skip to content
Meet our team icon

Meet our Team









Alison Ollerenshaw – Faculty of Health
Chris Bahlo – Faculty of Science and Technology
David Ebbs – Faculty of Science and Technology
Himalaya Singh – Faculty of Health
Mahinda Jayasooriya - Faculty of Science and Technology
Patrick Bonney - Faculty of Science and Technology
Shirish Sharma - Faculty of Science and Technology

Helen Thompson

Centre Director: Assoc Prof Helen Thompson

Helen has led Centre activities since 2002 and is responsible for the achievement of all CeRDI organisational objectives in respect of research, project management, partner projects, business development and financial management. Under Helen’s leadership, CeRDI has become one of the University’s most successful research centres, establishing a reputation for excellence at the regional, national and international level. Helen has organisation wide leadership for eResearch. She is engaged in research into the use of ICT and is involved in a range of activities which contribute to the economic and social development of regional and rural Victoria. 

Assoc Prof Thompson's research profile

Call: 03 5327 9418

Peter Dahlhaus

Principal Research Fellow: Assoc Prof Peter Dahlhaus

In a career spanning over 35 years, Peter worked in geotechnical consultancy, the Geological Survey of Victoria, and the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, before joining Federation University in 1988.  Peter holds a Masters in Engineering Geology and a PhD in Hydrogeology and has a comprehensive knowledge of the geology, geomorphology and hydrogeology of south west Victoria where he has been influential in applying his scientific knowledge to direct policy on salinity and soil health management as an author of catchment action plans and strategies, and municipal planning overlays.  Peter is well-known as a science communicator by community groups and as an advisor to Catchment Management Authorities, water authorities and municipalities in the region.  With his colleagues at CeRDI, Peter's current research focuses on spatial data interoperability and visualisation to ensure that natural resource management data, information and knowledge is globally available to researchers, government agencies, municipalities and the public.

Assoc Prof Dahlhaus's research profile

Call: 03 5341 3994

Angela Murphy

Senior Research Fellow: Dr Angela Murphy

Angela has had a 30 year career in the community based sector across metropolitan, rural and regional Victoria. She has extensive practice experience in a range of portfolio areas including Child Protection, the juvenile and adult justice system, disability services and community support. Much of her work involved working with rural and regional communities; a focus which has fuelled her interest in building research knowledge and evidence that is responsive to the unique elements of rural and regional human services practice. Angela joined Federation University in 2000 as a lecturer in social welfare and as a researcher working with communities on a variety of education, welfare, capacity building and justice issues. Angela has undertaken graduate work in both Criminology and Education and completed a PhD on evidence based policy and practice for regional service delivery. Since completion of her doctoral studies she has worked with a range of government and non-government agencies in implementing evidence based policy and practice initiatives.

Angela’s current research is focused on community legal services, with a view to the development of evidence based strategies and resources that are best able to enhance equitable outcomes for individuals and groups in the community.

Dr Murphy's research profile

Call: 03 5327 6198

Nathan Robinson

Senior Research Fellow, Soil Science: Dr Nathan Robinson

Nathan joined the CERDI team in October after working in soil and landscape analysis for the Victorian government for over 18 years. Here Nathan led numerous regional land resource projects in Victoria for the Corangamite, Wimmera and Goulburn Broken CMA regions. More recently, Nathan has been a lead researcher in the use of proximal sensors and rapid sensing techniques in the assessment of soil properties and links to crop yield. He has an Applied Science Degree from the University of Ballarat with Honours in Geology (1999). Nathan completed his PhD at Federation University in 2016 with his research focused around digital soil mapping “Assessing productive soil-landscapes in Victoria using digital soil mapping”. Nathan has served in advisory roles to catchment management authorities and is an active member of the Geomorphology Reference Group of Victoria. Recent publication awards include the 2016 best research paper for the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources - Identification and interpretation of sources of uncertainty in soils change in a global systems-based modelling process, Soil Research. Nathan is currently focused on the advancement of spatial analysis to better understand the links of soil to agricultural production systems.


