01 September 2011

In The Loop – Issue 8/2011, 1 September 2011

In The Loop is the monthly newsletter from the College of Science, Engineering and Health.


SEH student wins RMIT’s 3MT

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Winners and judges at the SEH Three Minute Thesis Semi-Final.

Chinese Medicine PhD candidate Hsiewe Ying (Amy) Tan has won the University wide 3MT competition, for her presentation, ‘Chinese Herbal Medicine Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis’. She will now travel to Western Australia to represent RMIT at the 3MT national finals.

Ms Tan was among 18 entrants who battled it out for a place in the University final at the SEH semi-final held on August 19. She took out the top prize with crowd favourite Shi Da (Stephen) Sun taking out both the runner up and the People’s Choice awards for his presentation, ‘Repair Aero-Grade High Strength Steel or Bu$t’.

The students are judged on their ability to explain their thesis topic and its significance in three minutes. Students were permitted a single PowerPoint slide, and not allowed to use any additional media or props.

Judges for the SEH semi-final were Professor Peter Blamey, Deputy Director (IP and Commercialisation) Bionics Institute, Professor Denise Cuthbert, Dean - School of Graduate Research, Mr Jonathan O'Donnell, Senior Advisor - Research Grant Development, College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University and Ms Fiona Nolan, Senior Coordinator -Governance and Operational Review, School of Graduate Research, RMIT University.

Professor Cuthbert said “Each researcher in the competition has to "translate" sophisticated or complex concepts, ideas and techniques without using the specialist jargon which is used when researchers speak to each other.”

“Each of the contestants has done a terrific job in this difficult task” she said.

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RMIT students bag award at AutoCRC Technical Conference

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RMIT students win at the AutoCRC Technical Conference.

RMIT automotive engineering students Vignesh Rajan, Vipil Varghese, Brendan Visser and Sam Brock won the Best Poster Award at the AutoCRC Technical Conference, held in Melbourne on 7 July.

Their poster, titled Acoustic Modelling of Interiors for EV Applications, beat a field of undergraduate and postgraduate students, from Swinburne, Deakin, La Trobe, QUT, ANU and University of South Australia.

The team was commended by the AutoCRC for their “clear research aims, interesting content and attractive presentation of the material.”

Automotive engineering program director Dr Mohammad Fard said, “Prizes like this, show how active RMIT University is in the automotive related advanced computer simulation field and demonstrate our great focus on green technology.”

“It benefits RMIT in establishing collaborations with automotive industries for future projects,” he said.

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Science Week

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Augmented reality and smarty phone technology come together to bring dinosaurs to RMIT.

Science Week went off with a bang this year, with RMIT involved in a range of events throughout 13 – 21 August.

Dinosaurs took over Swanston Street with the assistance of Augmented Reality and Smart Phone Technology. Passers-by were able to take snaps of their favourite dinosaurs at Jurassic Science Week hotspots around the city.

The Market of the Mind at QV Square gave visitors the opportunity to ‘speed date’ a neuroscientist, while sipping one of the bar’s themed cocktails, or get in touch with their inner child, courtesy of RMIT, by making ‘wizz fizz’ or launching an Alka Seltzer rocket. RMIT aerospace engineering

PhD candidate Adam Shrimpton explained the fundamentals of aerodynamics at a public seminar at QV exploring the potential of the Moomba Birdman Rally.

Scientist, software engineer and best selling author Jeff Potter entertained 120 aspiring foodies with fascinating facts from the kitchen. The Science of Yum event featured his best selling cook book Cooking for Geeks, (with MC Josh Earl). The diverse audience members took part in a test which determined whether or not they are a ‘super taster’.

Dr Jeff Hughes, delivered this year’s, Royal Australian Chemistry Institute (RACI) Hartung lecture series, which saw him present to over 300 school students in Capitol Theatre.

The Hartung lectures are a great way to show kids that science is applicable to everything around them. Jeff’s used toys as examples which engaged and entertained the students throughout his presentation.

RMIT also hosted the Singularity Summit (20 – 21 August), with speakers including theoretical physicist Lawrence Maxwell Krauss - the author of The Physics of Star Trek, and artificial intelligence expert Ben Goertzel.

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Open Day

RMIT Open Day 2011 saw a record breaking 42,830 visitors across all three campuses. Prospective students and their families packed out information sessions, took tours of facilities, saw student life come to live and importantly got the chance to speak one on one with staff and student volunteers.

