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Articles categorized as ‘University of Newcastle Research Programs’

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Newcastle researchers to study impact of time on higher education students

Professor Penny Jane Burke and Dr Anna Bennett from the University of Newcastle, Australia have successfully secured a grant that will investigate the notion and impact of ‘time’ for students in higher education.

University of Newcastle research

Study at Newcastle!

Funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, Professor Burke and Dr Bennett will work with Co-Investigator Dr Jacqueline Stevenson from Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

The project, It’s About Time, will examine how experiences of ‘time’, as well as dominant discourses about ‘time management’ impact on the attraction, retention and performance of students in higher education.

“Higher education experiences are increasingly intensified by competing obligations of study, work and personal commitments. Despite significant change, the assumption still remains that time is a neutral and linear framework in which all students are equally positioned,” said Professor Burke.

“Studies show that one of the main reasons students from equity groups cite for leaving study is ‘lack of time’ and ‘time pressures’. Research is needed to understand how each students’ relation to time plays out across different and intersecting equity groups, particularly those from regional and remote areas,” she added.

The study will engage students from undergraduate Nursing, Law and Engineering programs across two regional universities in Australia and the UK where the student population includes significant cohorts of equity groups.

One of the aims of the project is to develop a platform where embedded assumptions of ‘time’ and ‘time management’ in higher education can be re-configured in response to the needs of students to better support their learning experiences.

A report will be made available upon completion of the project at the end of this year.

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Are you interested in research programs at the University of Newcastle? Want to study in Australia? Email OzTREKK’s Australian Research Programs Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

UON secures $11M research funding

The University of Newcastle was recently awarded almost $11 million in competitive research funding by the Australian Research Council (ARC) in its 2015 Major Grants announcement. The outcome, which places the university 9th in Australia, will deliver funding to support 27 research projects across UON.

UON research

Newcastle is famous for its natural bushland campus

Under the ARC’s Discovery Projects scheme, UON received $9.4 million for 24 projects, up from $8.8 million for 19 projects in 2014. Professor Daichao Sheng, from the Newcastle School of Engineering, secured the university’s largest grant, receiving almost $800,000 to undertake a study on the mechanics of hard soils and soft rocks and their influence on the stability and serviceability of buildings.

In the same scheme, Professor Simon Dennis, Head of UON’s School of Psychology, was awarded $750,000 for a project that aims to develop a model of episodic memory, the category of memory that allows people to recall specific experiences, events and times. Professor Dennis’ project will apply the model to both adult and child development data, enhancing understanding of when episodic memory develops in children and young adults.

Renowned Indigenous historian Professor John Maynard from UON’s Wollotuka Institute attracted $600,000 in funding to examine the history of the NSW Aborigines Protection/Welfare Board during the period 1883–1969. The project will support greater understanding of the impact of the Board, the legacy of which remains highly relevant today.

Conjoint Professor Lyndall Ryan from the School of Humanities and Social Science, received $500,000 to generate new insights into how intimacy and violence impacted on the development of colonial settler cultures, and the legacy of these cultures on contemporary western democracies.

In the Discovery Indigenous scheme, Dr Brett Turner received $570,000 for a project exploring the potential impact of climate change and sea-level rise on Australia’s coastline and its infrastructure. The University of Newcastle was one of only eight universities nationwide to be awarded funding under the Discovery Indigenous scheme in 2015.

Under the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme, two UON early career researchers were awarded prestigious DECRA Fellowships. Dr Amy Waller, a Research Fellow in the School of Medicine and Public Health, received $360,000 to investigate decision making in older people approaching the end of life. Dr Colin Reid, a Research Associate in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, was awarded $284,000 to study group theory.

Professor Kevin Hall, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) said the award of $11 million was an excellent result given the strong competition for prestigious ARC funding, and recognition of the world-class research and innovation conducted at UON.

“Today’s announcement by the ARC is testament to the exceptional quality and breadth of research at the University of Newcastle, and the excellence of our researchers,” Professor Hall said.

“This funding will allow UON researchers to continue investigating some of the critical challenges facing our world, and seeking the solutions which will make a difference,” Professor Hall said.

Other UON recipients of Discovery Project funding include

  • ARC Laureate Professor Scott Sloan from the Newcastle School of Engineering, $453,900 to develop new computational models and software to simulate ‘fracking’, which will provide information about the risks inherent in this method of natural gas extraction.
  • Professor Phil Hansbro from the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, $443,900 to explore the regulation of immune cells
  • Dr Mark Harvey, Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science, $202,135 to examine the Australian language Kaytetye.

