Research

Office of Research Enterprise 2015 roundup

A focus on research of an international quality and the fostering of an outstanding research culture have positioned UWA as one of the best universities in Australia and in the top 150 in the world.

Professor Robyn Owens
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

I am delighted to report that in 2015 The University of Western Australia continued its climb up the global rankings, now ranked 87th internationally by the world's foremost performance indicator, the Academic Ranking of World Universities published by China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University. This year, UWA won more than $62 million of Australian Research Council and National Health & Medical Research Council funding and our researchers won numerous prestigious awards.

The timeline below illustrates and recognises those achievements and I look forward to the achievements to come in 2016.

 
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January

2015

January 22, 2015 Two hour screen limit for kids 'virtually impossible' to enforce >>

A world-first longitudinal study by The University of Western Australia researchers examining the links between mental health and screen use by children and teenagers has found that guidelines to limit screen-based media-use to less than two hours a day are out of date and 'virtually impossible' to enforce.

February

2015

February 2, 2015 UWA soil scientists honoured for challenging ideas >>

A soil scientist from The University of Western Australia has been honoured in the latest issue of a leading international publication, the European Journal of Soil Science, for explaining the way nutrients especially phosphate react with soil and contributing to our understanding of plant nutrition.

February 6, 2015 Graeme Hankey recognised for outstanding stroke research >>

An outstanding lifetime contribution to stroke-related research has earned The University of Western Australia's Professor Graeme Hankey a prestigious US award.

February 13, 2015 New guide to better practice in residential care facilities >>

People living and working in residential care facilities will benefit from a new resource launched by researchers from The University of Western Australia's Centre for Health and Ageing (WACHA).

February 17, 2015 Deep sea expedition into the unexplored Perth canyon abyss >>

A group of acclaimed scientists from The University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute will go where few others have gone before when they set out to unlock the secrets of a deep ocean canyon off Perth the size of the USA's Grand Canyon.

February 23, 2015 Graduate shares promising new research for spinal cord regeneration >>

In Australia, many victims of spinal cord injury are young men whose lives are changed in an instant, and Western Australia - with its love of cars, sport and the great outdoors - has twice as many cases as other Australian states.

February 26, 2015 Bio-inspired computer model that can design street layouts >>

Researchers at the Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC) at The University of Western Australia have created a biologically inspired computer model that can autonomously design urban residential layouts without human assistance.

March

2015

March 9, 2015 Breakthrough study advances understanding of borderline thyroid condition >>

Thyroid hormones are essential for childhood development and adult health, and thyroid disease affects up to 10 per cent of people in the world - yet we are only now beginning to understand the genetic architecture of thyroid levels.

March 13, 2015 Deep-sea secrets of the cryptic Perth Canyon unveiled >>

Scientists have just completed a successful two-week mission unlocking the secrets of Perth Canyon, a deep ocean gorge the size of the USA's Grand Canyon. During this time, they discovered unusual deep-sea communities as well as an autonomous ocean glider that was lost for two years.

April

2015

April 8, 2015 UWA shark researchers enlist the help of the public as citizen scientists >>

Shark researchers from the Neuroecology Group at The University of Western Australia are asking for the public's help to identify and record shark sightings from around the world, using their new Citizen Science project, SharkBase (www.shark-base.org).

April 20, 2015 Scientific study shines new light on the source of diamonds >>

A team of specialists from four Australian universities, including The University of Western Australia, has established the exact source of a diamond-bearing rock for the first time.

April 20, 2015 UWA Crowd Research project launched - Help Save the Pygmy Hippo >>

Join us as we help save the Pygmy Hippo. Help support conservation research for this smaller hippo, native to rainforests of West Africa.

April 21, 2015 A century of spectacular wheat yield improvements in China >>

Almost 100 years of data on China's wheat yield improvements have been unearthed for the first time by researchers from Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University in China and The University of Western Australia.

May

2015

May 17, 2015 National herbicide resistance research receives largest ever funding grant of $4.7 million >>

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) will allocate $4.7 million to the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) over the next five years.

