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.

Image: Geoff  Nichols at the site of the samples, looking from the slopes of Mt Meredith out  across the Lambert Glacier. Image courtesy: Dr Greg Yaxley.
28 February 2014

ARC-funded research has revealed a new occurrence of one of Earth’s most precious rocks in the heart of its most pristine wilderness.

Diamonds are not only the quintessential precious stone of the jewellery industry, but are also of interest to geologists as one of the rare minerals that occur toward the very deep reaches of the earth’s interior, forming only at depths over about 140km.

Image: Screenshot of ‘Fireballs in the Sky’ app. Image courtesy: Professor Phil Bland and Curtin University.
28 February 2014

Astronomers at Curtin University are gathering valuable information about meteorites from amateur sky-spotters through a new (free) smart phone application.

The ‘Fireballs in the Sky’ app allows enthusiasts—if they spot what they believe to be a meteorite from their tell-tale fiery flashes—to report a sighting on their iphone or Android, document its location and help work out where it came from in the solar system. At the same time, the field observations and data about the meteorites is being added to an important shared online database.

Image: Lynnette Wanganeen with Dr Chris Morton and copy of an 1867 photograph of her ancestor. Image courtesy: Pauline Cockrill and History SA.
28 February 2014

Family portraits are valued items that give us a unique snapshot of a moment in time and through those image memories that can be cherished for years to come. Such images can also become an important historical record. But not everyone in the community has access to such images and there may be pieces of one’s past that are unknown due to a loss of photographs, which also becomes a gap in the historical records.

Trying to obtain images from previous generations can be difficult, but one researcher is doing all she can to use the past to change the future. Professor Jane Lydon, an ARC Future Fellow and the new Wesfarmers Chair of Australian History at the University of Western Australia, wants to establish visual history as a key aspect of Australian and Indigenous historiography.