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Are you interested in learning more about the University of Newcastle? Contact OzTREKK for more information at info@oztrekk.com or 1-866-698-7355. Find out how you can study in Australia!

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Newcastle researchers look at new asthma therapy

A new therapy developed by Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) and UK-based respiratory researchers has recorded a marked reduction in acute asthma exacerbations triggered by the common cold.

The international Phase 2 trial of a synthetic anti-viral “interferon,” inhaled via a nebuliser, proved most effective in helping patients with more difficult asthma when they developed a virus or cold-induced attack.

Interferons are proteins that effectively ‘interfere’ with a virus’s ability to interact with host cells and then spread. They also occur naturally as part of the body’s immune response.

“We’re not interested in curing the common cold—or rhinovirus as it’s known—we want to limit the negative effect it has on asthma,” Conjoint Professor Peter Wark, co-director of the University of Newcastle‘s Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases, said.

“Around eighty per cent of acute exacerbations are triggered by respiratory tract infections and our existing treatments are, at best, only partially effective.”

The Phase II trial, conducted in Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne and eight sites in the United Kingdom, in association with the University of Southampton and Imperial College London, asked patients to send an SMS text at the onset of cold-like symptoms. Patients were then assessed within 24 hours and administered either the interferon or a placebo.

The results, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, have encouraged the researchers to further explore the susceptibility and response factors.

“We didn’t see a large benefit in everyone with asthma, especially those with already mild asthma,” the University of Newcastle researcher said. “But in those whose asthma was more severe and difficult to control, the response was far better—we saw a significant reduction in their asthma exacerbation.

“The question is, where we go from here? People who are most at risk of virus-related acute asthma are not well defined and we think more work needs to be done.”

A follow-up trial, starting soon, will aim to determine which patients respond better to the therapy while also looking for biomarker signatures.

Professor Wark believes nebulised interferon could be applied to other patients with chronic respiratory diseases that suffer from recurring viral infections, including cystic fibrosis and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder).

Professor Wark is a senior staff specialist at Hunter New England Health and a member of HMRI’s VIVA program. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.

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Find out more about studying at the University of Newcastle and about research conducted at Australian universities.

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

International research centre launched at the University of Newcastle

On July 18, the New South Wales Government announced an International Centre for Balanced Land Use to be based at the University of Newcastle’s flagship research hub, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER).

The centre, a $1 million collaborative initiative between the NSW Government and the University, will provide independent research to develop a clear evidence-based policy framework to solve the complex challenges of balanced land use.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen, said the University’s partnership with the Government would deliver an initiative of fundamental importance to communities in the Hunter, the state and around the world.

“This partnership positions the University and NIER in a lead role to contribute to the Government’s policy framework around how we use our land and assist our communities and industries to respond to the challenges of issues such as food and energy security within the context of environmental and economic stability.

“The Centre will bring together the collective strengths of government and academia with national and international partners to address this issue of global significance. It will be led by a Global Innovation Chair to be recruited from the world’s foremost academics in the field,” Professor McMillen said.

This announcement comes on the back of significant recent industry and government collaboration for NIER including $30 million for technologies for abatement of methane emissions from coal mining and $3.2 million for a research hub in advanced technologies for Australian iron ore.

NIER Director Dr Alan Broadfoot said NIER’s strength in providing global research leadership on the rapidly evolving issues connected with energy and resources continued to grow.

“NIER is a national hub for energy and resources research with an international reputation for delivering innovative solutions to global challenges. The new Centre places the institute in a strong position to drive with the Government rigorous and independent research in balanced land use with real impact.

“Our aim is to achieve significant gains in energy efficiency and resource productivity to support Australia’s competitive and sustainable goals. A balanced approach to land use is critical to meet the challenges facing communities locally and globally,” Dr Broadfoot said.

The University of Newcastle is known worldwide for its problem-based learning programs. Used mainly in the disciplines of architecture, building, health sciences, law, medicine and nursing, problem-based learning places students in small groups where they solve problems they are likely to face in their working lives. In other words, it gives a purpose to learning.

