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Higher Degree by Research Students

CeRDI's higher degree by research (HDR) students are part of a multidisciplinary research centre with a strong research culture and established industry connections. Many of CeRDI's HDR students have received industry scholarships that enable deeper research collaboration and facilitate research outputs with national and international relevance.

CURRENT STUDENTS


Chris Bahlo

Chris Bahlo

Chris commenced her PhD with CeRDI in 2016 as part of the Regional Universities Network Precision Agriculture Flagship. Her research is on data interoperability in precision agriculture. She has an honours degree in Information Technology, a Business degree and a diploma in Agricultural Science. Chris works as a Researcher at CeRDI and has previously worked in information technology, agriculture and business roles.

Research profile


Developing and implementing interoperative agricultural data exchange standards
Developing and implementing interoperable agricultural data exchange standards

Precision agriculture has the potential to improve Australian agriculture by making it more resilient, productive and profitable while reducing environmental impact and increasing social value.

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Alison Ollerenshaw

Alison Ollerenshaw

Alison commenced her PhD with CeRDI in 2016 with Melton City Council and Western BACE as industry partners. Her research is examining whether a relationship exists between the characteristic services offered by business incubators and their tenants' psychological capital. She has completed a Masters of Applied Science and a diploma in Project Management. Alison works as a Research Fellow at CeRDI and uses her experience in project management and coordination across a range of research projects and activities.

Research profile


The relationship between business incubator services and the psychological capital of tenants
The relationship between business incubator services and the psychological capital of tenants

Business incubators offer nascent businesses a protective and nurturing environment, supporting tenants to grow their businesses and be sustainable in the long-term.

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Patrick Bonney

Patrick Bonney

Patrick commenced his PhD with CeRDI in 2016 as part of the Regional University Networks Water Futures Fund. His research is examining citizen science and public policy and involves working closely with the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority to measure and explore the issues and opportunities of the Waterwatch Victoria and EstuaryWatch Victoria programs. Patrick works as a Researcher at CeRDI and liaises with volunteers, environmental groups and government and non-government agencies involved with Citizen Science and Natural Resource Management.

Research profile


Citizens as monitors - Crowdsourcing for water policy development
Linking community and waterway management through citizen science

The potential for citizen science to foster community and government connections has been paralleled by a policy agenda to proactively draw on this resource to inform waterway planning and policy development.

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Basharat Ali - PhD Candidate

Basharat Ali

Basharat completed his 1st PhD (Tech, Ops & Logistics) from Northern University of Malaysia, two masters (e-commerce and ICT Adv.) from Uni. of Wollongong, Australia and B.Eng. (Comp. Sys) from MUET, Pakistan. He relates to almost fifteen years of national and international experience in academia, training, mgmt. and industry consultancy, working with Telstra Australia, MEC (Coventry University, UK) and UUM Malaysia. Also, he has conducted academic trainings and workshops on research methods (from research design to data analysis through latest Structural Equation Modelling approaches and SPSS), for post-grad students and academicians.

Research profile


Precision conservation agricultural practices (PCAPs) and agriculture performance: the moderating role of FAIRness of data and resilience
Precision conservation agricultural practices (PCAPs) and agriculture performance: the moderating role of FAIRness of data and resilience

Based on the 2050 projection of agriculture production and the evaluation of environmental impacts of substitute ways to meet the future food demand, it has been established that the environmental implications of meeting this demand depends on the mechanism adopted by global agriculture.

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Elissa Ashton-Smith - PhD Candidate

Elissa Ashton-Smith

Elissa commenced her PhD with CeRDI in February 2019. Prior to this, she was working in the Natural Resource Management sector as a Landcare Facilitator. Elissa's PhD is co-sponsored by Barwon Coast Committee of Management. The PhD will explore the impacts on coastal communities and ecosystems from increased urbanisation, population change and seasonal variation. The research will build upon work that CeRDI completed for Barwon Coast investigating the attitudes, knowledge, and behaviours of the general community in relation to coastal management, including dog control and beach use around Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove.

Research profile


Robert Clark

Robert Clark

Robert commenced his PhD with CeRDI in 2019 with Grains Research and Development Corporation as the industry partner. His research will explore how federating Australian grain trial data can lead to new discoveries that support the ideals of digital agriculture and enduring profitability for growers.

Research profile


Rekha Attanayake

Dr Rekha Attanayake

Rekha commenced her PhD with CeRDI in 2019 with Southern Farming Systems, Victorian Limestone Producers Association and Precision Agriculture as the industry partners. Her research will explore and develop novel approaches to advance understanding of lime type, quality, variability and spreadability on performance for agricultural purposes under current farming systems and practices.

