Capability Development Fund (CDF) projects

CDFs awarded by the BHI ECP (now known as BHI EIP) in 2018 and 2019


Multidisciplinary pathways to healthy ageing

Researchers: Dr Dein Vindigni, SHBS

Expanding the current RMIT student Chiropractic Clinic in collaboration with an Aged Care Centre to include other disciplines for a broader program such as Osteopathy, Exercise, Chinese Medicine and Psychology).


  • Established and continued links with Australian Chiropractors Association, Chinese Medicine Association, University of the Third Age (U3A), Tai Chi for Health Institute, Medibank Private`s HealthStrong initiative, CO.AS.IT, City of Whittlesea, Assisi Aged Care, San Carlo Homes and Lyndoch Living.
  • These links have led to further collaborations within RMIT i.e. RMIT Clinical Psychology Team with U3A for research and developing training programs for senior citizens at U3A.
  • The current project has generated a model for interorganisational collaboration.
  • Medibank Private is interested in looking at how to upskill RMIT graduates in aged care to increase access to and benefits of a multidisciplinary approach to caring for the elderly.
  • Significant interest in the program led to submitting an ECP SCDF 2020 application.
  • A publication describing the PHA framework is nearing completion.
  • Two research projects are being collaboratively developed: dementia awareness & skills training; and health promotion podcasts for older people.

Interdisciplinary research practices in healthtech innovation: a pilot study of Vall D'Hebron - Barcelona Campus Hospital

Researchers: Dr Olga Kokshagina, Grad. SoB&L – co-funded by GBI ECP.

The core of the pilot study is to explore how design driven framework can be used to conduct benchmark of innovation projects and identify new “blue oceans” or relevant opportunities for collaboration between different stakeholders.


  • Obtained ethics approval to interview hospital staff at the Cardiology Department at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Spain and RMIT University.
  • Strengthened RMIT’s relationship with VdH through their joint EU grant proposal.
  • Poster presented at the eHealth 2020 conference in Sydney in February 2020.
  • Grant opportunity with VdH – EU Application to H2020 with RMIT Europe: “Interplay of Disruptive Technologies and Secured Data driven models for Efficient Patient Care and Real time Healthcare systems” (RIA) – submitted in April 2020; several grant proposals are under discussion in the EU and Australia).
  • Research article
  • working paper under submission to a managerial journal – on clinicians’ perspective in value based healthcare;
  • working paper with A/P Gillian Vesty, School of Accounting, Information Systems & Supply Chain on costing and value based healthcare.
  • White Paper is currently in review with Vall d’Hebron.

Creating animated digital resources to teach trainee psychologists about sleep

Researchers: Ms Hailey Meaklim, PhD candidate, SHBS

Designing and creating a digital animation resource to teach psychology students about the Two Process Model of Sleep Regulation. The aim is to share this resource with Master of Psychology students at RMIT, SHBS - Discipline of Psychology and the Sleep Health Foundation.


  • Created a digital animation resource for Master of Psychology students undertaking a Sleep Psychology Workshop to improve their knowledge of sleep and sleep disorders.
  • Animated digital resource is currently used in lectures by RMIT academics, namely in the School of Health & Biomedical Sciences, Discipline of Psychology.
  • Also used by students at Monash University, Federation University, Victoria University and Swinburne University of Technology. Academics from Monash University are currently using this resource in sleep and circadian rhythm talks to students and the public. 
  • Increased collaboration ties with external organisations such as the Sleep Health Foundation. It has listed this resource on their website as a public resource for all Australians and shared this resource via their social media accounts. A board member of the Sleep Health Foundation has been particularly encouraging of this video and would like to see future training videos developed.
  • This resource has had 680 views on YouTube so far and received positive feedback from various international sleep and psychology researchers on Twitter including the  author of "Why we sleep", Professor Matt Walker from UC Berkeley, Dr Craig Canapari, Pediatric Sleep Physician at Yale School of Medicine and Dr Grace Vincent Postdoctoral Sleep Researcher at CQU, South Australia.

