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CeRDI Newsletter Autumn 2017

Message from the Director

Associate Professor Helen Thompson  
Associate Professor:
Helen Thompson

Welcome to the latest newsletter from the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI). With so much activity underway, this newsletter provides an opportunity to capture and celebrate recent research milestones and successes.

Engagement linked to Federation University’s participation in the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for High Performance Soils and the Food Agility CRC has been extensive since funding decisions were announced. This included hosting the Food Agility CRC Roadshow in Ballarat on 29 May 2017 with more than 40 research, industry and government stakeholders attending.

During May, CeRDI launched its new look website. The new design work, coupled with extensive, up-to-date content ensures the CeRDI website is the ‘go-to place’ to learn about what we do, who we are collaborating with and what we are currently working on. If you haven’t visited yet, please have a look and let us know what you think:

CeRDI Engagement Activities

Research Associate: Robert Milne  
Research Associate:
Robert Milne

CeRDI staff have been involved in a range of forums and engagement activities that contribute to public policy development and generate positive impacts for regional industries and communities. Engagement activities often reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of CeRDI staff across our collaborative research programs.

In March 2017, Rob Milne represented CeRDI at the Victorian Government’s Digital Roundtable. Focusing on accelerating new technologies within agriculture, the Roundtable brought together farmers, technology experts and industry leaders and was chaired by the State Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development, Jaala Pulford. A key aim of the event was to identify ways to harness the benefits of on-farm technologies and ensure Victoria remains an industry leader in online and digital innovations. Rob has firsthand knowledge of the agricultural industry and is project leader for Online Farm Trails, which uses the latest technology to improve access to on-farm research for the Australian grains industry.


Funding awarded through the VicHealth’s Alcohol Culture Change Grants for Local Councils

 CeRDI researchers and participants during a forum in February for the pilot study examining rural alcohol culture and change in the Wimmera  
 CeRDI researchers and participants
during a forum in February for the pilot
study examining rural alcohol culture
and change in the Wimmera

Horsham Rural City Council (HRCC), in partnership with CeRDI, have been successful in securing funding through the VicHealth’s Alcohol Culture Change Grants Initiative for Local Councils.

The Alcohol Culture Change Initiative aims to prevent alcohol related harm by improving cultures to reduce risky drinking within Victorian subpopulations. VicHealth are investing $3.1 million to drive cultural change in at risk populations. The initiative recognises that the ‘one size fits all’ approach does not address the diverse drinking cultures within the Victorian community, and have funded targeted programs in the hope that this will have a greater impact.

During 2016, CeRDI was engaged to collaborate with the HRCC in an application to VicHealth’s Alcohol Culture Change Grants Initiative for Local Councils. HRCC was one of eight councils state-wide to receive funding for a pilot (Stage 1) study to assess alcohol culture and identify potential health interventions leading to cultural change and safer, reduced alcohol consumption for young people (aged 15-20 years) in the region.(Update: pilot project identifying rural alcohol culture and change in the Wimmera.)

The project aimed to capture insights to form an understanding of the current practices of alcohol consumption and alcohol misuse in the region, and to identify opportunities for cultural change to reduce alcohol use.

Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Funding for biodiversity projects

VVB web portal  
Helen Macpherson Smith Trust Funding
for biodiversity projects

CeRDI has been awarded additional funding from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMST) to continue important capacity building work for the State Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams (SWIFFT) and Visualising Victoria's Biodiversity (VVB) projects. The Trust have awarded $90,000 in funding over two years under the Trust’s multi-year community grants program.

The HMST funding will facilitate engagement with stakeholders and allow for implementation of improvements to advance interoperable data sharing and knowledge management.

The SWIFFT network is an initiative supported by CeRDI, the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), HMST and a network of stakeholders. It aims to advance citizen science by facilitating awareness and knowledge sharing in relation to biodiversity conservation and threatened species for Victoria. 

CeRDI, under the leadership of Birgita Hansen and Rob Milne, has conducted previous work with SWIFFT, particularly around knowledge sharing and engagement with biodiversity stakeholders and to enhance planning (State-wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams Research).

New website for CeRDI

Throughout 2017, CeRDI staff have been working towards a ‘new look’ CeRDI website. This work culminated in the launch of the new website in May.

In addition to major content updates, returning website users will notice a new look and feel, with better representation of the major research and technology advances that CeRDI has achieved in recent years.

