skip to content

CeRDI Newsletter Spring 2021

Message from the Director

Associate Professor Helen Thompson  

Associate Professor
Helen Thompson


The key outcomes from the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow will guide the commitments and actions from countries and leaders across the world to reduce rises in global temperatures to within 1.5 degrees, prioritising climate funding and supporting vulnerable communities.

The challenges and opportunities for each nation associated with carbon market regulations and reporting climate data necessitates strong action, clear goals, and priorities, including the development of technology for collecting and reporting on metrics to meet these important climate goals.

Research and technology projects conducted within CeRDI have the potential to contribute to national knowledge and activities associated with meeting Australia’s climate obligations. Our Centre’s strengths, contributions and collaborations on projects supporting the agriculture sector are already informing efficiencies in farming practices such as testing and utilising data that can support improvements to soil and to assist farmers to refine their farming practices in response to changes in climate. Visualising Australasia’s Soils and Online Farm Trials provide examples of existing contributions in this area, with the newly funded Rangelands Carbon Measurement project set to expand our involvement in research that supports data capture for carbon measurement on farms.

The work we are conducing in Hazards Planning and Resilience are furthering the opportunities for industry, local government and communities to respond proactively to climate change. Our involvement with includes partnering on the development of the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, supporting the How Well are We Adapting Portal, and the South West Climate Portal. These are just a selection of CeRDI projects that are responding to changing environments, necessitating more responsive insights through knowledge and data.


Mine Rehabilitation Trials Online 

Mine Rehabilitation Trials Online  

The Mine Rehabilitation Trials Online (MRTO) project is a foundational project of the Cooperative Research Centre for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC TiME), led by A/Prof Peter Dahlhaus and Dr. Patrick Bonney. The project commenced in late 2020 and aims to provide access to mine rehabilitation knowledge and data for CRC TiME participants, and the broader mine rehabilitation industry. These systems would typically include data and information on rehabilitation trials and demonstrations, remediation practices, hazard management, landform management, water management, air quality management and stakeholder consultation.

The success of MRTO was dependent on the development of a social and technical architecture that enabled an accepted and trusted platform for data sharing. In addition, CRC TiME stakeholders and the broader mining industry needed to see value in the project. To address these issues, the project involved a social research component to explore and document use-cases that provide a value proposition for the establishment of a CRC TiME knowledge management system for mine rehabilitation trials. It also involves the development of a pilot data management portal to test the potential to federate data from disparate sources for the two case studies (Pilbara and Latrobe Valley) and work through the potential barriers and benefits with the project participants. Finally, David Lemon (CSIRO) develop an architectural framework (covering social, information and technical elements) and guidelines for suitable data governance and stewardship.

Kangaroo Grass, as a Crop and to Heal Country

Kangaroo Grass, as a Crop and to Heal Country  

The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation trading as DJAARA is successfully leading the agricultural project, Djandak Dja Kunditja (Country Healing its Home) using the highly regarded Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra), grown as a modern perennial broadacre cropping system.  

DJAARA’s business enterprise arm, Djandak, provides a vision for a sustainable future through its leadership of the project. The project will enable the establishment and revival of growing seed for landscape regeneration and as a modernised food crop from its traditional origins over thousands of years.

“The Djandak Dja Kunditja project will grow a large-scale agricultural crop, a crop that is a perineal and suitable to grow across Dja Dja Wurrung Country, especially in our drying climate. The project will enable Dja Dja Wurrung People to combine their Cultural Knowledge with modern agricultural technology to build an exciting Traditional Owner led and owned agricultural business” comments Djandak operations manager, Trent Gibson.

Agricultural Research Federation Platform

Agriculture Research Federation  

The Agricultural Research Federation (AgReFed) Platform, a collaboration between CeRDI, University of Sydney, Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF) and Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), commenced earlier this year with the aim of accelerating research innovation and expanding AgReFed participation.  

The AgReFed platform supports collaboration and innovative insights in agricultural research, development and policy by improving the discoverability of trusted, reusable and analysis-ready agricultural research data across Australia. Three core deliverables will be completed over the coming 18 months including a) developing tools to assist researchers to improve data findability and accessibility associated with the FAIR data practices, b) enabling the identification and integration of high value, third party data sets from the grains and agronomy research sectors, and c) utilising data for reuse and sharing across the agricultural industry.