The College of Science, Engineering and Health was well represented at both the City and Bundoora campuses, with the major hub points proving very popular with visitors.

Staff photographers were on hand to record the action.

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Funkadelic perform in front of a large crowd.

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The Engineering Hub proved popular with prospective students.

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Bowen Street bustles.


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RMIT Racing display in Bowen Street.

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Prospective students learn about the benefits of a career in Civil Engineering in the Structures Lab at the City Campus.

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Students visit the health and medical science facilities at the Bundoora West campus.


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Students give a free Myotherapy demonstration.

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Crowds gather to learn more about RMIT’s extensive range of engineering programs.


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Presentation of Cisco Networking Academy Award to Sanket Kakkad

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Sanket was congratulated and presented with the award by Emma Broadbent, Cisco Networking Academy Area Manager (ANZ & Pacific Islands).

School of Engineering (TAFE) computer systems engineering teacher Sanket Kakkad has won a prestigious Cisco Networking Academy award.

Sanket designed an activity in the Cisco Packet Tracer networking simulation program that allows students to visualise the movement of data through the network under the control of network protocols.

“Students studying computer networking are faced with the challenge of integrating detailed abstract concepts into the physical reality of their implementation,” Mr Kakkad said. “Visualisation is a very important advantage in understanding these concepts.”

The Packet Tracer contest was open to all Cisco instructors in Australia and New Zealand and was intended to capture the best of the knowledge and creativity in this region.

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Reminder: PVC Forum (Bundoora)

All staff are invited to attend a Staff Forum on Friday 2 September at Bundoora West Lecture Theatre (Building 224, Level 01, Room 002).

Some of the topics to be addressed at this forum include:

  • College Vision and Mission statements
  • Recent News and Achievements
  • Infrastructure projects update
  • Staffing changes

This follows the forum held at the City Campus on: Tuesday 30 August, 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm.

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ALTC grant success

Professor Philip Poronnik, representing the National Committee for Biomedical Sciences of the Australian Academy of Sciences was successful in obtaining $100,000 in grant funding from the ALTC for a Discipline Learning and Teaching Network proposal 'Collaborative University Biomedical Education Network (CUBENET)'. RMIT University will be acting as the eligible higher education institution partner.

This network will serve to:

  1. provide the critical mass needed to identify, address and solve the central challenges that face us in delivering a forward looking and sustainable curriculum; and
  2. maximize the efficiency of development, dissemination and adoption of innovative curriculum.

In a complex tertiary environment, such a network is critical to aggregate, filter and connect ideas and information with the appropriate teams of people. This helps to achieve effective, transferable and sustainable solutions. The proposal represents the interests of the 13 national societies that make up the National Committee on Biomedical Sciences and 17 Universities.

Professor Poronnik is the Chair of the Organising Committee of the National Forum on Education held on behalf of the National Committee for Biomedical Sciences of the Australian Academy of Sciences. The aim of the Forum is to identify key issues and challenges facing biomedical science educators in the 21st century and to form a national collaborative leadership network.

Both these activities are national in context and place RMIT in the spotlight in terms of leadership in biomedical education.

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RMIT Transforming the Future

Enlightenment and Education: public lecture by Sir Harold Kroto.

How can the internet help communicate science, make sense of scientific methodology and lead to more informed public debate?

Hear Nobel Laureate Sir Harold Kroto on the crucial issues of science, education and the public sphere in a free public lecture as part the RMIT Transforming the Future lecture series on Wednesday 28 September.

Professor Kroto will discuss his views on the importance of scientific knowledge and education, and how both are vital to better informing public debate around issues such as climate change.

Date: Wednesday 28 September 2011
Time: 6.00 pm – 7.30 pm
Location: RMIT University, City campus, Storey Hall (342 Swanston Street, Melbourne)

The event is free but registrations are essential.

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Election for representatives to the Science Engineering and Health College Board

Elections will be conducted to determine representatives to College Board for 2012 - 2013.

  • Eight Academic Representatives (Higher Education), elected by Science, Engineering and Health academic staff.
  • Two Academic Representatives (TAFE), elected by Science, Engineering and Health academic staff.
  • Two Professional Representatives, elected by Science, Engineering and Health professional staff.