The working group for the website redevelopment was instrumental in implementing changes to the website and preparing new content and updating content for the site. In particular, Joel Epstein, Craig Briody, Andrew MacLeod and Alison Ollerenshaw provided substantial input on all parts of the website redevelopment.

Visitors to the new website can access comprehensive information about the Centre’s research programs, research themes and projects. There is also background information on research which CeRDI undertakes in the area of Data Discovery, Technology Innovation and Longitudinal Impact.

Positive feedback is being received about the new website content and layout. You can explore the new website at:

CeRDI home page   CeRDI project page OFT


Sport and Recreation Spatial wins two prestigious awards

L-R: Margot Foster, Chair of Vicsport, Helen Thompson, Rochelle Eime, and Jerril Rechter, CEO of Vichealth  
L-R: Margot Foster, Chair of Vicsport,
Helen Thompson, Rochelle Eime,
and Jerril Rechter, CEO of Vichealth



In April, Sport and Recreation Spatial was awarded the 2016 VicHealth Victorian Sport Development Initiative of the Year Award.  The Victorian Sport Development award recognises the extensive research being conducted by the Sport and Recreation Spatial research team. The research team, led by Rochelle Eime from Federation University and Victoria University, has conducted research into sport and recreation participation, facilities and health outcomes, which is supporting evidence-based planning and decisions in the sport and recreation sector.

Awards success for Sport and Recreation Spatial continued in May with an Award for Excellence from Parks and Leisure Australia in the Research Project category (Victoria and Tasmania). Parks and Leisure Australia is the peak industry association for professionals working in the Parks and Leisure sector in Australia. With over 2500 members, the organisation supports activities that strengthen community through leisure activities that contribute broadly to the social, economic and physical wellbeing of Australians. The award recognises the extensive achievements in the leisure and well-being related industries, including research supporting wellbeing through leisure.

South Australia Tree Watch

SA Tree Watch  
South Australia Tree Watch

Another new web portal enabling citizens in the Coorong and Tatiara regions of South Australia to document the health of their local trees has recently been launched. This portal, called South Australia Tree Watch, was developed in collaboration with researchers from Federation University’s Faculty of Science and Technology, with support from project partners the Coorong District Council, Tatiara Council and the Coorong Tatiara Local Action Plan.

The Coorong and Tatiara regions are located south east of Adelaide, incorporating the Murray River and other significant environmental sites, including Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert. The region has experienced substantial environmental challenges in recent years, including dryland salinity and poor tree health. The region’s trees have become iconic features of the natural and agricultural landscape however many of the trees are experiencing significant health problems with some trees already dying, or showing significant signs of stress and poor health.

South Australia Tree Watch will enable local citizens to assess and document the health of trees in their region. These details are uploaded directly onto the portal using the interactive map and custom-built forms. The data captured will be used by the research team to develop spatially-explicit models of drivers of tree health decline, which will be used to formulate management plans to improve tree health across the region. The information supplied by the community will ultimately enable local councils, environmental management organisations and community groups to better understand and identify the symptoms of sick trees, contributing broadly to an understanding of the wider issues associated with tree decline.

Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action website

Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action website  
Western Alliance for Greenhouse
Action website

CeRDI, in collaboration with the councils of the Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action (WAGA), recently developed the How Well Are We Adapting web portal. The portal offers a web-based tool to assist the WAGA councils to implement a framework for monitoring, evaluation and reporting on climate adaptation.

WAGA council members are drawn from local governments in Melbourne’s west, including the Cities of Brimbank, Greater Geelong, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley and Wyndham, and the Shire of Moorabool. Collectively, they aim to respond to climate change across the region by implementing plans and projects that focus on the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions as well as adaptation to the impacts of climate change.

The How Well Are We Adapting framework, developed in partnership with the RMIT Centre for Urban Research and Net Balance Foundation, underpins the work of the WAGA councils. It specifies the monitoring, evaluation and reporting on climate adaptation performance of the WAGA member councils. The framework is unique, being among the world-wide first climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation framework implemented for measuring adaptation focused on local government, and developed and tested by decision-makers.

Spatial mapping capacity now available at Land Your Career

Spatial mapping capacity now available at Land Your Career  
Spatial mapping capacity now
available at Land Your Career

Significant technical and content enhancements have recently been made to Land Your Career, a comprehensive portal providing information about land management careers across a broad range of themes that include water, fire, natural environments, restoring landscapes, forestry, conservation, cultural heritage, biodiversity, sustainability, parks/reserves and landscape/building design.