Research profile


Derek Walters

Derek Walters

Derek completed a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in geology in 2009. Since then he has worked in a variety of fields including hydrogeology with the South Australian Department for Water and Biodiversity, as an exploration and production geologist with Stawell Gold Mine in Victoria, a production geologist with ABM Resources in the Tanami Desert, Northern Territory and most recently as a data analyst with the Department of Environment, Lands, Water and Planning. In 2015 he completed his honours at Federation University, which involved a facies description of the Dennington Member of the Bridgewater Formation at Thunder Point in Warrnambool, Victoria for which he received the Professor Ferdinand Mortiz Krause Medal for excellence in geology.

Derek began working with CeRDI in 2018 as part of the team updating the Visualising Victoria's Groundwater portal and commenced his PhD with CeRDI in 2019.

Research profile


An investigation into the services groundwater provides to Port Phillip Bay
An investigation into the services groundwater provides to Port Phillip Bay

Changing climates and higher sea levels are affecting all coastlines globally, and with over 85% of Australians living within 50km of the coast, this is a pressing national issue.

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Peter Weir

Peter Weir

Peter commenced his PhD with CeRDI in February 2020 supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Fee-Offset Scholarship through Federation University Australia. His research will explore the in-paddock variability of plant available water.

Research profile

ALUMNI


David Ebbs

Dr David Ebbs

David completed his PhD with CeRDI in 2019 after more than 25 years working predominantly in the manufacturing sector. His research is on alternative water supplies and investigating a triple bottom line analysis of alternative methods for using stormwater to supplement a city's water supply. He has completed a Chemical Engineering honours degree and a Master of Business Administration. David works as a Researcher at CeRDI and a Lecturer at Federation University in water drainage infrastructure and wastewater treatment.

Thesis: Harvesting stormwater: testing the paradigm by assessing the impacts with an inter-disciplinary case study


Impact of using stormwater to supply a city
Impact of using stormwater to supply a city

As populations increase communities become more urbanised, water use increases and it becomes more difficult for traditional water supplies to meet demand. Urbanisation also has environmental impacts on downstream waterways.

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Himalaya Singh

Dr Himalaya Singh

Himalaya completed a PhD at Federation University in 2018. His research explores the application of spatial methods in sports injury epidemiological studies. Himalaya received the Best Rapid Oral (Student) award at the 13th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference.

Thesis: Spatial epidemiological investigation of sport and leisure injuries in Victoria, Australia


A geospatial analysis of sport/leisure injuries of Victoria, Australia
Spatial Epidemiological Investigation of Sport and Leisure Injuries in Victoria, Australia

Sport and leisure injuries are recognised as a public health issue in Australia. To keep Australia active there is a critical need to prevent injury occurrence.

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Nathan Robinson

Dr Nathan Robinson

Nathan completed a PhD at Federation University in 2016. His research assessed productive soil - landscapes in Victoria using digital soil mapping. Nathan received the prestigious 2017 CG Stephens award from Soil Science Australia, granted to the best PhD for soil science across Australia.

Thesis: Assessing productive soil - landscapes in Victoria using digital soil mapping


Digital Soil Mapping in Australia
Digital Soil Mapping in Australia

Digital Soil Mapping in Australia is a collaborative workspace for researchers working on digital soil mapping in Australia. This workspace has been developed in collaboration with the Australian Advisory Group on Digital Soil Assessment.

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ALUMNI TESTIMONIALS

Dr Himalaya Singh, Alumnus, Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation, Federation University Australia

Himalaya Singh  
   

I am so grateful for the support I received from the CeRDI team and my colleagues throughout my PhD journey. The experiences and skills I developed at CeRDI have been instrumental in supporting me in my career

An online advertisement for a PhD scholarship was the starting point for an exciting journey of research at Federation University Australia for Dr Himalaya Singh.

Himalaya’s post-graduate research explored the application of spatial methods in sports injury epidemiological studies. The geospatial distribution of sport/leisure injury hospitalisations and its association with a broad range of social and economic characteristics provided an opportunity to connect with the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI) at Federation University. With the support of his supervisory team - including CeRDI Director, Associate Professor Helen Thompson - Himalaya was encouraged to fully utilise the resources at CeRDI to assist him with his studies.

Connecting with CeRDI opened up an exciting range of new opportunities for Himalaya. This included conducting applied research with the support of a multidisciplinary and skilled research and technical team within CeRDI.

Himalaya talks positively about his time at CeRDI and believes that the workshop and training opportunities within CeRDI contributed greatly to developing the necessary skills required to conduct and complete his post-graduate studies. He is grateful for the support he received from the technical team which helped him to address gaps in his technical skill set: “CeRDI’s unique approach to research, combined with digital innovation, enabled me to produce technical outputs for my studies which was well received by the broader research community”.

