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CeRDI Newsletter Summer 2016

Message from the Director

Associate Professor Helen Thompson  
Associate Professor
Helen Thompson

Welcome to the first issue of CeRDI’s quarterly newsletter, showcasing the range of research undertaken in the Centre.

This newsletter presents the updates about our eResearch projects and partnerships, and outlines the innovative work of CeRDI as well as our contribution to digital innovation and eResearch across FedUni.

2015 was an exciting year for the Centre. A number of CeRDI projects have grown in strength and capacity during the year. Online Farm Trials and Historic Urban Landscapes (HUL) Ballarat have both evolved throughout the year and ongoing research is providing substantial insights into the uptake and application of digital technologies within the relevant communities.


Promoting the Ballarat’s rich history with Historic Urban Landscapes Ballarat

Promoting the Ballaratís rich history with Historic Urban Landscapes BallaratDuring 2015, CeRDI and the City of Ballarat collaborated on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) Ballarat web portal ( The portal is one of the strategies developed for Ballarat, as a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Historic Urban Landscape Global project, to ensure the City continues to retain its character, landscape and cultural significance as it grows.

Using innovative spatial mapping and knowledge management tools, CeRDI has collaborated with the City of Ballarat to develop an interactive web portal that engages the community and enables users to easily access authoritative and credible information.




Unlocking grains research with Online Farm Trials

A photo of CeRDIís Angela Murphy and Jennifer Corbett discussing OFT research at a recent farming event in Victoria  
CeRDI’s Angela Murphy and Jennifer Corbett discussing OFT research at a recent farming event in Victoria.

The Online Farm Trials research (OFT;, funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) applies digital technologies to provide first-time access to a vast library of grains industry research.

The aim of OFT is to improve the productivity and sustainability of farming enterprises through enhanced access to trial research information. This is expected to lead to better use of past research results and more rapid implementation of research findings. OFT involves wide collaboration with industry and stakeholders including the Northern Grower Alliance, the Liebe Group, Southern Farming Systems, Nicon Rural and the International Plant Nutrition Institute.

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Gunaikurnai Online Information Hub

Swamp landFedUni recently entered into an arrangement to establish the Gunaikurnai Information Hub. The project is a collaboration with the Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner Land Management Board, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and FedUni Gippsland.

The Gunaikurnai information Hub will provide support for the joint management of parks and reserves, with Traditional Owners playing a central role in managing these lands into the future. 

CeRDI’s role in is to develop and deliver an Information Hub to facilitate information sharing relevant to the development and implementation of joint management of the Appointed Lands.

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Mapping and understanding bushfire and natural hazard vulnerability

FedUni Spatial logoThe Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies at Victoria University is undertaking research for the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC.

CeRDI has partnered in this research to build an economic geography from spatial data linked to a range of economic, social and environmental values and natural hazards data, creating maps of values at risk.

The initial focus of the project was bushfire and natural hazard vulnerability in the State of Victoria, but as the project evolves, it is expected that this will be expanded nationally.

For further information about this, contact CeRDI’s Manager Technical Projects Andrew Macleod:

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Spatial mapping of the endangered Leadbeater’s Possum

A Leadbeater Possum  
Photo: Leadbeater's Possum (Photo courtesy Dr B. Hansen)

A partnership between the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and CeRDI has led to the development of an interactive spatial map of the endangered Leadbeater’s possum, the Victorian State faunal emblem.

The Leadbeater’s possum is critically endangered and found only in some forested regions in Victoria’s central highlands and in small regional pockets to the north and east of Melbourne.

Efforts to halt the decline of the species have resulted in a range of State Government initiatives including the establishment of spatial maps of possum colonies across Victoria. 

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Exploring Precision Agriculture opportunities in Vietnam

Photo: Dr Helen Thompson (centre, right) during the RUN visit to Vietnam.During November 2015, CeRDI Director Associate Professor Helen Thompson joined a Regional Universities Network (RUN) delegation which visited Vietnam to establish collaborations through joint research interests in agriculture.

The program included site visits, seminars and workshops across multiple locations in Vietnam. Delegates met counterparts from universities and government with the aims of the delegation including:

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FedUni visit by Latin-American University delegates

In September 2015 a delegation of Latin American academics and senior government advisors visited FedUni as part of the Australian Awards Fellowship Latin America Program.  CeRDI’s Associate Professor Helen Thompson presented to the group and outlined the research focus for the Centre.

Networking opportunities enabled delegates to share their knowledge – and to learn more about the capabilities of FedUni researchers –and to identify opportunities to internationalise research, accelerate innovation and competitiveness in areas including agriculture, mining, water, energy, health and climate change.

Discussions between delegates and FedUni staff provided a brief but valuable opportunity to explore potential research collaborations, including research fellowship exchanges and joint PhD programs.
The visit helped establish collegiate connections between FedUni and our Latin American counterparts which, it is hoped, will be developed further, in the future.