The College Board has overall responsibility for planning, monitoring and reviewing academic programs in Science, Engineering and Health. The Board is scheduled to meet once a month (for two hours) between February and December.

Nominations open Wednesday 7 September. At this time, staff eligible to nominate and vote (that is, Higher Education and TAFE academics and Professional staff employed at 0.5 of a full time position or above) will receive email notification.

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Election for representatives to RMIT Academic Board

The College will be conducting elections to determine Science Engineering and Health representatives to Academic Board for 2012 - 2013.

  • Three Deans / Heads of School from each College, at least one of who will represent the TAFE Sector, elected by the academic staff of each College.
  • Two academic staff from each College, elected by the academic staff of each College.

The Board is the peak academic body of the University and is authorised to make recommendations on academic matters relating to Higher Education, VET and research. The Board meets once a month (for around two hours) between February and December.

Nominations open Wednesday 7 September. At this time, staff eligible to nominate and vote (that is, Higher Education and TAFE academics employed at 0.5 of a full time position or above) will receive email notification.

Please note: To avoid confusion, staff may wish to note that the University Secretary will also conduct separate elections to the Academic Board this year for student representatives and for two representatives of the University professoriate.

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The Chinese Medicine Confucius Institute (CMCI) is hosting a free public seminar

The Chinese Medicine Confucius Institute at RMIT University in conjunction with Austin Health will host a free public seminar on the latest treatments and clinical studies using traditional Chinese medicines to improve lung damage due to smoking.

At this seminar you will hear from doctors who will explain the working of the lung and how smoking can cause damage, and describe how natural herbal medicines are the latest treatments being studied to help improve lung function and quality of life.

Dr Christopher Worsnop, a respiratory physician and director of the Sleep Disorders Unit at Austin Health will discuss the background of lung diseases including COPD, emphysema and Chronic bronchitis and introduce you to the latest research using traditional medicines for respiratory diseases.

Professor Charlie Xue, a Chinese medicine practitioner and head of the School of Health Sciences at RMIT University, who is an expert in Chinese medicine, will discuss the role of herbal medicines in treating these diseases and how a complementary east meets west approach may be utilised by individuals with lung disease.

Date: Wednesday 7th September
Time: 5.30 pm – 7.00 pm
Location: RMIT University, Storey Hall

Free Admission.

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Semi-Permanent exclusively for RMIT students

Semi-Permanent is a creative conference which covers a range of different creative graphic design, film, fine art, illustration, web design, interactive design, photography, visual effects, animation, graffiti, motion graphics, stop motion, architecture, and much more.

Here is the unique RMIT student code for online ticket purchasing to the event: SPRMIT2011. This code entitles students to a discount on their ticket and entry into side events and other gift bag goodies for Semi-Permanent in Melbourne on 23 and 24 September.

Book early to take advantage of early bird ticket prices, register now.

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Heard of Blog Central?

It's RMIT's main blog platform, open to all academics and key senior figures who have got something to say about their areas of expertise and related interests.

It's also a great way to boost your work. Through their posts, academics have successfully forged new industry partnerships and projects, and had their work picked up by industry publications and external media such as The Age.

You can access the blog here or via the RMIT News landing page where the featured blogger is regularly rotated.

If you're interested, or know someone who would be, get in contact with Zoe Kleeborn from University Communications for more info.

Don't just think about it, do it!

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Web Transformation Program – online staff survey due to finish

RMIT’s Web Transformation Program has commenced with the discovery and design phases well underway ahead of implementation next year.

The Web Transformation Program aims to significantly improve user-satisfaction and business outcomes. A key part of the work is understanding the requirements that staff members have for the website, mobile and social media channels.

To achieve this, the program has completed a series of interviews and workshops with staff members from across the University.

If would like to provide input, you can complete the online staff survey. The survey, which extends the findings from the workshops, will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. The survey will be available until Monday 5 September.

Alternatively if you have more detailed input (or ideas that arise after the survey is finished), you can either document your needs and send them to our Senior Business Analyst, Robert Priest.

See more detail about the Transformation Program or complete the online staff survey.

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Invitation for free Chinese language lessons

The Chinese Medicine Confucius Institute at RMIT invites staff and students to join in the Chinese Language Corner for free lessons in Mandarin.

All the teachers are experienced and qualified.

The topics will cover greetings, Chinese food, arts, health and much more.

