This week at Science in Public

This Week

Nominations for Fresh Science now open

Fresh Science

Do you know any early-career researchers who have peer-reviewed results, a discovery, or an invention that has received little or no media attention?

Please nominate them for Fresh Science, our national competition that helps early-career researchers find, and then share, their stories of discovery. Scientists get a day of media training and the chance to share their work with the media, general public and school students.

Fresh Science is looking for:

  • early-career researchers (from honours students to no more than five years post-PhD)
  • a peer-reviewed discovery that has had little or no media coverage
  • some ability to present ideas in everyday English.

Fresh Science 2018 will run in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and NSW. We’ll also run it in other states and territories where we can secure local support.

I’d appreciate it if you could circulate this to early-career researchers in your organisation.

If you’d like to share our flyer calling for nominations, you can download it as a PDF or a jpeg or share the call on social media using #FreshSci

How to nominate [click to continue…]

Announcing the $200 million Digital Health CRC

Digital Health CRC, Media releases

A $200+ million opportunity to transform health delivery: improving health outcomes; reducing waste in the health system; building businesses and jobs.

Announced on Friday 13 April with:

  • Senator Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation
  • Professor Christine Bennett, Interim-Chair of the Digital Health CRC
  • Dr Bronwyn Evans, Chair of MTP Connect
  • Dr Zoran Bolevich, Chief Executive, eHealth NSW
  • David Jonas – CEO Designate of the Digital Health CRC

Australia’s health system has contributed to a transformation in the human condition. We’re living longer – a child born today will on average live to 83 and see in the 22nd Century. We’ve largely defeated infectious diseases and our roads and workplaces are safer than they’ve ever been.

But

Our longer lives bring with them a greater risk of chronic and degenerative diseases which are difficult and expensive to manage and treat.

Obesity and Type 2 diabetes are on the rise. The health system can’t keep up. Australia’s annual health expenditure has passed $170 billion which is more than 10 per cent of GDP.

And the system is splitting at the seams. It’s too complex: for patients and their families, for health professionals, for industry, and for government. For example, adverse drug reactions in Australia are responsible for over 400,000 GP visits a year, and for 30 per cent of elderly emergency admissions. The cost is over $1.2 billion. We believe that half the cost is avoidable.

The Digital Health CRC will

  • Improve the health and wellness of hundreds of thousands of Australians
  • Improve the value of care and reduce adverse drug events
  • Join up data in the health system creating an improved system benefiting all Australians
  • Save the Australian health system $1.8 billion
  • Create at least 1000 new jobs in the digital health and related industry sectors
  • Create new companies and products for Australian and global markets
  • Create a new digital workforce and build the capacity of clinicians and consumers to become digital health ‘natives’

The Digital Health CRC’s 80-member organisations represent every segment of the health system from patient to community, hospital to insurer, start-up to big government. Our researchers, from 16 universities, will work with our health partners to develop and test solutions that work for real patients in real hospitals and other settings of care. And our business partners will work alongside them to ensure that the solutions are scalable and implementable. We’ll develop them in Australia, then take them to the world.  To catalyse the latter, we are partnering with US-based company, HMS, that provides solutions and services to health insurers and their customers across 48 US states.

Media release from the CRC: www.scienceinpublic.com.au/media-releases/digitalhealth

Backgrounder: www.scienceinpublic.com.au/media-releases/digitalhealth-backgrounder

For interviews and further information visit www.digitalhealthcrc.com

Or contact:

Senator the Hon. Zed Seselja, Liberal Senator for the ACT, Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation (centre) attending the press call with the Digital Health CRC team

Senator the Hon. Zed Seselja, Liberal Senator for the ACT, Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation and others attending the press call

Digital Health CRC announcement – media release

Digital Health CRC, Media releases

Government backs $200 million Digital Health R&D initiative

A $200+ million opportunity to transform health delivery:
improving health outcomes; reducing waste in the health system; building businesses and jobs.

Launch with Senator Zed Seselja at 10 am, ‘Fountain Courtyard’, Sydney Hospital, Macquarie Street, Sydney.

The new Digital Health CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) will invest over $200 million to develop and test digital health solutions that work for real patients in real hospitals and health services, while equipping Australians to better manage their own health and wellness.

Senator the Hon. Zed Seselja, Liberal Senator for the ACT, Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation announced today that the Government will invest $55 million through its CRC program to further develop Australia’s growing Digital Health technology and services industry.  The Centre was one of only four CRC’s funded in this round. [click to continue…]

Digital health backgrounder

Digital Health CRC, Media releases

The challenges

Australia’s health system has contributed to a transformation in the human condition.

We’re living longer – a child born today will on average live to 83 and see in the 22nd Century.

