skip to content

CeRDI Newsletter Winter 2018

Message from the Director

280 pixels wide by 187 pixels high  

Associate Professor  
Helen Thompson


CeRDI is committed to building strong research relationships with organisations, communities and government, as exemplified by the projects and new initiatives outlined in this newsletter.

Strong partnerships have supported recent achievements and milestones across the National Waterbug Blitz, Latham’s Snipe, Online Farm Trials and Online Final Reports research projects. 

Interdisciplinary approaches and collaboration with domain experts from across industry are also important, supporting CeRDI research growth and impact.

Recently commenced research projects represent exciting new collaborations. These include Federation University joining the Centre for New Energy Technologies as a founding participant, and CeRDI leading the establishment of the Australian Research Data Commons funded Agriculture Research Data Cloud. CeRDI is also extending its collaboration with Emergency Management Victoria through by establishing the My Community Portal. 

CeRDI has also received notification of funding to establish another data visualisation platform, this time for Australian soils. More details about this will be included in the next newsletter.

Through CeRDI research activities we are continuing to contribute strongly to Federation University’s overall strategic goals by providing impactful research in partnership with government and industry and the communities we serve*.


Associate Professor Helen Thompson

Director, CeRDI
August 2018

* Federation University, Strategic Plan 2018-2022: Transforming lives and enhancing communities.


Centre for New Energy and Technologies

Centre for New Energy and Technologies  

Centre for New Energy and Technologies


Federation University has recently become a founding participant in the Centre for New Energy Technologies (C4NET). C4NET has been established to support and capitalise on energy transformation, and with building skills, capabilities and instilling innovation in Victoria’s new energy technologies sector. 

Over $5 million in seed funding has been granted by the Victorian Government to establish this new Centre. A range of industry partners and Victorian universities are also collaborating to establish the Centre. The core aims of C4NET include:

a) establishing varied projects that support a flexible, resilient and integrated energy ecosystem, and 

b) providing education about the new energy technologies sector to support the next generation of industry professionals.


CeRDI partnering on seasonal forecasting project supporting the grains industry 

CeRDI to partner on project into seasonal forecasting to support the grains industry  

CeRDI to partner the grains industry


CeRDI is collaborating with Agriculture Victoria to implement a two year Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) funded research, development and education project to improve the methods of communicating and using imperfect, yet improving, seasonal climate forecast information. 

This project, which will be completed by the end of 2019, comprises three main stages:

  • Extending "The Break" seasonal forecast commentary to cover the whole GRDC southern region. This includes specific monthly products for each of South Australian, Victorian and Tasmanian growers.
  • Working closely with about 20 advisors from South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania through two workshops to explore if and how seasonal climate forecasts can be better incorporated into the management of grain farms.;
  • Creating a summary publication with case studies and worked examples to assist GRDC Southern region growers and advisors on the use of seasonal forecast information to better target crop inputs, manage risk and increase profitability.


Linked Data collaborations with CSIRO

CSIRO logo  

CeRDI has been working closely with researchers at CSIRO with the aim of developing standard Australian soil testing procedure vocabularies. Associating data terms with a standard vocabulary are crucial to enabling data discovery, data reuse and data understanding.

Linked Data provides a simple mechanism for exposing, sharing, and connecting data, information, and knowledge from multiple sources across the Semantic Web using unique identifiers. Web search engines, government agencies, international corporations and start-up companies all use Linked Data standards for the publication, dissemination and reuse of structured data. Linking data from disparate sources can offer significant value and novel insights not apparent when the data is viewed in isolation. 

In May 2018, CSIRO’s Dr Jonathan Yu and Dr Simon Cox presented at the Collaborative Conference on Computational and Data Intensive Science. Entitled Excel2LDR: Lowering the bar to entry for defining vocabularies as Linked Data the presentation examined how their partnership with CeRDI had led to the development of a new Tool, designed for domain experts and scientists to more easily publish vocabularies to a formal vocabulary, in this case a Linked Data Registry.