User matched smart shoe inserts for stimulation of leg circulation

Researchers: Prof Peter Dabnichki, SoE

The aim of this project is to develop ‘user matched smart shoe inserts for stimulation of leg circulation’. This involves collaborating with industry partner, GoodFit Feet Sizing, Glenrowan Enterprises to develop an automated 3D design algorithm to create a customized shoe insert that matches individual characteristics and foot shape. GoodFit would like to investigate the potential for customization of products using automated 3D scanning algorithm. GoodFit aims to enable customers to order shoe inserts online without physically trying on a shoe or needing an appointment with a podiatrist to make a customised cast. Inserts were tested by participants at the Centre for Sports Science and University Sports at the University of Vienna. Feedback received from participants was used adjust and improve the design and build of the inserts.


  • A series of publications stemming from the project are being prepared.
  • A student who worked on the project was invited to bid for funding by the Vienna Uni on collaborative research with Taiwan.
  • The project was successful in developing the insert. GoodFit Feet Sizing did not take the project further however this research team is continuing to work together to improve the insert design, performance and comfort based on the participants’ feedback.
  • Based on the first test with participants at the Centre for Sports Science and University Sports at the University of Vienna, the research team has developed a series of open-cell structures and tested their suitability for insert application.

Earlier Outcomes:

  • The smart shoe insert prototype was designed and built within RMIT using its resources.
  • Lab testing of the smart shoe insert prototypes underwent lab testing and evaluation via participants who wore inserts over long periods of time.
  • Participants compared smart shoe inserts with no insert, tradition and novel inserts with users reporting positive feedback with the prototypes.
  • The original design was adjusted according to the feedback received from participants.


Engineering a therapy to improve outcomes after neonatal stroke

Researchers: Dr Bobbi Fleiss, SHBS

Currently, there are no treatments for neonatal stroke, the blockage or rupture of a brain blood vessel in the first 28 days of life. This leads to babies being born with intellectual disabilities, behavioural problems, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. The aim of this project is to investigate the specific nature of the innate microglial and astroglial response to injury for the development of targeted immunomodulatory strategies to facilitate repair and support regeneration.


  • This project was selected from an EOI for full submission for project level support from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance –$250,000 over three years.

RMIT-NJUCM joint seminar

Researchers: Prof Jiming Ye, SHBS

A Joint RMIT-NJUCM Symposium on “Discovery New Therapeutics for Chronic Diseases” was convened on the 23rd of July at the SHBS.


  • Established links between investigators from both institutions and to share research capacity hence, creating the RMIT-NJUCM research partnership.
  • Published one joint publication with Prof Xu Shen at NJUCM - Fan L, Qiu XX, Zhu ZY, Lv JL, Lu J, Mao F, Zhu J, Wang JY, Guan XW, Chen J, Ren J, Ye JM, Zhao YH, Li J & Shen X. Nitazoxanide, an anti-parasitic drug, efficiently ameliorates learning and memory impairments in AD model mice. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2019:1–13;
  • Jiming Ye delivered a lecturer at NUCM in March 2019. He is collaborating with Prof Lihong Hu, Vice President of NJUCM.

A workshop with the Society for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) of the Nose & Airways

Researchers: A/Prof. Kiao Inthavong, SoE

Established SCONA – the Society for CDF (Computational Fluid Dynamics) of the Nose and Airways to foster knowledge, collaboration and collegiality between researchers in this new field.  CFD is a disruptive technology that is changing our understanding of airflow in the human respiratory system and our approach to surgical procedures.


