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Meet our Team


Assoc Prof Helen Thompson

Centre Director: Assoc Prof Helen Thompson

Since 2002 Helen has been responsible for the achievement of all CeRDI objectives in respect of research partnerships, engagement and impact. Under Helen's leadership CeRDI has become one of Federation University's most successful research centres, establishing a reputation for excellence at the regional, national and international level. Helen’s research interests are focused in four areas: 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 and capacity of partner organisations; fostering the development and implementation of eResearch within industry, government and academia; and measuring the impact of eResearch and digital innovation through longitudinal research.

Call: 03 5327 9418

Assoc Prof Peter Dahlhaus

Principal Research Fellow: Assoc Prof Peter Dahlhaus

Peter's career spans 40 years in engineering geology, environmental geology and hydrogeology working in private and public sectors, investigating the geology, geomorphology, soils, groundwater and geohazards in south west Victoria. He has been influential in applying his scientific knowledge to direct policy on salinity, soils and catchment management. Peter is well-known as a science communicator by his students and community groups, and as an independent 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 environmental data, information and knowledge are globally and publicly available. He is an active collaborator on the development of international data exchange standards and a participant in national Cooperative Research Centres. Peter's passion is for establishing data democracies.

Call: 03 5341 3994

Dr Angela Murphy

Senior Research Fellow: Dr Angela Murphy

Angela has had a 30 year career in the community 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 systems, disability services and community support. Much of her work has 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.

Call: 03 5327 6198

Dr Nathan Robinson

Senior Research Fellow: Dr Nathan Robinson

Nathan joined the CeRDI team in 2017 after working in soil and landscape analysis for the Victorian government for over 18 years. Nathan has 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.

Nathan 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. 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. 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

Dr Marg Camilleri

Senior 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 national projects, including as a reference group member for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission report, 'Beyond doubt: the experiences of people with disabilities reporting crime'.

Marg joined the CeRDI team in 2014 to lead the Central Highlands Health Justice Partnership, which is delivering an integrated health justice service to improve the legal, health and wellbeing outcomes for disadvantaged young people.

Call: 03 5327 6947

Dr Birgita Hansen

Senior 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 possums.

Call: 03 5327 9952

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 as a project officer across Federation University. Alison has experience in project management and coordination, having collaborated on many local and regional projects. Alison completed a Masters by Research at the University of Ballarat, and a Diploma in Project Management in 2007. Alison commenced her PhD with CeRDI in 2016 with Melton City Council and Western BACE as industry partners.

Call: 03 5327 6201

Research Fellow: Dr Nimesha Fernando

Nimesha completed her PhD at The University of Melbourne in the School of Land and Environment in 2014. Her PhD research was on wheat grain quality dynamics under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations in Mediterranean climate conditions. Following this she joined the Department of Environment and Primary Industries as a research scientist where she investigated phenolic compounds in pulse crops which are having health benefits to humans, and identified their genotypic and environmental variation. Nimesha was awarded the prestigious Alltech Young Scientist award in 2013. Her current research focus is on weed competition with crop species under changing climate conditions and aquatic invasive plant species management.

Call: 03 5327 9189

Dr Megan Wong

Research Associate: 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. Megan completed her PhD in 2014 at Monash University which 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. Megan has also worked across education sectors, including teaching environmental subjects at the tertiary level and conducting reviews and evaluations in the adult education sector.

Call: 03 5327 6536

Bruce Simons

Research Associate: Bruce Simons

Since graduating from The Australian National University 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 designed information management systems and been a 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.

Call: 03 5327 6596

Rick Pope

Research Associate: Rick Pope

Rick has been associated with Federation University since 2000 and has been a lecturer during that time. He 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 University of Ballarat. Rick has extensive expertise in Geographic Information Systems and GPS and has worked with these technologies since their first appearance in Victoria. Rick has been the developer of many applications, some being turn key GIS applications for ESSO Australia, Keep Australia Beautiful and the Woady Yaloak Catchment Group. Rick has a close working relationship with local government, the spatial industry as well as Landcare networks in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. In his role in government and as a volunteer, Rick has proven skills in engaging stakeholders, collaboration and project management.



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 a sessional at Federation University. In 2013 she graduated with a Degree in Information Technology from the University of Ballarat, being awarded the Ballarat University Medal. This was followed by a research Honours year. In 1995, she completed a Business Degree at Charles Sturt University and prior to that, an Agricultural Science Diploma. Chris has worked in information technology and agriculture roles, and also has business experience.

Call: 03 5327 9463

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 involve working with volunteers, environmental groups and government and non-government agencies involved with 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 the Waterwatch Victoria and EstuaryWatch Victoria 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.