Call: 03 5327 8436

Alison Ollerenshaw

Research Fellow: Alison Ollerenshaw

Alison joined the CeRDI team in 2013 to provide research support across a range of CeRDI projects and activities, including a focus on promoting the unique research and activities of CeRDI. Over the last 10 years, Alison has worked in the capacity of project officer across the University and brings to this position experience and understanding in project management and coordination, having collaborated on many local and regional projects.  Alison has completed a Masters by Research at the University of Ballarat, and completed a Diploma in Project Management in 2007.

Ms Ollerenshaw's research profile

Call: 03 5327 6201

Birgita Hansen

Research Fellow: Dr Birgita Hansen

Birgita brings to the CeRDI team extensive experience in ecology and environmental management, contributing to improving the management and dissemination of biodiversity knowledge. Her research to date has focused on understanding the ecological response of birds to modification of their habitat, which has included studies into riparian restoration in agricultural landscapes and waterbird monitoring at local and continental scales. Birgita is a long-term member of the volunteer-run Victorian Wader Study Group and an executive committee member of the Australasian Wader Studies Group. She is currently working with private land owners, Landcare groups and Natural Resource Management bodies in northern and south-western Victoria, to improve the science and practice of restoration and land management. Birgita completed her PhD at Monash University in 2009 on conservation genetics of Leadbeater’s Possum.

Dr Hansen's research profile

Call: 03 5327 9952


Research Fellow: Dr Marg Camilleri

Marg has worked in the community legal sector and the justice system for 25 years. Much of her work in the criminal justice area has focused on access to justice in particular, but not exclusively, for people with disabilities. Marg’s PhD, completed in 2010, considered the factors that influence police decision making when considering reports of sexual assault made by adults with cognitive impairments. To this end Marg has worked on a number of state and Australia wide projects. This includes as reference group member for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission report, ‘Beyond doubt: the experiences of people with disabilities reporting crime’.
Marg has recently joined the CeRDI team to lead (in conjunction with Dr Helen Thompson) the Central Highlands Advocacy Health Alliance (AHA), which aims to improve legal, health and wellbeing outcomes for disadvantaged young people. The project, funded by the Legal Services Board includes project partners Ballarat Community Health and Central Highlands Community Legal Centre.

Dr Camilleri's research profile 

Call: 03 5327 6947

Ben Wills

Research Fellow: Dr Benjamin Wills

Ben is exploring how increased information capture and sharing in Australian Agri-food chains can lead to more financially and environmentally sustainable business models. Prior to commencing at CeRDI Ben worked on the ARC funded Pathways to Market industrial transformation hub project at the University of Tasmania, where he used Value Chain Analysis to measure the impact of information systems integration in two high value Australian food chains. As a mixed methods social scientist he uses qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the value creation implications of technology driven practice change for food producers and consumers. Ben holds a PhD in Management (2014), Bachelor of Arts Honours in Human Geography (2007) and Bachelor of Economics (2006) from the University of Tasmania. Ben's PhD research investigated how e-commerce dependent business models within the local/organic food sector are affecting consumer access issues. In addition to academic research, Ben co-founded Tasmania's largest retail food co-operative, Source Community Wholefoods, and has worked as a consultant on a number of local food system development projects in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Dr Wills' research profile

Call: 03 5327 6759 

Bruce Simons

Research Associate: Bruce Simons

Since graduating from ANU in 1980, Bruce has worked as a geophysicist in private industry and the Northern Territory and Victorian geological surveys. While at the Geological Survey of Victoria and, since 2012, at CSIRO, Bruce has been designing information management systems and part of international and national collaborative research projects into data exchange mechanisms and interoperability. In addition to the resulting geology (GeoSciML) and groundwater (GroundWaterML) Open Geospatial Consortium data exchange standards, he has applied the methodologies to the mineral resources, soil, marine, gazetteer, water quality, native vegetation, and electricity and water utility domains. In addition to the challenges of harmonising and delivering different data structures (schematic interoperability) and different content (semantic interoperability) these standards help address, there is the additional challenge of seamlessly integrating the different schematic and semantic data management technologies. Bruce joined CeRDI in 2017 with the aim to help ensure natural resource management data, information and knowledge is globally available to researchers, government agencies, municipalities and the public, while minimising the overheads to data providers.

