Image: Fishing line muscle woven into a fabric, lifting a weight up and down. Pictured is Dr Javad Foroughi from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science. Photo credit: University of Wollongong.
28 June 2014

It might be difficult to believe that something as ordinary and inexpensive as the humble fishing line can be used to produce “muscles” with super-human strength.

Materials experts at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at the University of Wollongong have created powerful artificial muscles by twisting and coiling simple fishing line and applying heat for contraction and expansion.

Image: The Kong test to determine the handedness of a dog—A: Right paw used, B: both paws used,  C: left paw used. Fifty left or right paw uses were recorded to determine paw preference.  Image courtesy: Dr Lisa Williams.
13 June 2014

The commitment and loyalty of a guide dog is second to none—these animals show unconditional love for their owner, but are also carefully trained to care for and enhance the mobility of their owner.

What many may not realise is the amount of time, effort and resources that are channelled into the training of a canine to become a guide dog…and not all dogs make the cut.

New research in this area could make the task of assessing appropriate dogs easier and cheaper.

Image: Dr Kelly Fielding. Image courtesy: Dr Kelly Fielding.
13 June 2014

Attitudes towards the use of recycled water have been tested in recent years with many communities bound by extended water restrictions during times of drought—this has pushed the community to think fluidly about how it uses its water supplies.

In particular, there are many across the nation who still struggle with the concept of using recycled or desalinated water. One particular researcher has dedicated her time to learning why.

Dr Kelly Fielding is an ARC Future Fellow and a Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Social Science Research at The University of Queensland.

Australian Government, Australian Research Council logo
13 June 2014

The ARC and NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) meet regularly to explore ways to improve the consistency of policies and processes. This includes aiming to reduce duplication of effort for researchers who may apply to both the ARC and NHMRC, and improving information sharing between our agencies for audit and other purposes.

Work currently underway also includes: planning for ERA 2015; discussion around each agency’s Open Access policies; and effective management of the interface between the two agencies in the medical and dental research space.

Image: Professor Kathy Belov holding an infant Tasmanian devil. Image courtesy: Professor Kathy Belov.
13 June 2014

When Professor Kathy Belov commenced an ARC Future Fellowship in 2009 she dared to dream where the research path would lead her, but never thought she would achieve the outcomes—scientifically and personally—that she did in just five years.

Professor Belov was an inaugural Future Fellow and that Future Fellowship has now gone full circle; five years of dedicated research, with $686 000 in ARC support to understand the genetic nature of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).

Image: Professor Stenzel in the laboratory with Dr Hongxu Lu. Image credit: Ms Jeaniffer Eliezar.
13 June 2014

Martina Stenzel is a Professor of Chemistry at the Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design at the University of New South Wales, and was a recipient of an ARC Future Fellowship in the inaugural 2009 round. Professor Stenzel has used her fellowship—which finished late last year—to investigate delivery methods for anti-cancer agents using nanotechnology.

Image: Professor Nick Evans interprets a contract  for Kaiadilt artist Sally Gabori, whose artwork  appears in the Queensland High Court.  Photograph courtesy Hilary Jackman
13 June 2014

Australia is a multicultural country; its community is diverse in heritage and culture. One of our challenges, though is that the nation is largely monolingual.

English is the sole language spoken in the home of 77% of Australians, according to the 2011 census. Yet Australia sits at the epicentre of linguistic diversity. One hundred Australian Aboriginal languages and dialects are still spoken. In our near neighbourhood over 700 unique languages are spoken in Indonesia and well over 800 in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Many of these languages are poorly studied and at risk of becoming 'dead languages'.

There is a dedicated research team that is working to help Australia overcome its monolingual status and embrace this rich indigenous language heritage before more of it disappears.

ERA 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia
13 June 2014

The ERA team at the ARC continues its preparations for ERA 2015 and a great deal of work is ongoing following the public consultation period on the Draft Journal and Conference Lists.

The public consultation period closed on 21 March and since that time the ERA team has been closely reviewing the submissions received.