inform an IEC.
She has also undertaken an up-to-date analysis of waterbird
trends in Western Port, based upon almost 40 years of count
“Vignesh spent most of the first year under the tutelage of
our existing ICT Manager; however his patience paid off as
he was in the care of an experienced technician. Vignesh
has throughout 2011 been our full-time ICT Manager, in
charge of technology for this office of 15 people.
“The following forms part of our IT landscape - SQL database
in conjunction with our principal database system iMIS for
non-profit membership organizations, several servers –
databases, webs, office etc, virtual servers, office
networking, remote networking, web building, hosting and
maintenance, E-mail hosting using PLESK server – Microsoft
Exchange management, IT support using job tracking,
several layers of data backups, graphic design systems and
numerous printers, from a semi-professional INEO 6501 to a
small printer for plastic cards.
“Vignesh has gained experience in such a wide range of
technical responsibilities such that he would never be given
in a bigger company. PAMS has benefited from Vignesh’
personal interest in his field, his courtesy and sense of
customer service, and his desire to do things well.”
Please send contributions to Editor – Eugene Kneebone
e-mail [email protected]
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SITE’s International Connections
Sita ‘seizes the day’ this Summer
Venkatraman has
been occupied
this past summer
with her activities
as Higher
During her vacation, Sita was invited to present in India.
Both her keynote address at ICNICT conference and IEEE
talk were highly appreciated by academics and researchers
from universities in Coimbatore and Chennai and have
initiated awareness and interest in SITE's research
specialties and UB opportunities for postgraduate research
programs, as well as in collaborative research.
At the International Conference on Networks, Intelligence
and Computing Technology (ICNICT) held at Karpagam
University, Coimbatore, Sita delivered a keynote address on
"Cloud Computing”.
During this 3-day event (15-17 December, 2011), Sita was
the Conference Chair for Data Mining topics and presented a
Workshop on "Research Techniques”. About 800
researchers attended the inaugural keynote address.
Approximately 250 students presented papers, and about 50
attended the workshop.
“Thank you for participating in the show Open Asian Cup and
for making it a memorable and unique event. Your
participation made this event very special; your students
played a great game and did their best to win.
Congratulations! UB’s team was the best team of the Open
Asian Cup! Thank you for making our visit to Ballarat
memorable and problem free. .We will be delighted to keep
in touch and your Department.
Our thanks to Dr. Zari Dzalilov and Mr. Greg Simmons for
providing perfect organization of tournament and our visit.
A full report on the visit appeared in The Courier:
(Note: Dr. Dzalilov facilitates most international visits by
academic colleagues on behalf of SITE. These include
Professor Associate Professor David A. Grier, George
Washington University in Washington, DC, USA who was a
Guest Speaker at the Colloquium on 7 March 2012 and
Professor Ray Ogden, the eminent Mechanical Engineer,
who will revisit the School in March).
The Siberian Connection
Dr. Alexander S Strekalovsky, Respected Head of the
Laboratory of Nonconvex Optimization Methods at the
Institute for System Dynamics and Control Theory, Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences has recently
spent four weeks at CIAO collaborating with Dr Alex Kruger
and Professor David Gao who hosted his visit.
At IEEE Chennai Chapter, Sita presented a technical talk on
"User Identification with Multimodal Biometrics" at Guindy
Engineering College, Anna University, Chennai on 19th
December. Nearly 85 participants representing, academia,
industry and the student community attended and learned of
research developments and issues surrounding biometrics
worldwide through this interactive and informative
In addition, at the Australasian Computer Science Week
(ACSW) 2012, hosted by RMIT, Sita presented a paper on
"The role of Emotional Intelligence on the resolution of
disputes involving the EHR” under the Health Informatics and
Knowledge Management (HIKM) theme. This paper was coauthored by A/Prof. Andrew Stranieri & Dr. Nial Muecke
from UB, and Dr. Emilia Bellucci & A/Prof. Jemal Abawajy
from Deakin University. It is an outcome of a UB-Deakin
Collaborative Research Network (CRN) funded project.
