ABC TV Catalyst: Can Seaweed Save the World?

CIE members Dr Alecia Bellgrove and Dr Peter Macreadie recently featured in an episode of the ABC’s Catalyst program titled “Can Seaweed Save the World?”.

Professor Tim Flannery investigates how seaweed is helping to save the world – from growing the foods of the future, helping clean polluted water and even combating climate change.

Growing seaweed is now a ten billion dollar a year global industry. Tim travels to Korea to see some of the biggest seaweed farms in the world and meets the scientists who are hoping to create a seaweed revolution here in Australia.

If you missed this great episode, you can catch up on it here.

Australian Science Superheroes – Euan Ritchie

“During National Science Week in August 2016, Australia’s Chief Scientist launched the #5ScientistPledge to recognise Australian Scientists. Now, we’re shining a light on some of these Australian science superheroes with a new tag – #AusScienceHeroes.”


Our own Dr Euan Ritchie was featured as a Science Superhero and you can read the full profile here!

2017 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) – Register or come to show your support

Deakin’s research students will be battling it out on Wednesday 2 August at 3 pm at our 2017 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition for a chance to win a place in the Asia Pacific final.

The 3MT is an exercise in developing academic and research communication skills – HDR students have three minutes to present a compelling, plain language oration on their thesis topic and its significance. This is one of the most interesting events in the Deakin calendar and one not to miss. An overall Winner, Runner-Up and People’s Choice will be awarded at the conclusion of the 3MT so do come along and learn something new and have your say in the people’s choice winner.

To attend, please register HERE.

Date: Wednesday 2 August 2017
Time: 3 pm – 6 pm
Venue: Burwood Corporate Centre
Room: Level 2, Building BC
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus

To show our support for these students we would love to see the room full. If you can spare the time, please join us for a fun afternoon!

We hope to see you there!

(Posted on behalf of Professor Peter Hodgson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research)

Deakin Science and Society Network – Emerging Issues in Science and Society Symposium, July 6th 2017

Euan Ritchie, Tim Doherty, Don Driscoll and Marcel Klaassen are all part of the Deakin Science in Society Network (SSN), which brings together humanities, arts and social sciences scholars ((HASS), with physical and life sciences scientists, to find ways to best tackle and communicate some of society’s biggest challenges. The network is part of the Alfred Deakin Institue for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI).

The SSN received the tick for stage one DUCCF funding. The team has moved fast, having already had one meeting, a full day, facilitated workshop will be occurring on May 1st, and most excitingly on July 6th (9:30am-3:30pm @ Deakin Downtown, Melbourne CBD), they are going to launch the network by having an ‘Emerging Issues in Science and Society Symposium‘.

This inaugural Deakin SSN symposium is supported by the Australian Academy of Science. Euan Ritchie managed to secure Paul Willis (RiAus and Australia’s Science Channel) for this event too!

On the day, they will pair HASS scholars and scientists to discuss a hot topic (bushfires, food shortage…), where each person will have 20 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of discussion, with about 4-5 sessions on the day.

Prof. Marcel Klaassen hands the reigns as CIE Director to Prof. Don Driscoll

Marcel K.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof. Marcel Klaassen for being with the CIE from day one and to acknowledge his outstanding contribution to the Centre since then. Marcel served as Director of CIE since 2010 and worked day and night to place the centre as one of Deakin’s leading strategic research centers. He will continue to be part of the CIE as a member of the board and will continue his research work.

Don D.

Prof. Don Driscoll is taking over as the new Director of CIE. Don has a very broad interest in ecological research and a strong track record in leading people and organisations (he is also the President @ Ecological Society of Australia).

On behalf of everyone in the CIE we would like to wish Don all the best!

Dr Beata Ujvari to secure funds for the project “Nature’s solution, do immunoglobulins fight cancer in Tasmanian devils?”

Congratulations to Dr Beata Ujvari for securing funds for the project “Nature’s solution, do immunoglobulins fight cancer in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii)?”, from Tasmanian Devil Grants, Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.

The ‘Save the Tasmanian Devil Program’ is one of the largest conservation programs currently under way in Australia, and its research and management programs are significant world-class collaborations between the Tasmanian Government, the University of Tasmania and other leading research institutions.

Project grants and scholarships are funded from donations received through the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal via the Tasmanian Devil Research Advisory Committee, to support research and management programs that meet the key priority areas of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.


Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment – Applications now open (closes 31 March)

esa-bannerThe man behind more than $1 million in funds for students, announced today by the Ecological Society of Australia, says it’s rare for philanthropists to donate for the environment.

‘The problem of managing ecological resources is very complex – more so than a simple little thing like the economy,’ says Dr Bill Holsworth, who has supported more than 830 students since starting the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment in 1990.

‘Very little philanthropy goes into funding ecological research. There are so many factors influencing the environment, but so little knowledge about what is going on. I’m hoping that in time we will not make so many stupid decisions in terms of managing the environment, wildlife, plants and animals, forests, deserts and so on.’