Virtual Honour Roll

Ballarat RSL - Virtual Honour Roll  

Collaboration between the Ballarat RSL and CeRDI has culminated in the establishment of a virtual Honour Roll , recording the men and women from Ballarat and surrounding districts that enlisted during World War II. Funded by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs through the Commemorative Grants program, this project enables members of the public to access to information about local residents who served during World War II. 

CeRDI created the platform hosting the honour roll, which can be accessed from the homepage for the Ballarat RSL . The development of a virtual Honour Roll provides family members of the service personnel, and other members of the public with easy, online access to service details, including the service number, name, rank and branch of service, and enlistment dates, along with printable certificates of service. The site also includes a feature allowing visitors to place of a virtual poppy against names on the Honour Roll. 

Green Scripts

Green Scripts  

Staff at CeRDI recently completed an online resource to support Green Scripts and the Dementia Sensory and Forest Trail at Ballarat’s Woowookarung National Park . Green Scripts is a dementia-friendly social prescribing project aimed at linking people with dementia and their careers with dementia-inclusive community activities.

The online resource delivers information to support the health experiences and benefits for people with dementia and their carers in using the new park. Social prescribing, which is encouraged by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners as a routine for primary health practitioners, is an alternative method for improving the health outcomes of patients through the prescribing of social and community activities. 


Chronicling Aboriginal Heroism

280 pixels wide by 187 pixels high  

The website and mapping portal for the Aboriginal Heroes of Fire, Food and Flood project was recently launched. The project documents the stories of Aboriginal heroes in shaping Victoria’s history between 1800 and 1930.  

Associate Professor Fred Cahir and Dr Dan Tout, historians from the School of Arts, are leading the project. Research for the project involved extensive consultation and collaboration with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, historians and historical societies enabling the collation of stories highlighting Aboriginal acts of heroism. The stories are available in an accessible format on the project website, with digital mapping of Aboriginal heroism.

Rangelands Carbon Measurement 

Rangelands Carbon Measurement  

Researchers at Federation University are taking a lead role in a $6.5M project which aims to transform how rangeland farmers measure, manage and trade carbon. The project is a collaboration involving Australia’s largest beef producer, the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo), alongside the University of Technology Sydney, Charles Sturt University and three technology partners, Cibo Labs, FLINTpro (Mullion Group), and Carbon link.

The Food Agility CRC supported project will be implemented over three years with CeRDI and the Federation Business School contributing to the research. A key outcome associated with the project is the development of a tool to accurately and affordably measure soil carbon in Australian rangelands, which comprise 75% of the nation’s landmass. It is anticipated that the tool will assist with reducing reliance on expensive soil tests while facilitating farmer management of soil health and participation in the growing carbon market.

Federation University will receive approximately $1 million funding for the project which will expand opportunities for the university to have a real-world impact through collaboration with private sector companies and other universities.

Visualising Australasia’s Soils: Award finalist

Visualising Australasia’s Soils: Award finalist  

Visualising Australasia’s Soils, a CeRDI-led project funded by the Soil CRC was recently selected as one of three finalists in this year’s IoT Awards for the Interoperability by Design category.

Visualising Australasia’s Soils is an interoperable spatial knowledge system that provides Soil CRC participants and the broader agricultural industry with access to data, information and knowledge on Australasian soils.

Award finalists were celebrated and winners announced with short videos for each category published online . In the video, the award judges present an overview of the importance of interoperability by design, and detail why each of the finalists were nominated and which features of VAS, its data sharing and collaboration, impressed the judges. Senquip ORB was announced as the winner of the category and we extend our congratulations to them.

PhD Scholarships

Federation University with industry support from IBM is currently inviting applicants for 10 PhD scholarships . Projects have been co-designed and will be co-supervised by IBM scientists and leading academics within the University’s Research Centres. Two of the PhD projects will be led by CeRDI academics including:

Staff Profiles

Dr Francisco Ascui  

Dr Francisco Ascui


Dr Francisco Ascui, Professor Environmental Accounting 

Francisco Ascui joined CeRDI on a part-time basis as Professor of Environmental Accounting in 2021, initially to provide input to a Food Agility CRC project with National Australia Bank on Sustainable Agribusiness Adaptations . Francisco is an internationally recognised expert in environmental accounting, finance and risk management, with a PhD in carbon accounting, an MBA and an MSc in Environmental Change and Management. He worked for ten years in international energy and carbon markets before moving into academia in 2009. At the University of Edinburgh Business School between 2009 and 2014 he co-founded and directed the Centre for Business, Climate Change, and Sustainability and developed the world’s first MSc in Climate Change Finance and Investment . In 2015 his work on carbon accounting was identified by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as one of 50 landmark research contributions over the last 50 years and in recent years he has pioneered the development of a standardised methodology for natural capital risk assessment , which has been promoted by the Capitals Coalition , Natural Capital Finance Alliance and the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).