Canadians enjoy that the university has a solid reputation and is ranked in Australia’s top 10 for research funding and outcome. The University of Newcastle has an international reputation for expertise in innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

Popular Newcastle University Programs for Students from Canada

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Would like more information about the University of Newcastle and about how you can study in Australia?  Contact OzTREKK!

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Melanoma research at the University of Newcastle

A new protein that mediates the survival and death of melanoma cells has been identified by University of Newcastle cancer researchers, bringing hope for a new treatment method for the disease.

University of Newcastle

Study at the University of Newcastle

While there is currently no cure for melanoma once it has spread beyond the original site, Professor Xu Dong Zhang and Dr Lei Jin from HMRI’s Cancer Research Program are examining the role of the protein RIPK1 in melanoma cell growth.

They are testing the protein’s effect and its responses to treatment to identify its potential as a future therapy for melanoma.

“Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world, with more than 12,500 new cases of melanoma diagnosed every year,” Professor Zhang said. “It can be treated successfully if caught early; however, metastatic melanoma is one of the most difficult cancers to treat, with a cure remaining elusive.”

In 2014 Professor Zhang and his team will examine how increased expression of the RIPK1 protein causes the activation of pro-survival signalling pathways and how these pathways contribute to melanoma growth.

“The overall aim of the project is to find a new target for intervention to improve treatment outcomes for melanoma,” Professor Zhang said, explaining that studying this protein will provide them with new information about the whys and hows of metastatic melanoma.

“The study will also identify molecular markers that can be used for sub-classification of melanomas and help in the development of a personalized treatment. We hope to apply the information from this project to preclinical and clinical studies and eventually to the management of melanoma patients.”

By understanding the role of the RIPK1 protein, Professor Zhang hopes to identify if the increased expression of the protein can be used as a molecular marker to predict progression and resistance to melanoma treatments.

* Professor Xu Dong Zhang and Dr Lei Jin are members of the HMRI Cancer research program. HMRI is a partnership between Hunter New England Health, the University of Newcastle and the community. Funding was provided by HMRI and supported by Keith Tulloch Wine and The Rotary Club of Newcastle.

Are you interested in science and research programs at the University of Newcastle? Want to study in Australia? Contact OzTREKK  Admission Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1 866-698-7355 for more information about science degrees available at Australian universities.

Friday, January 10th, 2014

University of Newcastle researchers say sleep linked to diabetes

Getting less than six hours sleep each night (compared to seven hours) may increase type 2 diabetes risk by 30 per cent but has less impact on heart disease than previously thought, researchers from the University of Newcastle have found.

In the largest study of its kind, the team led by Hunter Medical Research Institute statistician Dr Elizabeth Holliday and epidemiologist Professor John Attia analyzed data from 240,000 people in the NSW “45 and Up Study” and tested for potential contributing factors such as existing illnesses and medications.

“A number of previous studies have looked at sleep deprivation and the risk of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease but the statistical power was relatively low and not all of them had corrected for potential confounders that can affect results,” Professor Attia said.

“Once we adjusted for the confounders the risk for heart disease went away, other than in those who had prior illness, but the relationship with type 2 diabetes remained significant no matter what we adjusted for.”

Of the 240,000-strong cohort, more than 7,000 people fell into the risk category of fewer than six hours’ sleep, with the findings just published in the international journal PLOS ONE.

Dr Holliday said it was surprising to see the cardiac link diminish.

“The relationship between short sleep and cardiovascular disease has been widely reported but results across various studies have been inconsistent. We were able to show that this relationship might be confounded by pre-existing illness, which we didn’t see with diabetes,” the University of Newcastle statistician said.

The researchers believe the results tie in with previous studies where volunteers became insulin resistant after several consecutive nights of acute sleep deprivation.

“There are other changes in hormones such as ghrelin and leptin that regulate hunger and the feeling of satisfaction after eating,” Dr Holliday added.

“When you’re sleep deprived you tend to crave carbohydrates and eat more sweets.”

Tips to improve sleep quality include exercising before 6 p.m., abstaining from caffeine in the afternoon and early evening, reducing stimulation from social media and texts, and observing regular bed and rising times.

“GPs should be interested in this result because there are a number of people with pre-diabetes who are at high risk,” Professor Attia said.

“Getting more sleep might be a way of improving insulin sensitivity and delaying the onset of frank diabetes. “It may also be a factor for people who are already diabetic and having trouble getting glucose control.”