The principle goal of Land Your Career is to provide school students and school leavers, careers advisors, teachers and mature age students with accurate information about pathways and qualifications required for specific land management careers. The portal was originally developed in 2016 by CeRDI together with Federation University’s Faculty of Science and Technology, a consortium partner on the project.

Land Your Career is part of a larger project - the Integrated Land Management Curriculum for Victoria (ILMCV*) - which involves a unique teaching and training partnership between six tertiary education providers across 18 locations in Victoria’s west. The project aims to significantly enhance opportunities for regional, rural and remote students to participate in higher education through increased collaboration and co-operation between institutes in the regionally vital discipline of land management. For further information (CeRDI 2015 Annual Report - Land Your Career).

Latham’s snipe research update

Lathamís Snipe in Port Fairy. Photo: Richard Chamberlain.  
Latham’s Snipe in Port Fairy.
Photo: Richard Chamberlain.

The Latham’s snipe project commenced in 2015 with the aim of obtaining information on migratory patterns of the Latham’s snipe (Gallinago hardwickii), a shorebird that migrates to the Japan from Australia, and has resulted in the first ever full migration track for the species.

The project, which has been regularly featured in the CeRDI newsletter (Learning about the migration of Latham's snipe) is co-ordinated Birgita Hansen, together with the Lathan’s snipe project team working in close collaboration with the Wild Bird Society of Japan (WBSJ).

The project commenced with the capture and tagging of Latham snipe in Port Fairy, south-west Victoria in 2015. Data loggers (called geolocators) were deployed on birds and record day length. In October 2016, Birgita and colleagues re-captured the first tagged bird (T0) only a few hundred metres from its original capture site, 12 months previously.

Staff profile: Jennifer Corbett

Research Officer: 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.

During her time at CeRDI, Jennifer has implemented a range of online evaluation surveys, staff surveys, resident surveys and self-assessment surveys, and has supported research staff and CeRDI clients in uploading their own online surveys. She has also compiled the results of these surveys which have been used to inform program evaluations, regional strategies and planning at Federation University.

One of the first projects Jennifer worked on at CeRDI was the digitisation of reports stored in a Canberra storage facility. This project initially saw her compiling a knowledge base of the client’s records stored in the facility and followed with involvement in developing and implementing the workflow used to assess the more than 9000 files in the storage facility and selecting the relevant reports for digitisation. Jennifer was then part of the team that transposed a subset of content from the digitised reports into an online database and monitored the reports as they followed a workflow that has resulted in the reports being published online for public consumption.

Higher Degree by Research student: Alison Ollerenshaw

Research Fellow: Alison Ollerenshaw  
Research Fellow:
Alison Ollerenshaw

Alison is a current staff member at CeRDI who commenced full time studies towards a PhD in July 2016. The focus of Alison’s research is on the characteristic services offered through business incubators (BIs) and how these impact on the positive psychological state of development of incubator tenants. Preliminary investigations suggest that incubators may support psychological capital (PsyCap). PsyCap is a multi-dimensional construct representing an individual’s positive psychological state of development represented by hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism (F. Luthans, Youssef, & Avolio, 2007). Examination of the characteristic services offered through BIs indicate they may be analogous with interventions for developing PsyCap. Alison’s research will examine whether there is a relationship between the characteristic services offered by BIs and tenants’ PsyCap and whether this relationship exists over time. Three studies are proposed with data collected from tenants in incubators in Australia and overseas. It is anticipated that the data from these investigations will inform the wider BI industry, providing recommendations about the type of services that support tenant’s business growth and their PsyCap.

Alison successfully completed her confirmation of candidature in May 2017.

This PhD is being conducted through CeRDI and Federation University’s Faculty of Health with the City of Melton and Western BACE as industry partners.

Supervisors: Dr Angela Murphy and Associate Professor Helen Thompson from CeRDI and Prof Suzanne McLaren, School of Health Sciences and Psychology, Faculty of Health, Federation University.

Postgraduate student news

Congratulations to the following CeRDI students who recently completed their Confirmation of Candidature presentations during May: Chris Bahlo, Thomas Hill, Alison Ollerenshaw and Shirish Sharma.

About CeRDI

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