May 20, 2015 UWA researchers secure a $9 million funding boost >>

The University of Western Australia congratulates two of its leading research groups for securing nearly $10 million in new funding from the Nation's peak research funding body, the Australian Research Council (ARC).

May 25, 2015 UWA researcher recognised for outstanding science contribution >>

One of the world's most highly cited plant scientists from The University of Western Australia has been made a Fellow by the Australian Academy of Science for his contribution to science and scientific research.

May 29, 2015 Inaugural Forrest Research Foundation Scholarships announced >>

Andrew and Nicola Forrest today announced the first recipients of the prestigious Forrest Research Foundation Scholarships with the five recipients flying in from around the world to accept their scholarship. Scholarship recipients were selected from international and Australian applicants who demonstrated outstanding academic ability and the potential to undertake research work that will change the world in which we live.

June

2015

June 1, 2015 Growing crops in salty soils gets easier one step at a time >>

A team of researchers from The University of Western Australia has made a breakthrough that could assist the future development of crops to cope with production in salty soils worldwide.

June 4, 2015 New treatment hope for pregnant women with high blood pressure >>

Exciting research from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research has found new answers for pregnant women with high blood pressure, which is also a characteristic of the serious condition, pre-eclampsia.

June 4, 2015 Evidence of oldest human occupation in Mid-West discovered >>

A rock shelter in the Weld Range provides evidence of the oldest human occupation in the Mid-West region of Western Australia, a research project partnered between The University of Western Australia and Wajarri Traditional Owners has discovered.

June 9, 2015 Small changes have large benefits for crop breeding >>

Researchers from The University of Western Australia have developed a new method for breeding crops that will improve the potential for long-term, sustainable genetic improvement.

June 11, 2015 UWA joins Bayer in resistance fight >>

WA'S problem with metabolic resistant ryegrass will be the focus of a three-year $1.1 million project run out of the University of Western Australia (UWA).

July

2015

July 9, 2015 UWA Researchers receive over $5 Million in ARC 2015 Linkage Funding Round Awards >>

Congratulations to all UWA Researchers who received ARC 2015 Linkage Funding Round Awards, raising over $5 Million.

July 19, 2015 World heritage hopes pinned on archaeological dig in Burrup Peninsula industrial heartland >>

ARC Linkage Project Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreamtime is the first major collaboration between UWA researchers, Industry and Aboriginal community working on the National Heritage Listed Dampier Archipelago.

July 22, 2015 Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane officially opens the National Geosequestration Laboratory (NGL) >>

Professor David White, a leading offshore engineer, has recently achieved Fellowships to two of the world's leading engineering associations for his work to the pipeline industry; the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences (ATSE) and the UK's prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering representing leaders of the engineering profession.

July 24, 2015 Gene Investigation Reaches Finals in Eureka Prizes >>

A major international project, led by UWA Professor Alistair Forrest from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, is a finalist in the 2015 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

July 30, 2015 UWA graduate wins Charlene Heisler Prize >>

UWA graduate Dr Morag Scrimgeour is the proud recipient of this year's Charlene Heisler Prize.

July 31, 2015 UWA Researcher Amy Page Young Pharmacist of the Year >>

A PhD student at The University of Western Australia's Centre for Health and Ageing has been named the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's Young Pharmacist of the Year. Amy Page was awarded her prize in Sydney today in recognition of her unique balance of academic, clinical and policy development work.

August

2015

August 18, 2015 Research provides clues about Motor Neurone Disease >>

Researchers at The University of Western Australia and Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research have discovered a new connection between the molecules they study and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) or ALS.

August 19, 2015 UWA student takes out top award >>

PhD student Afrooz Najafzadeh from The University of Western Australia has been awarded Researcher of the Year by the Australiasian Sonographers Association (ASA), for her significant contribution to medical sonography.