About the Master of Public Health program at the University of Newcastle

The Master of Public Health program at the University of Newcastle provides its students with opportunities to undertake professional development and develop a strong foundation in public health. The program will be of interest to individuals of all ages, at any stage of their career, who have a basic undergraduate degree in health and are working in, or intending to work in, the area of public health.

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Newcastle, New South Wales
Semester intake: February
Duration: 1 year
Application deadline: While there is no set application deadline for this public health program, applicants are strongly encouraged by the University of Newcastle to submit their applications a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Entry Requirements: To be eligible to apply, you must have a bachelor degree in an approved health-related discipline; or other qualifications approved by the pro-vice-chancellor, Faculty of Health.

Apply to the University of Newcastle Public Health School!

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For more information about research, public health degrees, international public health degrees and epidemiology degrees, including Master of Public Health entry requirements, application deadlines, tuition fees, scholarships, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1 866-698-7355.

Contact OzTREKK for more information about how you can study in Australia and about public health programs at Australian universities.

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

University of Newcastle researchers recognized in TIME magazine

University of Newcastle researchers are responsible for one of the world’s most significant inventions of 2013, according to TIME Magazine‘s 25 Best Inventions of the year 2013, just released.

University of Newcastle science

Will the gastric brooding frog make it back to the pond?

The Lazarus Project has developed de-extinction technology which will resurrect vanished species and is the only Australian invention named in the global list.

The breakthrough genome technology, which has been successfully applied to the gastric brooding frog, extinct since 1983, could herald a new era in global biodiversity and conservation management.

In its introduction to this year’s list, TIME said, “What makes an invention great? Sometimes it solves a problem you didn’t think could be solved. Maybe you didn’t realize you needed to resurrect an extinct frog. Now you do.”

The resurrection of the gastric brooding frog may also have implications for the medical world.

“The gastric brooding frog swallows externally fertilized eggs into its stomach, which then operates as a uterus. No other living creature can do this. This unique ability could help the medical world work out how to manage gastric secretions in the gut,” said Michael Mahony, Project Leader, Professor of Biology at the University of Newcastle and internationally renowned “Frog Whisperer.”

Known as somatic cell nuclear transplantation, the cloning technology had never previously been successfully applied to dead tissue. In repeated experiments over five years, the nuclei of donor eggs from the distantly related great barred frog, Mixophyes fasciolatus, were inactivated and replaced with dead nuclei from the gastric brooding frog which resulted in eggs spontaneously dividing and growing to early embryo stage.

Amazingly, the Lazarus Project team recovered the extinct frog cell nuclei from tissue samples collected in the 1970s and kept for 40 years in a conventional deep freezer.

“The tissue samples we recovered from the last known laboratory to have a colony of these species had not been treated with cryoprotectant, or anti-freeze to stop the cells from expanding and becoming damaged during the freezing process. It wasn’t until we looked at the cells under the micro-scope that we could see the cell walls were still intact,” said the biology professor.

The research team believes a human spread fungus was the primary cause of extinction.

“If it is clear that we have exterminated a species, we arguably have an obligation to bring it back,” said Professor Mahony.

The frozen specimens were preserved and provided by Professor Mike Tyler, of the University of Adelaide, who extensively studied both species of gastric-brooding frog—R. silus and R. vitellinus—before they vanished in the wild in 1979 and 1985 respectively.

“Recognition by a global publication as prestigious as TIME Magazine is evidence of University of Newcastle researchers driving world-class innovation. As global leaders in their field, they are developing solutions for the world’s most significant problems,” said Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen.

Science Programs at the University of Newcastle

The School of Environmental and Life Sciences (SELS) at the University of Newcastle is one of the largest schools in the university, and forms part of the Faculty of Science and Information Technology. Specializations offered through the school include

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Development Studies
  • Environmental Science and Management
  • Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Earth Sciences
  • Food Science and Human Nutrition
  • Sustainable Resource Management
  • Exercise and Sports Science
  • Marine Science

This school generates enthusiasm for learning and research training that is unique because of the diverse and integrated specialties of the academics coupled with the availability of an impressive array of analytical equipment, laboratory facilities and field-research support resources.

The research and laboratory facilities are excellent and there are opportunities to develop multidisciplinary skills and build research networks via the nature of the diverse fields of expertise within the disciplines. Field work is a major component of many of the science degree programs and many opportunities exist to develop these skills in areas of geology, geography, ecology and marine biology.