Contact Sita at mailto:[email protected]
Success at the Open Asian Cup of
On a visit to Kazakhstan, Dr. Zari Dzalilov offered UB to
host an episode of a popular TV intellectual games show.
Subsequently three UB teams (each containing one Russian
speaker) pitted their wits against students from other
countries. Ms. Alyona Kochneva, Chief executive, MTM
Production Center 050022, Republic of Kazakhstan, writes:
Apart from the useful ongoing research partnership that this
visit facilitated Dr. Strekalovsky confessed that he “loved the
freedoms” that are taken for granted by most Australians and
was further impressed by this county’s relatively buoyant
economy (compared with Russia and Europe) and the scope
that this affords the serious work that is his passion.
“While I have been at UB I have been impressed by my
profound feelings about Australia. It was good to collaborate
with my friends and even play golf with them [at the SITE
Retreat] for the first time in my life.”
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Mathematics on national agenda
The VC Says Thank You
Federal Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris
Evans, has addressed the Australian Mathematical Sciences
Institute (AMSI). Key recommendations from the national
forum, Maths for the future: Keep Australia competitive, held
in February 2012 at ANU were that the Government should
appoint a national mathematical sciences advisor and run a
five year awareness campaign to increase participation and
achievement in mathematics and statistics in Australia.
Professor David Battersby, UB’s Vice-Chancellor, through
his regular newsletter, has acknowledged the positive role
UB staff have played during UB’s organizational change and
transformation over recent months.
“This forum has shown everyone the need for intervention at
multiple points on the educational pipeline. We are seeing
both awareness and a willingness to act in the statements of
the key players, so now we are holding our collective breath”,
said Professor Geoff Prince, Director of the AMSI.
Chief Scientist Ian Chubb said “An education in science and
maths is a very valuable thing to have. You know about
evidence, you know how to analyse, you know how to
articulate it…If you’re working in the general workforce you
will be applying those analytical and integrated skills in a very
professional way”.
“2011 has been strategically important for the University as
we have realigned our structures to make us an even more
agile, responsive and flexible University. The efforts of all of
our staff have been magnificent as they have not only
participated in the implementation of new structures and
arrangements, but have continued to ensure that the
business of the University was able to be maintained during
a time of change and upheaval.
“Financially and strategically, the University is now well
positioned as we head into 2012 and while there will be
challenges ahead, we conclude this year as a confident and
resilient institution.”
Thank you for your contribution.
At the SITE Retreat we sought to Advance
The SITE Retreat, held on 3 February at the Novotel, Creswick provided a balanced program for the School’s
The opening Keynote address was delivered by the Dean (see page one) concluding with the challenge that SITE’s problem solving
work was necessary to UB, as well as the State /Nation. “Its what we do – we at SITE address problems”.
Guest Professor Jenelle Kyd, Academic and Research Deputy Vice-Chancellor from Central Queensland University spoke on
“Strategically Addressing the Research Performance Imbalance” for institutions at the scale of SEQ and UB, backed up with helpful
comparative data and practical ideas for enhanced achievement.
Professor Peter Gell completed the plenary opening presentations with his raison d'être for regionally based universities to
vigorously pursue research programs. This is because research distinguishes us from other education providers; it makes the city
and region have a ‘real’ university and according to Vice-Chancellor David Battersby it is UB’s “distinguishing element”.
Other sessions included a discussion on Teaching and Learning led by Dr. Richard Dazeley and a mixture of presentations targeted
at general staff (e.g. Occupational Health and Safety matters) and academic staff (e.g. Engineering Accreditation and International
Programs). A draft paper setting out the School’s Strategic Statement was distributed for feedback and further consideration.
The day concluded with ‘healthy’ outdoor activities. The School dinner, as can be seen from the associated photographs was a
light-hearted affair that contributed well to SITE’s growing Esprit de corps.
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