August 19, 2015 Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 UWA Research Collaboration Awards >>

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 UWA Research Collaboration Awards $762,919, with in funding from the University awarded across 48 projects.

August 20, 2015 UWA Crowd Research project launched - How does our Sense of Self Develop? >>

While we would all like to have high self-esteem, few of us would like to be labelled 'narcissistic'. This research attempts to understand the nature of narcissism in adults and children, and to identify factors that contribute to its development.

August 21, 2015 WA Premier's 2015 Science Awards >>

Congratulations to the UWA winners of the Premier's 2015 Science Awards.

August 21, 2015 2015 UWA Faculty of Science Rising Stars winners >>

Laura Boykin: First prize: $10,000
Ullrich Ecker: Second prize: $6,000
Peter Metaxas: Third prize: $4,000

August 21, 2015 Professor Mark Cassidy named 2015 WA Scientist of the Year >>

Premier Colin Barnett announced Professor Mark Cassidy, from UWA's Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) was Scientist of the Year.

September

2015

September 2, 2015 Discover UWA's best ideas at Research Week >>

Find out how sleep disorders are related to the shape of your face, whether plant biology and advances in genomics could alleviate the growing global food crisis, and what our homes and communities will look like when living to over 100 is the norm.

September 3, 2015 UWA Crowd Research project launched - Your voice! Your story! English in Western Australia >>

Western Australia is teeming with varieties of English that still need to be recorded. This project seeks to collect 100 stories by West Australians of different regions, ages, occupations and ethnic backgrounds.

September 7, 2015 UWA Research Week >>

The 2015 UWA Research Week was a resounding success with over 2,400 members of the public and UWA community attending more than 50 events across campus.

September 8, 2015 UWA Science Library renamed in Nobel Laureates honour >>

The University of Western Australia has ensured that generations to come will remember Nobel Laureate Professor Barry Marshall, renaming its Science Library the Barry J. Marshall Science Library in his honour.

September 11, 2015 2015 UWA Research Awards and Honours >>

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2015 UWA Research Awards and Honours.

September 11, 2015 UWA student awarded prestigious scholarship >>

Graduate Aurora Milroy, from The University of Western Australia's School of Indigenous Studies, is one of three Australians to receive a prestigious 2015 UK Chevening/Charlie Perkins Scholarship, to complete a Masters degree at Oxford University.

September 11, 2015 Young scientist wins UWA's three minute thesis competition >>

Imagine trying to explain in just three minutes a complicated thesis that would normally take about nine hours to read. That was the task of 23 students at UWA's Research Week Three Minute Thesis completion at the University Club.Their challenge was to give an engaging and dynamic talk on their individual research topic and its significance, in language appropriate for an intelligent but non-specialist audience, in the time it takes to boil an egg.

September 14, 2015 Researchers test speed of light with greater precision than before >>

Researchers from The University of Western Australia and Humboldt University of Berlin have completed testing that has effectively measured the spatial consistency of the speed of light with a precision ten times greater than ever before. The stringent testing also confirmed a core component of Einstein's theory of Relativity known as 'Lorentz symmetry', which predicts that the speed of light is the same in all directions.

September 16, 2015 Research finds how to increase wheat yield during drought in rainfed environments >>

Farmers in climates where late-season drought occurs frequently may be able to increase wheat yield, according to research from The University of Western Australia. Researchers investigated the use of film-forming antitranspirants, which are emulsions of wax or latex that reduce water loss through transpiration, by forming a thin film on foliage.

September 22, 2015 Leading WA medical researchers recognised in national awards >>

Two leading medical scientists at The University of Western Australia-affiliated Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research have won National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Excellence Awards for work to improve treatments for heart and kidney disease.

September 25, 2015 Egg research cracks top prize >>

Researcher and chemistry student Callum Ormonde from The University of Western Australia is part of a team that has won an Ig Nobel Prize for working out how to unboil an egg. The researchers discovered how to change the properties of a cooked hen's egg to return the egg to its previous liquid state.