In addition to his academic role he is also active as a consultant, having delivered over 100 projects in more than 20 different countries for clients including multilateral agencies, governments, investment banks and companies. He is currently working on projects with the World Bank, the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation , ClimateWorks Australia and the Soil CRC .

Francisco’s interests lie in addressing the social and institutional challenges that often prevent the necessary finance from flowing into solutions to environmental problems. These challenges often include issues to do with measurement, accounting, reporting and verification, as well as the associated human capacity, institutions, policy and regulation. He is an interdisciplinary scholar who believes that we can only solve these challenges by actively working together to bridge disciplinary silos.


Dr Carolyn Staines  

Dr Carolyn Staines


Dr Carolyn Staines, Research Associate

Dr Carolyn Staines joined CeRDI in 2021 as a generalist researcher to provide support across a range of projects.
Carolyn has a richly diverse research background including in psycholinguistics, women’s health, farm safety, injury epidemiology, cancer epidemiology, nursing practice and patient care. With three decades of research experience, Carolyn enjoys applying her skills and knowledge wherever they are needed.

Carolyn completed a PhD at the Monash University Accident Research Centre in 2013. Her work explored the evolution of drowning deaths, and their prevention, over a period of a century. It aimed to inform the prevention of drowning deaths in developing communities and enabled Carolyn to contribute to two WHO reports on drowning prevention: World Report on Child Injury Prevention, 2008; Global Report on Drowning: Preventing a Leading Killer, 2014.

To complement her research skills, Carolyn also brings her experience as a scientific writer/editor where her focus is always on clear communication, making the language and message as simple as possible.


Dr Azadeh Noori Hoshyar  

Dr Azadeh Noori Hoshyar


Dr Azadeh Noori Hoshyar, Research Associate

Dr. Azadeh Noori Hoshyar is a lecturer in information technology at Federation University Australia’s Brisbane campus. Prior to that, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at Bond University, and received her PhD from Western Sydney University (WSU) in 2019. Azadeh has a Master’s degree in engineering from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and a Master’s in information technology (computer science) from the National University of Malaysia. Her research expertise includes artificial intelligence, image processing, and signal processing. She has worked on several AI-based projects in different real-world applications. Dr. Azadeh has published widely in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals and at international conferences.  

Azadeh is currently working on the project to detect and classify defects on mining structures using deep learning technique. 

She has received different awards and grants including “Women in STEM Researcher of the Year Award 2020”, “RSP funding” and “$50,000 funding from industry”.  

Azadeh is a member of the Australian Computer Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Australian Network of Structural Health Monitoring and IHM Lab (Western Sydney School of Engineering). 

News Snippets

CRC for High Performance Soils Annual Report 2021  

CRC for High Performance Soils Annual Report 2021: The CeRDI-led, collaborative project Visualising Australasia’s Soils was featured in the 2020-2021 Soil CRC Annual Report . In the report, VAS was presented as a case study documenting the achievements of the pilot project for improving soil data access and development of a dedicated data portal for project partners. 

Presentation at 2021 TERN Symposium: CeRDI’s Dr Megan Wong recently presented at the TERN Science Symposium. The symposium provides a forum for sharing both transdisciplinary and traditional approaches to ecosystem science research, technological development, data system innovation, collaboration and action. Megan gave a presentation about enabling soil data reuse for ecosystem management and decision making using a standards-based approach . Visualising Australasia’s Soils provides the backdrop for enabling soil data to be discovered and accessed and Megan provides a brief demonstration of the VAS portal during the presentation.


HDR News

Dr Chris Bahlo, PhD: Congratulations to Dr Chris Bahlo who was recently awarded her PhD and received her testamur.  Chris’s thesis is titled Open data and interoperability standards: Opportunities for animal welfare in extensive livestock systems. Principal supervisor for Chris’s PhD was Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus together with associate supervisor, Associate Professor Helen Thompson. Since completing studies, Chris has been employed in CeRDI providing technical and research expertise on a range of projects, including the AgReFed project.

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.

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

Subscribe to the CeRDI Newsletter Mailing List

I would like to subscribe to the CeRDI Newsletter Mailing List to receive notifications of future CeRDI Newsletters.

If you have any feedback, please email

Back to Top