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Are you interested in science and research programs at the University of Newcastle? Want to study in Australia? Contact OzTREKK for more information about science degrees available at Australian universities.

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

University of Newcastle celebrates Innovation Awards

Five University of Newcastle researchers and one Hunter innovation champion were honoured recently for their achievements in translating knowledge, research and technology into commercial success at the 2013 Newcastle Innovations Awards.

University of Newcastle

Study at the University of Newcastle

Excellence in Innovation awards will be presented to recognize University of Newcastle researchers who are world-leaders in their field and demonstrate a focus on transferring their expertise into practical solutions for industry and the community.

Looking externally, the efforts and achievements of one Hunter region champion of innovation will be recognized with the inaugural Leonard award for Innovation.

The 2013 winners:

  • Professor Phil Hansbro has won an Excellence in Innovation award for his contributions to the fields of respiratory disease, allergy and immunology. His work attracts considerable commercial interest, grants and industry contracts.
  • Professor Carolyn Mountford has won an Excellence in Innovation award for her work in Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), which plays a significant role in detecting early stage cancer using non-invasive methods.
  • Dr Anton Kriz has won an Excellence in Innovation award for his work as a key influencer of innovation in business and the driver of projects around regional innovation systems, innovation champions, open innovation alliances and cluster development.
  • Professor Mark Jones has won an Excellence in Innovation award for his role as leader of the globally successful Newcastle Innovation division, TUNRA Bulks Solids (TBS). TBS maintains a strong reputation in industry for world-class research in all aspects of bulk solids handling.
  • Professor Natashia Boland has won an Excellence in Innovation award for her solutions to logistical challenges and optimization issues, which have secured her a number of ARC Linkage Grants and industry contracts.
  • Neville Sawyer AM has won the inaugural Leonard award for Innovation for his work with the Hunter Founders Forum and leadership of the Hunter Innovation Festival. He has established key enablers to support innovation for the region’s researchers, businesses and investors.

The awards are an initiative of Newcastle Innovation, the technology transfer office of the university tasked with linking research to commercial partners.

“These awards demonstrate the incredible work of UoN researchers and the value of linking their talent and expertise to industry,” said Christopher Kelleher, acting CEO of Newcastle Innovation. “Congratulations to all winners and I thank them for their contributions in making the Hunter and Central Coast regions truly innovative.”

Popular Newcastle University Programs for Students from Canada

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Would like more information about the University of Newcastle and about how you can study in Australia?  Contact OzTREKK!

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

University of Newcastle Priority Research Centres

The University of Newcastle research ranked equal 7th for being “well above world standard” in the Excellence in Research for Australia assessment (ERA), carried out by the Australian Government’s principal research agency, the Australian Research Council (ARC) in 2012. In the ERA assessment 90% of the university’s research was rated “at world standard” or above. The University of Newcastle has 10 disciplines ranked in the top 200 in the world and is considered 5-star university for research.

University of Newcastle

Since 2007, the University of Newcastle has recognized its strongest research groups with designation as Priority Research Centres (PRCs).  The process of assessment for PRC status is highly competitive and is judged by an external panel of national research leaders.

PRCs receive direct funding from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and also from the Faculties.  From mid-2013 PRCs that align with NIER or HMRI report through their parent institute.

Chemical Biology
The Centre for Chemical Biology seeks to unravel the causes of disease by identifying crucial biological targets and pioneering the rapid development of novel drugs for the fight against disease.

Complex and Dynamic Systems
The Centre for Complex Dynamic Systems and Control specializes in design, control and analysis and performance optimization for complex dynamic systems.

Computer Assisted Research Mathematics and its Applications
The Centre for Computer Assisted Research Mathematics and its Applications (CARMA) explores the development of techniques and tools for computer-assisted discovery and data-mining including mathematical visualization.

Geotechnical and Materials Modelling
The Centre for Geotechnical and Materials Modelling develops new models and innovative computational methods for predicting the behaviour of geomaterials, metals and composites. Advanced computational methods, coupled with laboratory and field testing are key tools in this pursuit.

Priority Research Centres Aligned to Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI)

Asthma and Respiratory Diseases
The Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular processes that are associated with the development and progression of respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery and Information-Based Medicine
The Centre for Bioinformatics, Biomarker Discovery and Information-Based Medicine (CIBM) is committed to shortening the process of obtaining novel discoveries to achieve distinctively better outcomes in clinical practice and translational individualized medicine.