Bill Holdsworth

Dr Holsworth is a renowned ecologist, mammalogist, wildlife biologist and philanthropist. In 1989 Bill and his wife Carol established the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment to fund grants to universities for postgraduate students in fauna and flora. The fund is now managed through a partnership with the Ecological Society of Australia.

Professor Don Driscoll, CIE member and President of the Ecological Society of Australia, says the fund supports around 200 post-graduate students each year to conduct research in ecology, wildlife management, and natural history studies. ‘Individual grants of up to $22,500 for 3 years are available,’ says Professor Driscoll. ‘Applications are especially invited for postgraduate students doing field work on Australian native plants and animals, studies relating to the management of protected areas and rare or threatened species in Australia, and wildlife management relating to hunting, harvesting, pest control, and the effect of land management on native species.’

Students funded by the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment have contributed in many areas. ‘Past students have gone in different directions, into university and school teaching, scientific research, public relations, advising governments,’ says Dr Holsworth. ‘All of these pursuits are valuable, so I couldn’t say which is my favourite. There’s a need to educate the public and politicians responsible for some of the mistakes that have been made or things that haven’t been done for the environment.’

The first round of 2017 applications are now open, and close on 31 March.

More information about the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment is available at:

Meet Science’s Social Media Stars – Registration now open

social-media-starsWe would like to invite you all for a FREE event – An Innovation Week event, produced by Science in Public and proudly supported by the Royal Society of Victoria. Featuring Melbourne Uni’s Dr Katie Mack, Deakin Uni’s Dr Euan Ritchie and Swinburne Uni’s Dr Alan Duffy.

Join a discussion with three scientists who have successfully used social media to build their profiles in science, and the profile of science in the community. They’ll share their tips on how they made it work for them, what to post on what channels, which audiences you can reach, and how to deal with the trolls.

  • Will a social media profile help you build your research career?
  • What’s the difference between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn anyway?
  • How do you use them to promote your work?
  • Are you a #seriousacademic if you tweet?
  • And what even is Snapchat?

If you’re keen to raise your (or your organisation’s) profile on social media, this is the session for you. Networking, drinks and food included 🙂

Where: The Royal Society of Victoria, 8 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, VIC
When: Fri 11 November 2016 @ 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Registration: NOW OPEN

Australian Research Council (ARC) awards – Excellent outcome for 2 CIE members


We are pleased to advise you that earlier this week 2 CIE members has had excellent news following the release of the Australian Research Council (ARC) awardsPlease join us in congratulating Dr Emily Nicholson and Dr Mylene Mariette:

Emily N.
Emily N.

Dr Emily Nicholson – Biodiversity indicators for better conservation decisions (Discovery Projects – DP):

Summary: Reliable and sensitive biodiversity indicators are critical to track progress towards conservation targets. Yet most biodiversity indicators remain untested in their ability to reveal the trends needed by decision-makers. This project aims to develop much-needed methods to test, design and select biodiversity indicators to support conservation decisions. It will provide the first comprehensive test of indicators used to monitor biodiversity change at local to global scales, by sampling ecosystem models to evaluate how indicator design, data bias and environmental variability affect performance. Project outcomes will have significant implications for predicting and measuring impacts of policy such as the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Impact statement: This research will evaluate and improve the way change in biodiversity is measured, globally and in Australia, and provide new methods for policy evaluation with biodiversity indicators. It will ensure that data collected to monitor and assess the state of Australia’s environment are informative, cost-effective and robust, and strengthen Australia’s capacity to achieve and report on progress towards international commitments such as the Convention on Biological Diversity targets.

A summary of the project and the investigators is available HERE (PDF).

Mylene Mariette (Photo: Pat Scala)
Mylene M. (Photo: Pat Scala)

Dr Mylene Mariette – The role of pre-natal communication in adaptation to hot climate (Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards – DECRA):

Summary: Prenatal communication in adaptation to hot climates. This project will reveal how, by communicating acoustically with their embryos, birds program their offspring for a warming world. Most animals, including humans, can hear external sounds before birth, but we know very little about what function this may play. Recent surprising evidence showed that in an Australian bird, parents call to their eggs at high ambient temperatures, which alters nestling growth and survival. This project will show the physiological effects involved and the consequences for adaptation to heat in wild birds. In doing so, this project will elucidate whether the global reduction in animal body size is an adaptive response to rising temperatures, and offer insights into the therapeutic benefits of prenatal sounds.

Impact statement: This project will demonstrate the extent to which exposure to prenatal sound alters development and physiology. This will be of considerable interest to health science and animal production by pioneering research on the effects of prenatal sounds in alleviating metabolic dysfunctions triggered by prenatal and perinatal stress. This project will also open innovative research avenues by revealing a novel mechanism for species to adapt to rapidly rising temperatures.