September 29, 2015 UWA and international team pioneer new drug analysis method >>

An international team of scientists co-led by The University of Western Australia's Associate Professor Vincent Wallace has been working with a major biopharmaceutical company to investigate new ways to characterise protein formulations.

October

2015

October 14, 2015 UWA Crowd Research project launched - Repelling sharks to protect them ... and us! >>

Help support the UWA Neuroecology Group in their development of non-lethal shark deterrent strategies, allowing humans to coexist safely with these animals that play a vital role in the marine environment.

October 16, 2015 Redefining temperature with precision lasers >>

Published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from The University of Western Australia, the University of Adelaide and University of Queensland, have come up with a new way to determine Boltzmann's constant, a number which relates the motion of individual atoms to their temperature.

October 19, 2015 UWA awarded $2.2m in national funding to fight dementia >>

Four researchers at The University of Western Australia have received $2.2 million in Federal Government funding to tackle the causes and impacts of dementia - the second-leading cause of death in Australia behind heart disease.

October 27, 2015 Research uncovers 'horizon glow' mystery of the moon >>

Researchers from The University of Western Australia have uncovered answers to a mystery that has puzzled scientists for half a century. The researchers discovered the reasons for 'horizon glow' (a bizarre glow occurring on the Moon's western horizon just after sunset) relate to two new phenomena concerning dust movements on the Moon's surface - 'sunrise dust storms' and 'horizon brightening'.

October 27, 2015 World-leading UWA Oceans Engineer recognised for excellence >>

Professor David White, a leading offshore engineer, has recently achieved Fellowships to two of the world's leading engineering associations for his work to the pipeline industry; the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences (ATSE) and the UK's prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering representing leaders of the engineering profession.

October 28, 2015 UWA Crowd Research project launched - Colour Discrimination >>

Why are 8 in every 100 men colour-blind for red-green? This research project aims to determine whether there are situations where and when colour-blind men have an advantage over men with full colour vision.

October 29, 2015 Student from The University of Western Australia has won UWA's 101st Rhodes Scholarship in 102 years >>

Andrés Noé, 24, of North Perth, who completed a Bachelor of Medical Science with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology, became UWA's seventh Rhodes Scholar in five years, following last year's Rhodes Scholar Amy Steinepreis who was a Masters in International Journalism student.

October 30, 2015 UWA awarded $17.8 million in national research funding >>

The role of early testosterone and brain growth in language development, analysing older Australians' support networks, the regulation of Indigenous safety strategies and the policy and practice of designing healthy higher density housing are among 41 new research projects at The University of Western Australia to receive Federal Government funding announced today.

November

2015

November 4, 2015 UWA announced as one of the winners of the 2015 Mitsubishi Corporation WA Innovator of the Year >>

Separating nitrogen from natural gas sources - A novel method of separating natural gases (eg methane) from nitrogen, process necessary for all forms of natural gas production prior to use and distribution.

November 4, 2015 UWA ranked 87th in the world >>

In August 2015, UWA was ranked 87th in the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Academic ranking of world universities.

November 6, 2015 Local researchers take on G20 challenge to make energy efficient wheat >>

According to The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations global crop yields must double by 2050 to meet future food security needs.

Western Australian researchers will contribute to a G20 nations plan to strengthen future, global food security by making more energy efficient wheat.

November 9, 2015 $3m in health research grants may mean better sleep for all >>

A study which may lead to sleep apnoea being diagnosed through a simple photograph is one of three National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants worth nearly $3 million awarded to The University of Western Australia.

November 9, 2015 Congratulations to all recipients of the 2016 NHMRC Grants and Fellowships >>

The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for Health, has today announced details of funding for several National Health and Medical Research Council schemes.

November 27, 2015 UWA's microscope-in-a-needle wins prestigious national award >>

A team of biomedical engineers and doctors, led by Associate Professor Robert McLaughlin and Professor David Sampson, from The University of Western Australia has won The Australian newspaper's Innovation Challenge for developing the world's smallest handheld microscope.