skip to content

CeRDI Newsletter Summer 2017

Message from the Director

Helen Thompson  

Associate Professor
Helen Thompson


The first quarter of 2017 has been a busy period for the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation. This issue of the CeRDI newsletter showcases a selection of our research activities.

In breaking news, CeRDI will lead Federation University’s participation as a major partner in two successful Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) projects. The CRC for High Performance Soils has been awarded $39.5 million over 10 years to help Australian farmers make decisions on complex soil management issues. The Food Agility CRC has been awarded $50 million over 10 years to help the nation’s food industry grow its comparative advantage through digital transformation.

Federation University a major partner in successful CRC projects

Professor Leigh Sullivan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)  

Professor Leigh Sullivan,


Federation University will play a major role in two Co-operative Research Centre projects that have received substantial funding from the Federal Government.

On 7 March 2017, Senator Arthur Sinodinos – Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science – announced the outcomes of the 18th CRC selection round with Federation University a participant in two of the four successful applications.

The CRC for High Performance Soils has been awarded $39.5 million over 10 years to help Australian farmers make decisions on complex soil management issues. The funding is designed to optimise productivity, yield and profitability and ensure long-term sustainability of farming businesses.



Federation University and Deakin University collaborate on NHMRC application

Cogitative Impairment Indicator  

Cogitative Impairment Indicator


CeRDI staff and Federation University’s Professor Britt Klein (Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor – Research and Innovation Portfolio, Centre for Biopsychosocial and eHealth Research and Innovation and the Faculty of Health) are collaborating with a team of researchers from Deakin University, University of Canberra and Ballarat Health Services, led by Associate Professor Mark Yates, in an application to NHMRC for funding to accelerate and evaluate the implementation of an evidence-informed, nationally consistent cognitive impairment care program in hospital acute settings.

The role of the Federation University team will be to develop the online portal which will enable access to a care-bundle and a suite of education and service change programs to assist health services to provide quality cognitive impairment care. The portal will also provide access to benchmarking data and visualisation and analysis tools to assist health services track their progress in implementation of the program and with improvement, using measures related to cognitive impairment care.

Funding decisions for the NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Grants are expected prior to 30 June 2017.

Dementia Pathways Tool: planned updates

Over the coming months, CeRDI will work closely with Deakin University and Ballarat Health Services’ Associate Professor Mark Yates to implement important upgrades to the content of the Dementia Pathways Tool.

Dementia Pathways Tool: Planned updates

Dementia Pathways Tool: Planned updates

Online Farm Trials update: new collaborators

The Facey Group, based in Western Australia, have recently joined the Online Farm Trials (OFT) project, having just published the results from 18 research trials conducted between 2012 and 2014.

OFT websiteField of wheat

Online Farm Trials update: new collaborators

eResearch and CeRDI have significant roles in Federation University’s Research Priority Areas

  Professor Leigh Sullivan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), centre, with senior academics at the launch of Federation University’s new research priority areas.

Professor Leigh Sullivan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor
(Research and Innovation), centre, with senior
academics at the launch of Federation University’s new
research priority areas.


In late November 2016, Federation University announced its research priority areas aimed at expanding the University’s research potential.

Professor Leigh Sullivan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) named the five research priority areas as:

  • Information Forensics and Security;
  • Transformative and Preventative Health;
  • History and Heritage;
  • Improving Policy and Practice in Vocational Education and Training; and
  • Dynamic Landscapes.

Journal paper by CeRDI researchers’ tops list of most read articles for 2016

Journal Paper by CERDI  

Making the invisible visible: the
impact of federating groundwater
data in Victoria, Australia


A paper by CeRDI researchers published in the Journal of Hydroinformatics was recently identified by International Water Association Publishing as the most read journal article published in 2016.

The article entitled "Making the invisible visible: the impact of federating groundwater data in Victoria, Australia", was prepared by Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus, Dr Angela Murphy and CeRDI colleagues and outlines the research findings from extensive social impact research on the Visualising Victoria’s Groundwater (VVG) web portal.

The full article is free to access and available at: Making the invisible visible: the impact of federating groundwater data in Victoria, Australia

For further information about VVG, visit:


River Detectives website

In conjunction with the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA), CeRDI recently completed significant upgrades to the River Detectives website.

River detectives website

River Detectives Website

River Detectives is a school-based program supporting teachers and school students to explore local waterways and to understand their important relationships to the surrounding landscape and environment. A unique feature of River Detectives is its water monitoring program whereby school groups can arrange to collect and analyse water science data. The website enables school groups to submit their data, the same data as Waterwatch volunteers, through the child/student friendly River Detectives website.