Mr Simons' research profile

Call: 03 5327 6596

Robert Milne

Research Associate: Robert Milne

Rob has worked in the natural resource management and environmental science fields for over 16 years. Rob worked on a wide range of environmental research and consultancy projects as an environmental scientist for the Centre for Environmental Management (also located within Federation University Australia).  Rob joined CeRDI in 2013 and has worked on a range of knowledge management and spatial applications in the agricultural and natural resource management sectors. Rob completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Management at Ballarat University College in 1992 and worked for five years as a partner in the family farming business at Cavendish, Victoria.  Rob has extensive experience in working with industry, all levels of government and community organisations on a wide range of natural resource management issues.  Rob has developed specialist skills in Geographic Information Systems and data management.

Mr Milne's research profile

Call: 03 5327 9488

Rick Pope

Research Associate: Rick Pope

Rick has been associated with Federation University since 2000 and has been a part time lecturer during that time.  Has been in collaboration with CeRDI since 2015 and has worked with the State Government in many roles since 1972.  Rick completed a Graduate Diploma in Land Rehabilitation in 1998 at the then University of Ballarat.  Rick has extensive exertise in Geographic Information Systems and GPS and has worked these technologies since their first appearance in Victoria.  Has been the developer of many applications, some being, turn key GIS applications for ESSO Australia, Keep Australia Beautiful and the Woady Yaloak Catchment.  Rick has a close working relationship with Local Government, the spatial industry as well as landcare networks in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

Rick in his role in government and as a volunteer has proven skills in engaging stakeholders, collaboration and project management.

Call: 03 5327 9403

Patrick Bonney

Researcher: Patrick Bonney

Patrick commenced his PhD at CeRDI in 2016 and is also employed part-time in the Centre. Patrick is undertaking research examining citizen science and public policy. Both his studies and his part time employment will involve working with volunteers, environmental groups and government and non-government agencies involved with the Citizen Science and Natural Resource Management. For his PhD, Patrick is working closely with the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority to measure and explore the issues and opportunities of Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch programs.

Patrick studied at The University of Melbourne and has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science (Zoology). He has strong industry links and, prior to coming to CeRDI, worked as an aquatic ecologist addressing the impacts of pollution in aquatic environments at the Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management (CAPIM).

The CeRDI supervisory team for Patrick will be Dr Angela Murphy and Dr Birgita Hansen while, as the part of the RUN Water Flagship, co-supervision will also be provided by Dr. Claudia Baldwin from the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Call: 03 5327 9170

David Ebbs

Researcher: David Ebbs

David commenced his PhD with CeRDI in 2015 after more than 25 years working predominantly in the manufacturing sector.  A Chemical Engineering degree and MBA equipped him well for engineering and factory management, specialising in productivity improvements. His research is now on alternative water supplies, and investigating a Triple Bottom Line analysis of alternative methods for using stormwater to supplement a city’s water supply. David also lectures at Federation University in Water Drainage Infrastructure and Wastewater treatment.

Mr Ebbs's PhD Candidate profile

Call: 03 5327 9669

Chris Bahlo

Researcher: Chris Bahlo

Chris commenced her PhD at Federation University in early 2016, as part of the RUN Precision Agriculture Flagship, researching data interoperability in Precision Agriculture. She works part time at CeRDI and as sessional at Federation University. In 2013 she graduated with a Degree in information technology at the University of Ballarat (now Federation University), being awarded the Ballarat University Medal. This was followed by a research Honours year. In 1995, she completed a Business Degree at CSU and prior to that, an Agricultural Science Diploma. She predominantly worked in information technology and agriculture roles, but also has business experience.

Ms Bahlo's PhD Candidate profile

Call: 03 5327 9403

Nick Bradsworth

Research Officer: Nick Bradsworth

Nick joined CeRDI in 2017, after completing honours research at Deakin University. His research used Geographic Information Systems, and modern GPS tracking technology, to study the fine-scale movements of an urban apex predator, the Powerful Owl. Prior to Deakin, Nick completed a Diploma of Conservation and Land Management at Holmesglen. He assists with CeRDI’s environmental projects including the State Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams, Visualising Victoria’s Biodiversity, and a joint project with CSIRO researching the value of environmental data generated as a requirement under Federal legislation.

Call: 03 5327 6510
Skype:03 5327 9900


Jennifer Corbett

Research Officer: Jennifer Corbett

Jennifer commenced working at CeRDI in 2009 while completing a Bachelor of Management (Honours) at the University of Ballarat. Her honours thesis explored Generation Y consumers’ motives for consenting to receive e-marketing communications. She is skilled in a range of eResearch data collection, analysis and reporting tools which she uses to provide support to CeRDI researchers across a range of research projects.