Himalaya, who is originally from Nepal, completed his studies at the Mt Helen campus of Federation University, and resided in Ballarat during his studies. He enjoyed the experience of living and studying in a regional location, off-set by a great sense of community and yet having access to the same amenities as other metropolitan campuses. Himalaya commented: “I really enjoyed my stay in Ballarat during my post-grad studies. In particular I enjoyed the tranquil environment, yet having access to all the amenities. The sense of community and the support from within the university, and outside, played a significant role in assisting me to stay focused and motivated during my studies”.

Within weeks of submitting his PhD thesis for examination, Himalaya landed his dream job as a spatial systems officer for a large local government organisation in Victoria. Himalaya attributes much of the hands-on experienced he received from CeRDI during his PhD with assisting him to gain this position and to utilise his skill base and research knowledge within a thriving community environment.

Himalaya successfully completed his PhD in 2018.

Dr Nathan Robinson, Alumnus, Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation, Federation University Australia

Nathan Robinson  
   

Collegiality and support are the key things that separate CeRDI from other universities and post graduate settings

Geologist Nathan Robinson commenced his PhD at Federation University Australia in 2012, following an illustrious career in soil and landscape analysis working with the Victorian government. Nathan’s interest in soils formed the basis of his award-winning PhD research which examined soil productivity in Victorian landscapes using digital soil mapping.

Nathan’s decision to commence a PhD at Federation University was greatly influenced by the strong reputation of Federation University, and the knowledge and commitment of his principal supervisor, Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus from the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI).

The flexibility, trust and support that Nathan received within CeRDI also contributed to his positive PhD experience. The support of staff within CeRDI, complemented by varied opportunities and experiences proved to be both rewarding and beneficial for Nathan: “The best experiences during my PhD were the additional support and insights I gained from the Centre and the CeRDI staff. A key priority of the Centre is making data accessible and findable. Through my collaboration with CeRDI I was able to examine and introduce these methods into my own research. This proved rewarding and mutually beneficial my studies and to CeRDI”. It is these opportunities and the collegiality and support that Nathan received that he believes, differentiates CeRDI and Federation University from other universities and post graduate settings.

Having studied at a regional university was another benefit associated with his studies. As a Bendigo resident Nathan regularly visited Ballarat and considers the regional university experience a positive one: “Ballarat is a great regional setting, with good connections to Melbourne and other regions. There’s plenty for students to do here with many opportunities for students to connect with one another”.  Nathan also commented on the university culture at Federation University which he believes offers a unique and positive vibe that enables students to be relaxed yet focused on their studies.

Nathan’s advice for those contemplating a PhD or who have already commences their studies is to be prepared to negotiate and work with your institution and supervisors to achieve your study goals. In commenting further Nathan said: “Being realistic about your goals and being clear in your communication is essential. Both CeRDI and Federation University greatly assisted me to succeed with my research goals, ensuring that my study experience was a positive one”.

Nathan completed his PhD in 2016 and was awarded the prestigious Soil Science Australia CG Stephens Medal for the best PhD thesis in soil science (2017). He has since been appointed senior research fellow in CeRDI and is now utilising and extending his research expertise within the Centre’s Agriculture research programme.

Alison Ollerenshaw, Alumnus, Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation, Federation University Australia

Alison Ollerenshaw  
   

Alison commenced her PhD in mid-2016, conducting research into the relationship between business incubator services and the psychological capital of tenants. Melton City Council the Western BACE were industry partners for the project, and her studies were supported by CeRDI. 

Among the many benefits to studying through CeRDI, Alison nominates the access to research-expert staff, having a strong post-graduate community of students, and the availability of many and various practical resources as being particularly important. In commenting further on these benefits Alison said:

The PhD provided a valuable opportunity to complete research in my discipline area (psychology) while receiving guidance and expert advice from a strong supervisory team together backed up by the research and technical expertise in CeRDI. The transition from being a CeRDI staff member to a full time CERDI student was aided by the support I received in CeRDI, and from the Federation University-wide research community.

In particular, Alison referred to the graduate centre program and annual post graduate conference, organised through Federation University, as programs that she also found beneficial during her studies. These opportunities fostered additional learnings, insights and skills that supported her research.

Alison’s PhD supervisors were CeRDI’s Dr Angela Murphy and A/Prof Helen Thompson, and Prof Suzanne McLaren. Having a strong, supportive, and committed team of supervisors is something Alison acknowledges as being essential to pursuing here research and completing her PhD. And while her research was quite unique, the project itself was aligned broadly with CeRDI’s collaborative research program in Health and Wellbeing, ensuring a strong connection between her research and the broader research focus in CeRDI. 

Alison submitted her thesis for examination in late 2019 and is currently employed in CeRDI as a research fellow.

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