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A national-scale Indigenous-led digital project will help to reconnect Indigenous communities, thanks to a $473,000 grant under the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Indigenous scheme.

The ARC will be providing $4.6 million for 11 new research projects under the Discovery Indigenous scheme, announced on 1 November 2016 as part of the ARC Major Grants Announcement.

Dr Christopher Lawrence, a Noongar person originally from Perth, is leading a team of eight researchers based at The University of Melbourne who will create new pathways to help Indigenous developers, entrepreneurs and start-ups to develop and operate Indigenous-owned technology. This will help to address one of the key causes of disadvantage and vulnerability in Indigenous communities—social and cultural dislocation.

As part of this project, Dr Lawrence and his team of researchers are designing a new app called #thismymob that will enhance social and health and wellbeing outcomes, and improve the connectedness of Indigenous Australians. It will be unique in its use of participatory design methods and its engagement with remote participants from design through to implementation.

"This collaborative research project, developed at The University of Melbourne and now in partnership with the University of Technology, Sydney, will improve Indigenous digital literacy and build Indigenous entrepreneurship through technology start-ups,” said Dr Lawrence.

“We thank the Australian government for their support and investment in this unique project that will see Indigenous research turned into innovation.”

The Discovery Indigenous scheme provides funding to Administering Organisations to support research programmes led by an Indigenous Australian researcher and build research capacity of higher degree research and early career researchers.

The objectives of the Discovery Indigenous scheme are to:

  • support excellent basic and applied research and research training by Indigenous Australian researchers as individuals and as teams
  • develop the research expertise of Indigenous Australian researchers
  • support and retain established Indigenous Australian researchers in Australian higher education institutions
  • expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability.

 

Image: Dr Christopher Lawrence.
Image courtesy: The University of Melbourne.