Call: 03 5327 9369

Meghan Taylor

Research Officer: Meghan Taylor

Meghan commenced working with CeRDI in 2011 after completing her VCE. Initially working in an Administrative/Project Officer role, she transitioned into a Research Officer role in early 2015. Meghan has recently completed a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry)/Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Monash University, which has given her a broad range of insight into a range of domains. She is particularly passionate about areas of public health, health systems, quality improvement, evidence-based practice and health data.

Through her studies and work experience Meghan has developed skills in qualitative research. Within the CeRDI qualitative research team, she often takes on responsibility for writing and submitting ethics applications, performing literature reviews and background research, and sourcing, extracting and analysing government and other health and community datasets.

Under the guidance of Dr Angela Murphy, Meghan has played a key role in a number of health and community related research projects in the Grampians region. Currently, along with CeRDI colleagues, she is leading a collaboration with community, state and local government, health and research organisations, known as the Wimmera Information Portal.

Call: 03 5327 9403

Dr Megan Wong

Research Officer: Dr Megan Wong

Megan brings to the CeRDI team a broad range of experience gained across 15 years in the Science, Environment and Education sectors. Her PhD completed in 2014 at Monash University investigated the association of soil biology with vegetation and land use change across the Riverine Plains of Victoria. Her work has taken her from a medical research laboratory to a wide range of agricultural and natural landscapes in Australia where she has monitored, established trials, collated and analysed data for Government Organisations, Community Groups and Universities. She has also worked across Education Sectors including teaching environmental subjects at the Tertiary Level and conducting reviews and evaluations in the Adult Education sector.

Dr Wong's research profile

Call: 03 5327 6536

Angela Neyland

Research Officer: Dr Angela Neyland

Angela Neyland joined the team at CeRDI in 2017. She is a geo-archaeologist with a PhD from the Australian National University focused on Aboriginal stone artefact technology and desert landscapes and a Bachelor of Science in geology from the University of Queensland. From this research and almost a decade of working in cultural heritage consulting, she has significant experience of working with spatial datasets and integrating information to create new understandings of landscapes both past and present. She is assisting the CeRDI team part-time on a range of projects including Visualising Victoria’s Groundwater.

Call: 03 5327 6107

Angela Neyland

Research Officer: Julie Parker

Julie began working with CeRDI in 2017. She has a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Master of Science in Applied Geography from the University of North Texas. Her graduate research examined household water use and water management strategies of pastoralists in the Monte Desert, Argentina.

Julie’s fieldwork in the Mendoza Province, Argentina also led her to explore interests in viniculture and viticulture.  Prior to joining CeRDI, she travelled to several viticultural regions to participate in grape harvests, including South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and northern California.  She has a strong background in geography and experience conducting research, which she uses to assist CeRDI with the Online Farm Trials project.

Call: 03 5327 9672

Andrew Macleod

Manager Technical Projects: Andrew Macleod

Andrew has extensive experience in project planning and control and in the implementation of major information technology projects. With a strong understanding of eCommerce and portal technology and strategies, Andrew's technical skills include web development and programming (PHP, XML/XSLT and JavaScript). Previous projects have ranged from database design and implementation to community portals and web pages. Andrew has worked extensively with regional and rural communities to implement effective web-based services. Andrew completed a Bachelor of Computing at the University of Ballarat, followed by an Honours in Applied Science (Information Technology). Andrew has been with CeRDI since 1999 and has been Technical Manager since 2002. Andrew achieved certification as a Zend Certified Engineer (ZCE) during 2006.

Call: 03 5327 9315

Paul Feely

Senior Systems Analyst Programmer: Paul Feely

Paul joined CeRDI in 2003 and has over 10 years’ experience in both front end and back end development  utilising various open source technologies.

Recent major projects as a lead developer  include Waterwatch Victoria, EstuaryWatch Victoria, Online Farm Trials and Sport and Recreation Spatial.

He completed his dual Bachelor of Computing / Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Ballarat in 2001, and completed his Honours in Computing during 2003 while working part-time with CeRDI.