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

Call: 03 5327 9170

Peter Codd

Research Coordinator: Peter Codd

Peter commenced part-time work with CeRDI in 2018, assisting in updating the historical data on the Natural Resource Management Planning Portal for the Corangamite region.

Peter's career spans over 40 years, having worked for the Victorian government and Corangamite Catchment Management Authority in various roles. Peter has worked in many senior management roles during that time and is a respected professional who has extensive networks in the environmental, sustainability, social and natural resource management industries, from grassroots to all levels of government.

Peter has been involved in a number of projects during his career, invited on a number of panels including Melbourne Water's Expert Input Panel on River Health, and managed and co-authored the Corangamite Community Strategy for the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority.

Peter has worked closely with CeRDI during his career, assisting with the initial establishment of the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority Knowledge Base, salinity, groundwater and soils projects. Peter is well known for his community engagement, catchment and resource management knowledge.

Peter has and continues to be heavily involved in community projects, currently secretary of the Rotary Club of Grovedale Waurn Ponds, board member of the Geelong Region Local Learning and Employment Network and undertaking a mentoring role with the Victorian Police as part of a partnership with Rotary and Victoria Police.

Peter has completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (1987) and a Diploma of Business Management (2009).

Call: 0417 336 815

Dr Judi Walters

Research Coordinator: Dr Judi Walters

Judi joined the team at CeRDI in 2015, having worked extensively within the field of scientific publishing and editing. She has a PhD from The University of Melbourne where her research focussed on regeneration ecology of eucalypt forests. Judi now works part-time at CeRDI and as a editor for CSIRO Publishing.


Derek Walters

Research Officer: 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.

Call: 03 5327 6125

Research profile

Research Officer: Kate Light

Kate is a specialist in breeding canola with disease (blackleg) resistance. In CeRDI she is working on the Online Final Reports and Online Farm Trials projects.


Dr Angela Neyland

Research Officer: Dr Angela Neyland

Angela completed a PhD on the geo-archaeology of central Australian Aboriginal prehistoric stone technology and landscapes at The Australian National University. Her undergraduate studies and honours degrees are in geology and archaeology from The University of Queensland. She has worked as a heritage consultant and senior archaeologist in South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria and in the area of environmental sustainability and community engagement for local government.

Angela joined CeRDI in 2017 and is assisting the natural environment research team part-time, with projects including Visualising Victoria's Biodiversity, State Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams (SWIFFT) and the Port Phillip Bay Litter Data Collection and Monitoring project. Angela brings specialist skills in geographic information systems and a passion for environmental sustainability, heritage and multidisciplinary research.

Call: 03 5327 6162

Jude Channon

Research Officer: Jude Channon

Jude worked as a Research Officer with CeRDI in 2017 and in 2019 returned to CeRDI after taking time out to implement a large scale healthcare project across regional Victoria. Jude has a Masters in Education from RMIT University where her research focussed on youth and community development in South Africa.

Call: 03 5327 6428


Andrew MacLeod

Manager Technical Projects: Andrew MacLeod

Andrew has extensive experience in project planning and the implementation of major information technology projects. With a strong understanding of eCommerce, portal technology and strategies, Andrew's technical skills include web development and programming (PHP, XML/XSLT and JavaScript). Andrew has worked on projects that have ranged from database design and implementation to community portals and web pages. He 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. In 2006 Andrew achieved certification as a Zend Certified Engineer.

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. Paul completed his 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 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 web 2.0 technology skills to the team.

Call: 03 5327 6231

Heath Gillett

Senior Programmer: Heath Gillett

Heath joined CeRDI in 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 the design, programming, implementation and support of various IT systems.

Call: 03 5327 9362

Sudeera Abeywickrema

Web Developer/Programmer: Sudeera Abeywickrema

Sudeera joined the CeRDI team as a Web Developer in 2013. Prior to joining CeRDI, Sudeera worked as the web administrator of the 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 Information Technology at the University of Colombo in 2008.

Call: 03 5327 6840

Craig Briody

Web Developer: Craig Briody

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

Call: 03 5327 9319

Dan Ferguson

Technical Assistant: Dan Ferguson

Dan joined CeRDI in 2019 and provides technical assistance across a range of projects.



Robert Milne

Project Manager: Robert Milne

Rob has worked in the natural resource management and environmental science fields since 1997. Rob worked on a wide range of environmental research and consultancy projects as an Environmental Scientist for Federation University's Centre for Environmental Management. 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.

Call: 03 5327 9488

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

Kathy Gamble

Administration Support Officer: Kathy Gamble

Kathy joined CeRDI in 2013 after 5 years working at Federation University's Business School. Prior to joining Federation University, 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 the personal assistant to the Centre Director.

Call: 03 5327 9403

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