It is anticipated that these soil procedure vocabularies will soon be adopted by government, researchers, and soil laboratories to assist in making their data more consistent, meaningful and discoverable. When combined with other linked data, properly described soil data has the potential to offer new insights and generate solutions to improve and enhance Agricultural and Natural Resource Management.

For further information about the conference presentation visit:


National Waterbug Blitz update

National Waterbug Blitz logo  

National Waterbug Blitz logo


The National Waterbug Blitz website, the official site for Australia’s first nation-wide waterway monitoring event, was launched on 15 June 2018.  

The National Waterbug Blitz is a citizen science project led by CeRDI in partnership with Waterwatch, Corangamite CMA, Envirocom Connections and The Waterbug Company. The project was funded by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science as part of the Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Program.

The project’s first monitoring event of Australia’s waterways will commence in spring 2018 and will involve the coordinated assessment of the health of waterways and wetlands.  During the event, Australians will be encouraged to become citizen scientists and assist with collecting diverse water bug data. 

The event is open to anyone willing to engage with nature, build their skills and learn about freshwater biodiversity.  It is anticipated that data collected during the event will provide a repository for new knowledge about water bugs (aquatic invertebrates) which provide key indicators of river health, including the state and condition of our nation’s waterways.

Emergency Management Victoria: My Community Portal

CeRDI is collaborating with Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) to support Community Based Emergency Management (CBEM) through the development of the My Community Portal.

This community-based approach to emergency management (EMV, 2016) was recently introduced to support people to build safer and more resilient communities. The approach relies on community expertise and local knowledge to enhance local decision making.  A key element of this is to provide localised, reliable and up to date information, which will be available through the portal.

CeRDI will be instrumental in the development of an interactive platform enabling communities to both upload and share location based information, including via a web map, and access data to improve their preparedness for emergencies. In Victoria, fire and flood represent the greatest number of these emergencies, with landslides also an issue in some coastal areas.  The aim of My Community Portal is to support people to develop, access, use and improve community based information and enhanced ICT systems, to make safer and more informed decisions – that lead to action. Initially twenty communities will be engaged through the My Community Portal project.


Online Final Reports Project Extension

GRDC Final Reports  

Online Final Reports - Project Extension


CeRDI has recently been granted an extension to the Online Final Reports project in collaboration with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).  The CeRDI team have been working with Online Farm Reports with the aim of ensuring that information about GRDC funded research is accessible and available for public access.  

To achieve this, CeRDI has developed  a digital repository for GRDC final report summaries. Reports are available dating back to the early 1990s. The project has enabled GRDC to evaluate, convert and collate reports into a consistent and accessible format for easy access and comparison. Innovative knowledge management approaches are enabling greater research access and knowledge dissemination across the grains industry. 

The project extension will focus on making archived final reports accessible. There will also be improved integration with other GRDC systems, such as Online Farm Trials. CeRDI is pleased to welcome new staff member Kate Light to the CeRDI team to assist with the Final Reports Project.  Kate brings extensive agronomy and plant breeding experience to her role as Research Officer, Agricultural Science.

The consolidation of final reports supports the long term commitment by GRDC to improve the transparency and accessibility of information about past research. Furthermore it will provide a strong foundation for improved decision making and performance benchmarks for the agricultural sector.

For further information visit:


Latham’s Snipe research team visit Japan

280 pixels wide by 187 pixels high  

Latham’s Snipe research team visit Japan.
Photo Birgita Hansen


A team of researchers, led by CeRDI’s Dr Birgita Hansen, together with school-aged children from the Canberra Young Rangers, recently visited Hokkaido, Japan. The trip was organised for the Children’s International Conservation Collaboration in conjunction with the Latham’s snipe project.

This was the second visit to Japan for the Latham’s snipe project team, and the first for the Canberra Young Rangers. During this visit the Latham’s Snipe research team and Young Rangers joined Japanese school children to learn about snipe conservation in Australia and Japan, and assist the Wild Bird Society of Japan (WBSJ) with bird monitoring and surveys. 