Update: pilot project identifying rural alcohol culture and change in the Wimmera

CeRDI was recently commissioned to undertake research and to promote cultural change towards reducing alcohol use for youth in Horsham. The project was funded through VicHealth’s Alcohol Culture Change Grants for Local Councils and is being led by CeRDI researcher Dr Angela Murphy together with Meghan Taylor and Jennifer Corbett.

567 pixels wide by 378 pixels high

CERDI researchers and participants during a forum in February for the rural alcohol and change project in the Wimmera

Extensive work over the last few months has ensured that all three stages of this project are well on-track for completion. The first stage involved a comprehensive review of the published literature. This has been completed and is consolidated in a comprehensive literature review comprising current knowledge and best practices for addressing alcohol use in young people, particularly within rural areas

‘Let’s Talk Water’ forum

‘Let’s Talk Water’ forum  

(L-R): Dr Birgita Hansen (Federation University), Dr Jessie Harman
(Federation University), A/Prof Andrew Barton (Federation University),
Jeremy Johnson (CHW),
David Ebbs (Federation University), A/Prof Peter Dahlhaus (Federation University)
and Prof Tim Fletcher (University of Melbourne)


Federation University and Central Highlands Water (CHW) held a combined ‘Water Forum’ in Ballarat during December. The forum was held by open invitation to anyone interested in attending. It involved approximately 60 delegates from Federation University, CHW, Ballarat City Council and other authorities with responsibility for water management, and the general public.

CeRDI had a strong presence at the forum both among the presenters and the attendees. CeRDI’s principal research fellow, Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus, presented on ‘Groundwater around Ballarat’.

CeRDI PhD student David Ebbs also presented at the forum on the drivers of Ballarat’s water demand, and CeRDI research fellow Dr Birgita Hansen was a facilitator at the forum. Other presentations from Federation University staff at the forum included ‘Sharing water supplies under climate change’ (Associate Professor Andrew Barton) and ‘Trends and variability in hydroclimate’ (Professor Peter Gell). Professor Tim Fletcher from the University of Melbourne presented on ‘Restoring an Urban Stream’.

The forum was well received and demonstrated how valuable these and similar events can be in enabling researchers to share and exchange knowledge with other interested groups from the community. It is hoped that the forum will become a regular event.

Staff profile: Heath Gillett, Senior Programmer

Heath Gillett  

Heath Gillet


Heath Gillett commenced work with CeRDI in 2009 after completing a Bachelor of Computing at Federation University and graduating with Distinction. Heath is an experienced web developer in PHP / MySQL / Javascript / Database design and has a strong interest in Geospatial (GIS) technologies and mapping infrastructure. His GIS skills span many aspects including generating and manipulating geospatial layers (in QGIS) through to building and maintaining the CeRDI geospatial infrastructure (Geoserver, Openlayers, Leaflet).

Since beginning work at CeRDI, Heath has contributed to many CeRDI projects, enabling him to both showcase, as well as extend, his programming skills. Project highlights include the work completed with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Final Reports system. This project involved digitising and publishing to the web all funded GRDC reports. Heath contributed to building and maintaining the complex editing and approval system prior to report publication.

Higher Degree by Research student: Shirish Sharma

Shirish Sharma  

Sharish Sharma


Shirish commenced his PhD studies with CeRDI in March 2016, focusing on an Interoperable framework to integrate data-mining in web-based geoportals.

Shirish’s research will examine Smart Cities and the visualisation of geospatial data and citizen engagement practices. The context to this research pertains to the rise in urbanisation and the concept of smart cities in gaining importance through technology. Smart cities use information technology solutions to enhance the development and management of infrastructure, assets, policies and practices within a city. Geospatial data visualisation offers significant potential within the context of Smart Cities providing an opportunity to harvest geospatial information including that available from social media and web based citizen data sources.

Through his research, Shirish aims to deliver a novel and interoperable framework for integrating geospatial information mined from web-based citizen sources into web-based geoportals, thus enriching existing information that are usually sourced from authoritative data sources.

Shirish’s PhD is being undertaken within CeRDI with support from Federation University’s Faculty of Science and Technology. CSIRO Data61 is the industry partner for this research.

Shirish is currently in the final stages of preparing for confirmation of candidature.

Postgraduate student news

December graduations: Congratulations to Nathan Robinson and Adam Marshall who were awarded their degrees from Federation University in December 2016.

Nathan graduated with a PhD following completion of research assessing productive soil-landscapes in Victoria using digital soil mapping.

Adam graduated with a Master of Applied Science for his research examining precipitation and evaporative aspects of the terrestrial water balance in Central Victoria and their relationship to large-scale climate drivers during the growing season.

Both Nathan and Adam were supervised by CeRDI’s Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus.

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

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