We’ve largely defeated infectious diseases and our roads and workplaces are safer than they’ve ever been.

But

Our longer lives bring with them a greater risk of chronic and degenerative diseases which are difficult and expensive to manage and treat. Half of us have one or more chronic conditions. If we’re over 65 then 30 per cent of us have three or more chronic conditions.

Obesity is on the rise and Type 2 diabetes is reaching almost epidemic levels across the developed and developing world.

The health system can’t keep up. Annual health expenditure has passed $170 billion which is more than 10 per cent of GDP.

And the system is splitting at the seams. It’s too complex: for patients and their families, for health professionals, for industry, and for government.

Digital transformation is part of the solution.

Digital technologies have transformed how we work, travel, shop and socialise. We can buy almost anything we want in a moment using a smartphone. Why can’t we manage our health – our appointments, our medications, our records using our smartphones?

Digital Health could improve health outcomes AND reduce costs by

  • giving care providers all the information they need
  • providing transparency and access for consumers empowering them to manage their own health
  • saving 20 to 30 per cent of the health budget by reducing low value care, adverse events and other problems
  • enabling every Australian to manage their own health with their smartphone
  • offering new national and international opportunities for smart health companies.

However, around the world government and the private sector have struggled with the complexity of digital transformation. In Australia the system still depends too heavily on physical records, faxes and the post, and even where information is available in digital form, it is often difficult to access and join-up with related health information.

The Digital Health CRC’s 80-member organisations represent every segment of the health system from patient to community, hospital to insurer, start-up to big government.

Our researchers, from 16 universities, will work with our health partners to develop and test solutions that work for real patients in real hospitals and other settings of care. And our business partners will work alongside them to ensure that the solutions are scalable and implementable. We’ll develop them in Australia, then take them to the world. [click to continue…]

Smart socks help physiotherapists treat patients remotely

Fresh Science, Media releases

‘Smart socks’ are helping physiotherapists better assess and treat patients during video consultations, by providing information on weight distribution and range of movement during exercises like steps, squats or jumps.

The wearable technology, developed by PhD candidate Deepti Aggarwal at The University of Melbourne, was trialled with three patients and a physiotherapist at the Royal Children’s Hospital, from February to June 2017.

Background images and video below.

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Nominations for 2018 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are open

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Can you help us recognise the best in Australian science, innovation and science teaching?

Each year the Australian Government honours Australia’s best scientists, innovators and science teachers through the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, and they need your help to find potential winners.

The prizes recognise:

  • Leading Australian scientists who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge through science—for the $250,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.
  • Exceptional innovators from both industry and research who have translated scientific knowledge into substantial commercial impact—for the $250,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation.
  • Early to mid-career scientists whose research is already making, and will continue to have, an impact on our lives—for the $50,000 Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year and $50,000 Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year.
  • Promising early to mid-career innovators from industry and research whose work has the potential to enhance our economy through the translation of scientific knowledge into a substantial commercial impact—for the $50,000 Prize for New Innovators.
  • Inspiring science, mathematics and technology teachers who are dedicated to innovative teaching and inspiring the next generation—for the $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching (Primary and Secondary).

Note that the guidelines for the prizes have been updated for 2018 so make sure you review the latest information, including nomination forms, at: business.gov.au/scienceprizes or contact 13 28 46.

Read about past winners below, or at science.gov.au/pmscienceprizes.

Nominations are open until 5.00pm (AEDT) 26 March 2018.

New rotavirus vaccine could benefit millions of children

Media releases

22 February 2018: 

A rotavirus vaccine that can be given days after birth has been developed by Australian and Indonesian researchers.

Rotavirus is the common cause  of severe diarrhoea and a killer of approximately 215,000 children under five globally each year.

The oral vaccine, called RV3-BB, was given in three single doses, the first within five days of birth. Until now, the vaccine against rotavirus was available in Australia and only on the private market in Indonesia, and could only be administered from six weeks of age.

After three doses of RV3-BB administered from birth:

  • 94 per cent of infants were protected in their first year of life against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis
  • 75 per cent of infants were protected to 18 months of age.

The success of the RV3-BB vaccine is the culmination of more than four decades of work, which started with the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s Professor Ruth Bishop and the discovery of rotavirus in 1973.

The trial was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PT BioFarma.

Read the full media release on the MCRI website.

Read an earlier story on the work in our Stories of Indonesia-Australia Innovation collection from 2016.

 

Physics in footy and Indigenous astronomy activities amongst National Science Week Grant recipients

National Science Week

Media release from Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation

Hospitals, art galleries and sports stadiums are amongst the more unusual locations set to come alive with science during this year’s National Science Week, thanks to over $600,000 in Australian Government grants announced today.

The 2018 National Science Week Grants will provide funding for science engagement activities, events, and competitions to take place during Australia’s largest celebration of science this August.

Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation Zed Seselja today congratulated the 45 grant recipients, welcoming the diversity of projects to be funded.

“This year’s grants recipients have exhibited tremendous creativity in developing such an exciting range of activities to engage people of all walks of life and in all corners of Australia with science,” Senator Seselja said.

“NASA scientists are headed to Australia to celebrate the end of Kepler and Cassini, in a series of events where audiences can hear about what we learnt from the Cassini spacecraft’s 13 years with Saturn and the hundreds of planets discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope.

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Science Communicator position – now closed

Other

We’re looking for a science communicator to join our team at Science in Public. We need someone who is organised, loves science and wants to help scientists get their work into the public space.

[click to continue…]

Media kit: 2017 CSL Florey Medal

CSL Florey Medal, Media releases

Using viruses to restore sight

 

Researcher restoring sight Elizabeth Rakoczy (UWA) wins $50,000 CSL Florey Medal for lifetime achievement


Press materials available

[click to continue…]

Improving rail safety in Indonesia and Australia

Media releases, The Australia-Indonesia Centre

The sweet spot for rail repair vs efficiency

Computer models to predict how railcars will respond to different track conditions are being developed by Indonesian and Australian researchers, to improve rail safety and efficiency in both countries.

They’ve already created a successful model for passenger carriages, which has been validated against the performance of trains in Indonesia. Now the researchers are working on models for freight trains.

“For railways, it’s standard practice to measure the conditions of the track periodically,” says Dr Nithurshan Nadarajah, a research engineer at the Institute of Railway Technology at Monash University.

[click to continue…]

2017 Metcalf Prizes – Media release

Media releases, National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia

Building a blood cancer treatment from the ground up – Mark Dawson, Melbourne

How we and our stem cells get old – Jessica Mar, Brisbane

Winners of the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia’s Metcalf Prizes announced

Scientists available for interviews

[click to continue…]

How we and our stem cells get old

National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia

Jessica Mar is analysing stem cells to discover the changes that influence ageing.

We all started life as a stem cell. Throughout our lives, stem cells repair and replace our tissues, but as we age they stop working as well. Understanding how this decline occurs is fundamental to understanding—and influencing—how we age. [click to continue…]

Building a blood cancer treatment from the ground up

National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia

Mark Dawson has helped to build a new drug to fight an aggressive form of blood cancer, discovering the basic science of gene expression in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), developing the drug to block that action, and leading an international clinical trial to test it.

Mark first explored how genes function in leukaemia, then identified molecules that interrupt the key genetic instructions that perpetuate cancer cells. The drug subsequently developed to treat AML is now the subject of more than 50 clinical trials around the world. [click to continue…]

Tiny diamonds light the way for new quantum technologies

Media releases

Dr Thomas Volz in the Diamond Nanoscience Lab

Nature Communications paper Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Background information below.

Macquarie University researchers have made a single tiny diamond shine brightly at room temperature, a behaviour known as superradiance.

[click to continue…]

2017 Prime Minster’s Prizes for Science announced

Media releases, Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Photos and videos of the winners available. And photos from the award presentation. 

Read the Minister’s media release.

The winners of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are:

  • Jenny Graves (La Trobe University, Melbourne)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
  • Eric Reynolds (The University of Melbourne/Oral Health CRC)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation
  • Jian Yang (The University of Queensland)—Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year
  • Dayong Jin (University of Technology Sydney)—Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year
  • Neil Bramsen (Mount Ousley Public School, Wollongong)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools
  • Brett McKay (Kirrawee High School, Sydney)—Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools

[click to continue…]

Minister’s Media Release: The 2017 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

18 October 2017

Joint media release with the Prime Minster, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP and Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and the Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science recognises the extraordinary contribution that Australia’s scientists and science teachers make to our nation.

These awards celebrate excellence and innovation and offer us an opportunity to bring the entire industry together to celebrate Australia’s world leading role.

[click to continue…]

2017 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

What can kangaroos and platypus tell us about sex and humanity?

Jenny Graves (Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Distinguished Professor Jenny Graves AO FAA

Professor Jenny Graves AO has transformed our understanding of how humans and all vertebrate animals evolved and function. In the course of her work, she has kick-started genomic and epigenetic research in Australia, and predicted the disappearance of the male chromosome.

[click to continue…]

2017 Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation

Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

How Australian dairy milk is saving the world’s teeth

Eric Reynolds (Credit: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science/WildBear)

Laureate Professor Eric Reynolds AO FICD FTSE FRACDS

Thirty years ago, a young dental researcher discovered a protein in dairy milk that repairs and strengthens teeth. Today, that protein, sold as Recaldent, is used by millions of people every day as they chew gum and visit the dentist.

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