Further information about the visit is available from Associate Professor Helen Thompson:

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Researching the impact of the Digibiz program on participants

Central Highlands Digital Enterprise websiteAn impact evaluation of the CeRDI-led Central Highland Digital Enterprise program was conducted during 2015 to gauge awareness of broadband capabilities and to assess skills development outcomes for program participants.

DigiBiz, the Central Highlands Digital Enterprise program, commenced in 2012 as an Australian Government-funded initiative.  CeRDI partnered with regional stakeholders, Regional Development Australia (Grampians Region), and the City of Ballarat, Golden Plains, Hepburn and Pyrenees Shires to deliver a skills development program through workshops and mentoring aimed at assisting regional businesses and not-for-profit entities. Over 3,000 participants representing a range of business and community organisations participated in the program.

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State-wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams Research

Lathamís snipe photo courtesy Richard ChamberlainThe State-wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams (SWIFFT) network is an initiative supported by CeRDI and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to advance citizen science by facilitating awareness and knowledge sharing in relation to biodiversity conservation and threatened species for Victoria. 

CeRDI has received funding from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust to engage with the biodiversity stakeholders and enhance planning. Funding will also advance activities associated with the Visualising Victoria’s Biodiversity interoperable knowledge management portal.

For further information and to participate in the research, contact CeRDI’s Dr Birgita Hansen:

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Health Justice Partnership: A new program for at risk youth in the Central Highlands

Health Justice Partnership website concept, in collaboration with Central Highlands Community Legal Centre (CHCLC) and Ballarat Community Health, have established the Central Highlands Health Justice Partnership. The program was established and launched during 2015 and delivers an integrated medical and legal service with a lawyer from CHCL based at Ballarat Community Health.

The Health Justice Partnership provides early intervention for legal and health issues to improve the outcomes for disadvantaged young people experiencing multiple health and legal issues.  The program has been funded by a major grant from the Victorian Legal Services Board.

Research is now underway to examine the impacts and outcomes of the program, furthering the current understanding of health justice partnerships in the Australian context.

For more information about the program, or evaluation, contact Dr Margaret Camilleri:

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Staff Profile: Paul Feely, Senior Programmer

Paul Feely, Senior Programmer  
Paul Feely, Senior Programmer

Paul Feely, Senior Programmer in CeRDI, was undertaking an Honours degree in Computing when he first connected with the Centre for eCommerce and Communication (now CeRDI) and sought assistance with developing online applications for his Honours project. Paul was subsequently mentored by Andrew Macleod, CeRDI manager, technical projects, to become a junior web developer. Subsequently, Paul commenced part-time work in CeCC which has since led to a career as a programmer.

Today Paul is a highly skilled, full-stack  programmer with over 10 years’ experience developing online applications utilising open source technologies for a diverse range of clients. The scope of Paul’s role includes requirements gathering, application and database design, testing, front end programming (Including HTML, CSS, Javascript, Jquery, Bootstrap, Ajax, Openlayers, Leaflet) and back end development (Including PHP, MySQL, Apache, Linux, Geoserver). Paul has been involved in the development and support of many core systems that underpin CeRDI’s technical offerings and is part of the team responsible for their ongoing uptime.

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HDR Profile:  Himalaya Singh

Himalaya Singh
Himalaya Singh

Spatial epidemiology of sports and leisure injuries of Victoria, Australia

Himalaya Singh has a background in Information Technology and Spatial Information Science. He commenced his PhD in March 2014 and has applied these skills in the sports and physical activity setting. Having a passion for sports and a mind set for spatial thinking, his research focuses on using geospatial methods in the sport injury prevention context. Himalaya's research aim is to provide evidence to policy makers that will lead to better informed decisions in prevention programs and policy development.

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News snippets

VicHealth Award Finalist

Sport and Recreation Spatial was a finalist in the ‘Research into Action’ category, 2015 VicHealth Awards. Sport and Recreation Spatial investigates sport and recreation participation and facilities and their relationship with health. CeRDI developed the spatial mapping tools and website for the project.

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About CeRDI

The Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI) is a research centre at Federation University Australia focused on:

  • the application of information and communications technology (ICT) and the development of innovative, world class knowledge management systems;
  • significantly advancing the digital literacy and knowledge management capabilities of partner organisations;
  • fostering partnerships for the development and implementation of eResearch with industry, government and academia; and
  • measuring the impact of eResearch and digital innovation through longitudinal research.

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Contact CeRDI

For further details about CeRDI’s diverse portfolio of research please visit our website:
or contact Director, Associate Professor Helen Thompson:

Mailing Address
Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation
Federation University Australia
PO Box 691
Ballarat Vic 3353

Office Location
Suite 15, Greenhill Enterprise Centre
Ballarat Technology Park
University Drive
Mount Helen Vic 3350

Phone: +61 3 5327 9314
Fax: +61 3 5327 9895

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