  • This led to an industry research project with ENT-Flo for a 2yr project due to end in 2020 ~$70k.
  • ENT-Flo has joined us with a medical clinic ENT Sydney for a 2020 Linkage application.
  • SCONA has led to a redesign of the Flo Sinus Care Starter Kit. This year, Flo will launch their new design driven by SCONA’s research work and will continue to evaluate and confirm the new design’s effectiveness. Kiao Inthavong led a related journal paper that addresses the performance of the Flo’s Sinus Wash Bottle -  Inthavong, K., Shang, Y., Wong, E., Singh, N.  (2019) Characterisation of nasal irrigation flow from a squeeze bottle using CFD. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology
  • Joey Siu from the University of Auckland, NZ presented at the first SCONA Workshop (funded by BHI ECP CDF) and has since collaborated with Kiao to publish 3 papers:
  • Sui, J., Dong, J., K., Inthavong, K., Shang, Y., Douglas, R. (2020) Quantification of airflow in the sinuses following functional endoscopic sinus surgery, Rhinology.
  • Sui, J., Shrestha, K., Inthavong, K., Shang, Y., Douglas, R. (2020) Particle deposition in the paranasal sinuses following functional endoscopic sinus surgery, Computers in Biology and Medicine.
  • Sui, J., Johnston, J., Pontre, B., Inthavong, K., Douglas, R. (2019) Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluation of the distribution of spray and irrigation devices within the sinonasal cavities. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology.
  • The initial workshop helped to strengthen SCONA’s relationship with clinicians and led to the follow up event, SCONA2019 held in Chicago, USA
  • Prepared video of the large volume irrigation study, which was tremendously popular with GPs and Pharmacists. Used extensively by Dr Sam Barbalatt, Medical Director at ENT Technologies who commented that the video, which he presented to two groups, has changed perceptions of large volume irrigation and brought the technique to the very forefront of these groups’ therapeutic armamentarium when managing patients with airway pathologies like chronic rhinosinusitis and allergic rhinitis.

Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands (AHAH) program

Researchers: Dr Dein Vindigni, SHBS

This program enables Aboriginal students from Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Medical Imaging and Exercise Sciences students at RMIT, enrolled in preparatory First Aid and Sports Training to gain further work experience at the Fitzroy Stars Indigenous football and netball clubs as well as participate in the upcoming Indigenous Sporting Carnivals.


  • ECP funds strengthened the case for a recently implemented Master by Research in Indigenous Health.  This includes an RMIT subsidised Master by Research Scholarship evaluating the impact of the Aboriginal Health in Aboriginal Hands (AHAH) program and recommendations arising from qualitative research.
  • To date, the candidate has successfully met with key members in the Aboriginal Community, helped to collaboratively establish a Community Advisory Group (CAG), prepared and submitted all documents for her Confirmation of Candidature and discussed the beginnings of an AHAH concept paper.
  • Collaboration with the Fitzroy Stars is strengthening with the addition of more disciplines including myotherapy and osteopathy. Exercise science will begin once the current conditions stabilise.

Ultrashort self-assembling peptides as novel antimicrobial agents:  structure-function relationship and applications

Researchers: Dr Celine Valery, SHBS

This research aims to rationally design novel antimicrobial low cost compounds and materials based on short peptide nanostructures.


  • Published 4 peer-reviewed articles.
  • Dr Valery invited to present at one international conference in 2019 (University of Tel Aviv, Israel) and delivered an international seminar (ETH Zurich).
  • Dr Valery granted a Athena Swan award to visit and collaborate with ETH Zurich (Mezzenga's lab) in 2019.
  • Ms Priscila Cardoso invited to present a Poster at an international conference (University of tel Aviv) and 3 in Australia in 2019. Of these, Ms Cardoso won the Best Poster Award category at the ANSTO-HZB Neutron School in Sydney, Aust.
  • Received additional funding: i) a 2-year RMIT-CSIRO contract for MSc Scholarship; ii) in-kind funding from the Australian Synchrotron for X-ray scattering (2018-2020), ANSTO Sydney for X-ray reflectometry (2019), and MLZ-Garching (Germany) for neutron scattering (2020); iii) Athena Swan award visiting scholarship (2019); iv) ASCIL Biopharm service contract (2020).
  • Progress of HDR students:
  • D. Dharmadana: PhD student PASS – to graduate in 2020
  • P. Cardoso: PhD Confirmation of candidature completed mid 2019
  • S. Appiah-Danso: MSc student commenced in September 2019 and CoC completed in March 2020.
  • Industry partnerships:
  • MIT, USA.
  • School of Physics, School of Engineering, RMIT University
  • ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
  •  ASCIL Biopharm, Barcelona, Spain service contract signed.