Call: 03 5327 6157

Scott Limmer

Systems Analyst Programmer: Scott Limmer

Scott joined the CeRDI development team on a part-time basis in January 2008 to assist with the expanding programming and web development activities of the Centre. Scott completed  a Bachelor of Information Technology at the University of Ballarat in 2009 and became a full-time member of CeRDI in 2010, introducing new multimedia and web2 technology skills to the team. 

Call: 03 5327 6231

Heath Gillett

Senior Programmer: Heath Gillett

Heath joined CeRDI in June 2009. After receiving a full- time scholarship, he completed a Bachelor of Computing at the University of Ballarat in 1999. After three years working on application development and support for a multi-national company based in Melbourne, he returned to Ballarat to provide IT support at Telstra. Heath has experience in design, programming, implementation and support of various IT systems. 

Call: 03 5327 9362

Peter Plucinski

Programmer: Peter Plucinski

Peter joined the CeRDI development team in early 2016. He specializes in modern PHP, MySQL and JavaScript as well as front end development. He brings knowledge and experience with MVC frameworks such as Laravel and versioning tools such as Git to the team. Prior to joining CeRDI, Peter worked as a software developer for a Melbourne based company. Earlier, Peter left a career in the finance sector to pursue his interest in using software to solve interesting problems. He holds a Bachelor of Finance and a Master of Commerce from The University of Adelaide.

Call: 03 5327 9043

Himalaya Siingh

GIS Analyst: Himalaya Singh

Himalaya Singh recently joined CeRDI as a GIS Analyst after working as a research assistant at Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP).

He has completed Master’s Degree in Information Technology from University of Southern Queensland and a Masters in Geographic Information Technology from University of Melbourne.

He is currently undertaking a PhD at Federation University that is focused on the application of spatial methods in sports injury epidemiological studies.

Himalaya has specialist skills in spatial analysis and spatial data management.

Mr Singh's PhD Candidate profile

Call: 03 5327 9151

Craig Briody

Web Developer: Craig Briody

Craig joined CeRDI in 2002. Prior to joining CeRDI, Craig worked in Melbourne-based software company gaining valuable practical experience in the ICT sector. Craig specialises in the development and implementation of web-based projects as well as having significant experience in the development and delivery of comprehensive client training programs. Craig completed a Bachelor of Computing at the University of Ballarat in 1999.

Call: 03 5327 9319

Sudeera Abeywickrema

Web Developer: Sudeera Abeywickrema

Sudeera joined the CeRDI team as a Web Developer in September 2013. Prior to joining CeRDI, Sudeera worked as the Web Administrator of University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. During his career he has gathered invaluable skills in web development and implementing web based tools for academic activities.  Sudeera completed his Bachelor of IT at University of Colombo in 2008.

Call: 03 5327 6840

Drew Collins

Technical Assistant: Drew Collins

Drew joined CeRDI in January 2013 after doing work experience at the end of 2011 and provides technical assistance across a range of projects. Having completed his Bachelor of Film and Television at Swinburne University, he now works at CeRDI on a part time basis.

Call: 03 5327 6416

Martijn Schroder

Business Innovation and Optimisation Manager: Martijn Schroder

Martijn commenced with CeRDI in Sep 2017 in the role of business innovation and optimisation manager. Prior to his role at CeRDI he was the digital transformation manager for the City of Ballarat, creating their digital and innovation strategy and implementation capability. He completed a degree in Physics and a masters in psychology (cognitive, decision making, AI) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, after which he pursued a management consulting career and worked business optimisation and innovation, continuous improvement, transformation and change for over 20 years. Martijn is known for his evidence based approaches to business challenges and has applied strategy, systems thinking and data analytics to assist both commercial and government organisation. Examples include Cap Gemini, Myer, Caltex, Leighton Contractors, Dept of Treasury and Finance, ATO and many others. His focus is on expanding the research reach of CeRDI in new and innovative areas including for example roads maintenance.

Call: 03 5327 6906

Kathy Gamble

Administration Support Officer: Kathy Gamble

Kathy joined CeRDI in January 2013 after 5 years working at FedUni’s Business School. Prior to joining FedUni Kathy worked as an art teacher and has a Diploma of Fine Art and a Graduate Diploma of Education. Kathy assists the CeRDI team with administrative support across various projects as well as being PA to the Director.

Call: 03 5327 9403


Back to Top