The Latham’s snipe (Gallinago hardwickii) is a shorebird that migrates to Japan from Australia during the northern summer. Since the awarding of funding from the Australia Japan Foundation in 2015, the project team, which includes a dedicated group of experienced Landcare volunteers, has conducted research that has provided extensive new insights about the breeding, migration and population of this little-known wading bird.


Online Farm Trials success

Online Farm Trials  

Online Farm Trials Website


The Online Farm Trials (OFT) Team is pleased to announce that the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has provided additional funding to support the development and expansion of OFT over the next twelve months. 

Since OFT was first established in 2013 participation has progressively increased. OFT now provides access to more than 6,500 trials from 71 contributing organisations. In the coming period CeRDI will focus on expanding industry participation in OFT, developing new tools that assist contributors to more easily share grains trials data, as well as undertaking a second-wave of CeRDI longitudinal impact research.

CeRDI researchers, Judi Walters, Robert Milne and Assoc Prof Helen Thompson recently published an OFT-focused article in the Rural Extension and Innovation Systems journal.  This article can be accessed here. Further details of the article can be found in the citation below.

Walters, J., Milne, R., & Thompson, H. Online farm trials: A national web-based information source for Australian grains research, development and extension [online].Rural Extension and Innovation Systems Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2018: 117-123.


Staff profile: Julie Parker, Research Officer

280 pixels wide by 187 pixels high  

Julie Parker  CeRDI Research Officer


Julie commenced working with CeRDI as a Research Officer in September 2017. Prior to this, Julie completed a Master of Science in Geography with a minor in Biological Sciences from the University of North Texas. Her master’s research examined how livestock herders in the Central Argentine Andes adapt their water management strategies to drought and climate variability. In addition, her research investigated the ways in which farmers who practice traditional methods of agriculture are increasingly incorporating more modern technology into their agricultural practices and how this impacts their decision making, resource-use and livelihoods. While conducting fieldwork for her graduate research, Julie became interested in understanding how geography influences vineyards and the characteristics of wine. After completing her graduate studies, she travelled to different grape-growing regions including California, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania to learn more about viticulture and viniculture.



CeRDI news snippets

Sport and Recreation Spatial: Sport and Recreation Spatial has recently been enhanced through the delivery of customised data and filtering capabilities for Netball Australia reporting. Work has also continued with Tennis Victoria on a visualisation that includes tennis facilities, club participants and participants from other clubs. The visualisation includes travel distance and travel time, allowing the catchment area for facility to be analysed. Recently, Sport and Recreation Spatial incorporated Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) 2016 data to the portal.  This dataset enables sport and recreation data to be examined in parallel with data about socio-economic advantage and disadvantage, by region.

CeRDI staff updates: CeRDI welcomes three new staff members: Julian Laffey, Ally Parnaby and Kate Light. Julian has joined the technical team as a programmer, bringing 25-years’ experience in IT and programming. Ally is a health practitioner with experience in health promotion implementation and management. Ally is working with CeRDI on the VicHealth funded Youth C.A.N. project to change alcohol consumption norms for young people in Horsham. Kate will be working from the Horsham campus of Federation University on digital agriculture research projects.


Postgraduate student news

Federation University HDR conference 2018: CeRDI students participated in the Federation University HDR conference held on 26 July at the Mt Helen Campus. David Ebbs gave an oral presentation at the event entitled: Would you like a drink? Stormwater or sewage? 

CeRDI PhD Internship Story-Feature: One of Federation University's recent Australian Postgraduate Research (APR) Interns with City West Water was featured on the APR Internship webpage.  CeRDI and the School of Science, Engineering and Information Technology PhD student David Ebbs successfully undertook the project to investigate and analyse opportunities for sewerage recycling in Melbourne through the availability of water, carbon and nutrients as a resource in the future. The story can be be viewed at


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