Cancer
The Centre for Cancer seeks to reduce the impact of cancer by working to better understand the biology of the disease in order to tailor treatments to its genetic and proteomic profile.

Gender, Health and Ageing
The Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing focuses on the individual and social factors that affect the health and well-being of men and women as they age, and the ways in which communities and organizations respond to an ageing population.

Health Behaviour
The Centre for Health Behaviour (CHB) uses intervention and service delivery to promote healthy behaviours and good-quality health care across communities.

Physical Activity and Nutrition
The Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition investigates physical activity and nutrition for population health, with particular emphasis on education and health promotion strategies for chronic disease prevention, treatment and well-being.

Reproductive Science
The Centre for Reproductive Science works to improve the health of pregnant women and provides key information on the determinants of ‘A Healthy Start to Life’.

Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health
The Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health (CTNMH) is focused on increasing understanding of brain/mental disorders including schizophrenia, stroke, pain and sensory dysfunction, ageing and cognition, depression, and balance disorders.

Priority Research Centres Aligned to Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER)

Advanced Particle Processing and Transport
The Centre for Advanced Particle Processing and Transport seeks to find solutions to important problems facing the mineral industry, including developing innovative processes to maximize the separation of products from waste material, and ways to reduce water and energy usage.

Energy
The Centre for Energy develops and commercializes new and innovative technologies to minimize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions around the world, with a particular focus on carbon dioxide reduction in collaboration with industry, government agencies and international organizations.

Organic Electronics
The Centre for Organic Electronics is focused on the scientific challenges in the development of organic photovoltaics for the next generation of environmentally friendly energy sources, photonics and biosensors.

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Are you interested in research opportunities at the University of Newcastle? Contact OzTREKK for more information!

 

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

University of Newcastle researchers question if the shoe fits

University of Newcastle researchers are lining up 11 of the world’s most innovative running shoe designs to compete in a world-first project testing safety and performance, the university is reporting today.

With the help of 2,000 Australian runners, the university said it will assess the running shoes over a 12 month period to determine the safest and fastest designs.

Research project leader, Dr. Craig Richards, told the university that runners are becoming increasingly scientifically astute with regard to their running shoe choices.

“In the past, runners have been content to purchase shoes designed to prevent injury and improve performance – but now they are demanding shoes actually proven to deliver these benefits,” Richards told the University of Newcastle.

“None of the running shoe manufacturers currently provide injury prevention and performance data for their shoes and, as a result, both consumers and health care professionals are currently in the dark as to which shoes they should choose,” the researcher at Newcastle stated to the university. “There has been so little objective testing of running shoes to date that not even experts in the field can tell you which running shoe designs are the best. Even the effects of basic differences in cushioning and heel height on injury rates and performance remain unknown.”

“There is an overwhelming need to establish a systematic testing and ratings system for running shoes similar to existing ANCAP safety ratings for cars. This research is the first step towards achieving this goal,” he told the University of Newcastle.

The university noted that the research program will be testing shoes from nine different manufacturers ranging from barefoot style shoes to ultra-cushioned models. Now the research team is calling on volunteers to test the shoes, by participating in the study.

He told the university that the study required 2,000 altruistic runners to test one shoe model each for 12 months. The University of Newcastle will supply participants with their shoes at cost price, giving runner the opportunity to try some of the world’s most innovative running shoe designs at greatly reduced cost at the same time helping fellow runners to choose the right pair of shoes, the university said.

The university noted that expressions of interest from shoe manufacturers wishing to submit their shoes for future rounds of testing are also being sought.

Canadian university graduates who wish to undertake independent, original research and potentially make a unique contribution to an existing body of knowledge, spend considerable time exploring higher degree research opportunities. Combining an international education experience while undertaking postgraduate research in Australia, can result in academic supervision and teaching from cutting-edge researchers who are world renowned in their fields of study.

Postgraduate research degrees are ideally suited for graduates wishing to enter academic life or to work as a researcher in their chosen field. Under expert academic supervision, postgraduate research students focus on an original, substantial research project. Entry usually requires an Honours year of study, which includes an Honours thesis or major research project. Some degrees may combine research with professional experience and/or coursework.

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Learn more about research opportunities at Australian universities like the University of Newcastle! Apply through OzTREKK today!