It is currently running on a weekly basis from 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm on Wednesdays in 202.4.2 at the Bundoora Campus.

For catering purposes, please RSVP Mr Yansong Zhou by 12 noon each Monday prior to the lessons.

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Are you a parent? Volunteers required for psychology research project

Ancuta Cora is conducting a research project as part of her Psychology honours degree, under the supervision of Associate Professor Susana Gavidia-Payne. The aim of the study is to compare family functioning and children’s health related quality of life in two groups of families:

  1. families of children who have undergone a liver transplant; and
  2. families of healthy children.

Participants will be required to complete a booklet (sent to you via post or email), which takes approximately 15 minutes. All information will be kept strictly confidential. Findings of this project could inform and improve health services and interventions for families whose children experience a liver transplant. If you are the parent of a healthy child aged between 5 and 16 years of age, we would like to hear from you.

Please express your interest by emailing: ancuta.cora@student.rmit.edu.au

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Psychology – wellbeing study

You are invited to participate in a research study being undertaken by the Division of Psychology at RMIT University. The study explores links between your experience of nature and your wellbeing.

This study has been approved by the RMIT Human Research Ethics Committee. All of your responses will be completely anonymous, confidential and securely stored. It should take no more than 25 minutes to complete the survey.

Read more about the study or complete the survey online.

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Bowen Lane name change

Bowen Lane (City Campus) has changed its name to Rodda Lane. The laneway is located between RMIT’s Info Corner (Building 22) on 330-334 Swanston Street and the Forester Hall Building (Building 24) on 124 La Trobe Street. The lane is primarily used as a means of foot access onto the City Campus.

At the City of Melbourne’s request, RMIT University changed the laneway’s name due to another laneway in Melbourne having the same name. This action has been taken to prevent any confusion occurring in the event of emergency services being called out to the wrong Bowen Lane.

Rodda Lane is named after Stanley Northey Rodda, who was principal of the Working Men’s College from 1913 to 1927. Bowen Street on the City campus retains its existing name.

See more information.

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Science, Engineering and Health in the news (5 August – 1 September)

Distinguished engineering professor joins RMIT
Renowned sustainable buildings engineer, Professor Qingyan (Yan) Chen from Purdue University, Indiana, has been appointed an Honorary Professor at RMIT University.
30/08/2011

Herb may offer hope for lung disease
RMIT University researchers are recruiting ex-smokers for a new study into the use of a traditional Chinese herb for lung disease.
25/08/2011

Thermopower waves advance a new energy future
RMIT researchers have explored how thermopower waves in thermoelectric materials can convert heat from solid fuels into electrical energy.
23/08/2011

Bundoora building boom
RMIT University's Bundoora campus has been transformed with the introduction of new state-of-the-art facilities, including a $13 million lecture theatre.
22/08/2011

Catherine shoots for silver success
Catherine Skinner, a chemical engineering student at RMIT University, has won a silver medal for shooting at the Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China.
15/08/2011

PhD candidate set to fly
Joanne Hall, a PhD candidate with RMIT University's School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, has been awarded a highly sought-after Australian Mathematical Society Lift-Off Fellowship.
15/08/2011

SPACE hosts inaugural distinguished lecture
The RMIT University Satellite Positioning for Atmosphere, Climate and Environment (SPACE) Research Centre has hosted its inaugural distinguished lecture.
12/08/2011

Engineering our future
More than 100 outstanding RMIT University engineering students have been recognised for their academic success at the 2011 Engineering Prizes and Awards Ceremony.
05/08/2011

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Upcoming events (1 September – 5 October)

For a full listing of upcoming events, please see the College Events page.

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How to contribute

Contributions can be sent as an unformatted e-mail message (no attachments) to sehnews@rmit.edu.au by 5pm on Thursday 22 September 2011. The word limit for contributions is 200 words.

To ensure In The Loop is distributed on time, we cannot accept late contributions.

Please do not send personal items or repeat articles. Only items that relate to the University's core activities will be published, and the In The Loop team reserves the right to edit submissions as appropriate.

In The Loop is distributed on the first Thursday of each month. Next edition: Thursday 6 October 2011.

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Tell us what you think about In The Loop

Your feedback about In The Loop is welcome. Your thoughts, comments and suggestions will help us provide content that is relevant to you. Please email your feedback to sehnews@rmit.edu.au.

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Useful links

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