Green Paper:  EPSoi framework for conducting research into consumer engagement in their own health – to engage patients in managing their postoperative pain after discharge.

Researchers: A/Prof Zhen Zheng & Prof Ieva Stupans, SHBS

Aims of the Green Paper is to:

  • provide guidelines on how to design studies of patient engagements in their own health care
  • provide step-by-step guidelines on how to understand the engagement components in the intervention
  • design studies that reflect real world setting, providing research results that are readily translated into practice.


  • A new team was formed at Northern Health on discharge information assessment and linked in with their existing opioid stewardship committee. The team includes surgeons, pain specialist, GP and anaesthetist from several hospitals and clinics. A surgeon registrar is working on the project in 2020.
  • Expanded team to include hospital pharmacists and linked with Chief Medical Officer from SafeCare Victoria and Behavioural Insight Unit in Vic State Govt.
  • Manuscript has been submitted to a journal.
  • Collaborating with RMIT Europe and are part of a team applying for a grant via H2020.
  • Completed two Honours projects in 2019 with one that is progressing well this year.

Industry Engagement and Intellectual Property (IP) Enhancement for Microbial Detection Assay Strips (MIDAS) kits.

Researchers: Dr Sarvesh Soni, SoS

A rapid, low-cost, portable, point-of-use assay for the detection of pathogens such as helminths and enteric viruses in wastewater and biosolids. By 2019, this project strengthened to exploring a start-up to take MIDAS on-site real-time microbial detection technology to market.


  • Selected for the ON Prime:Defence event on 09.10.19 in conjunction with the PACIFIC 019 International Maritime Exposition in Sydney, a global business event attracting senior merchant marine, shore services, maritime and defence industry, military and government decision-makers from around the world.
  • Participated in CSIRO ON Prime 6, conducted 106 interviews from the prospective customers and awarded $ 3,000 as the performance bonus.
  • Due to this project’s involvement with CSIRO ON and technology development, MiDeX-MiniLoad has been awarded an ECP-EOF grant of $123K to further develop a commercially viable prototype and a detailed prospective licensee search.
  • MiDeX MiniLoad-further shortlisted for CSIRO ON Accelerate BootCamp and successfully completed this activity on 22 .11.19.
  • Presented at BHI ECP Diseases of Pollution & Urbanization symposium and initiated discussions with Mr Stephen Tomisich, CEO Trojan Scientific about the MiDeX-MiniLoad. Stephen invited the project team to meet with Trojan’s Chief Scientific Officer on 03.12.19 to present a talk on their project, which resulted in Trojan being interested in working with RMIT’s Contracts team in R&I. Still in progress.
  • Currently developing an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant with a prospective industry partner. Preliminary discussions with R&I took place and on hold due to COVID-19.
  • The possibility of adapting the start-up route for MIDEX-MiniLoad will be determined on the outcomes of the EOF grant.  
  • Funding from South East Water as a research contract has been confirmed ($148K): To develop the detection kits for E. coli, Ascaris and Enteroviruses.
  • Funding from VIC-EPA as research contract has been confirmed ($60K): To develop detection kits for Enterococci.
  • VIC-EPA has asked Sarvesh’s project team to submit further funding request for Field validation. The request for $15K was submitted on 18 May, 2020.
  • Funding application for BTB COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding is being developed and matching funding from the School of Science and South East Water is being negotiated. 
  • Two publications:
  • Detection of Helminth Ova in Wastewater Using Recombinase Polymerase Amplification Coupled to Lateral Flow Strips, Vivek B. Ravindran, Basma Khallaf, Aravind Surapaneni, Nicholas D. Crosbie, Sarvesh K. Soni, Andrew S. Ball, Water 2020, 12(3), 691;
  • A review on the current knowledge and prospects for the development of improved detection methods for soil-transmitted helminth ova for the safe reuse of wastewater and mitigation of public health risks, Ravindran, V., Soni, S., Ball, A., Water 2019, 11(6), 1212;
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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.