Impact Studios

Australia’s no 1 university for research impact

Synopsis

Guest Bios

Transcription

Emma Lancaster:

The Impact at UTS Podcast series is made by Impact Studios, at the University of Technology Sydney. An audio production house funded by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research.

Claude Roux:

We are in a space where engagement is absolutely pivotal. We need to be engaged. And to be engaged, it’s not only a transactional process. It’s really working collaboratively with industry, and is really trying to combine the thinking and combine the ideas, like trying to solve an interesting puzzle.

Martin Bliemel:

Hello, I’m your host Martin Bliemel, from the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation. In this episode of Impact at UTS, we’re going to be hearing from three distinguished professors, each from a different area in STEMM. They’re going to tell you how they build engagement and impact into the research. This delivers excellent research, with real-world impact. We’ll hear about technology that changes the way we detect traces of criminals at crime scenes.

Claude Roux:

We had a lot of collaborations with leaders in the field, like the US Secret Service, UK Home Office, the Israeli Police, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well. And they are all using that Australian Formula.

Martin Bliemel:

We’ll learn about how robots are revolutionising the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Gamini Dissanayake:

So we had one very little project to explore a small aspect of painting in Sydney Harbour Bridge. And that’s build up to multi-million dollar relationship. Relationships are the key. What we found is that, once you build up a relationship and you deliver the outcomes the industry partner is expecting, these things can grow from there.

Martin Bliemel:

And we’ll hear about UTS research that’s providing safe drinking water to hundreds of children in Vietnam.

Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran:

If it is a project of impact, it has to be beneficial to the society. That’s very, very important.

Martin Bliemel:

Now, if you haven’t listened to episodes one and two, and you can’t understand what research impact and engagement is, you should scroll back and take a listen. You’ll hear stories from the field, about how UTS researchers are achieving social justice for an Aboriginal community, whose voices have been ignored for over three decades.

Martin Bliemel:

And you’ll hear how small device is activating the tourism community to restore Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. But today, our focus is on STEMM researchers. That’s science, technology, engineering, maths, and medicine. First up, is Distinguished Professor Claude Roux.

Claude Roux:

I think my big motivation, is to create this cultural shift that is needed in forensic science, to really exploit forensic science at its fullest.

Martin Bliemel:

Claude is the director of the Center for Forensic Science at UTS, and you’ll soon find out, a total pro when it comes to research engagement and impact. Claude spoke to Impact Studios’ producer and journalist, Cassandra Steeth.

Claude Roux:

I feel forensic scientist is still very similar to the early days of medicine. We still discover fundamental things, fundamental principles.

Cassandra Steeth:

And for those who don’t know, can you explain what forensic science is?

Claude Roux:

Forensic science is like a nano-archeology. What we try to do is to reconstruct a past event, based on what we call traces. When you do something, you leave traces of yourself and traces of your behaviour behind. And by detecting these traces and analysing these traces, then we can reconstruct who you are, what you’ve done.

Claude Roux:

By essentially, applying forensic science, we can recover in cases like a series of break-and-enters, then we can start to understand the criminal activity. We can start to understand essentially, how criminals operate. And then we give information to policy makers, law enforcement, to security agencies, who then can decide what to do and what the next best course of action is.

Claude Roux:

I think in science and in research, too often, people, they want to see this big eureka moment. And it’s a nice story. It’s always a nice story to have this kind of eureka moment, but let’s be realistic. The vast majority of discoveries don’t happen like that. I think what drives everything is probably the pursuit of being fascinated and I guess, curiosity.

Cassandra Steeth:

So Claude, along with the Australian Federal Police and the University of Canberra, you’ve developed a new way of detecting fingerprints at crime scenes. The technology’s become known as the Australian Formula, and it’s the method of choice of fingerprint detection around the world. So what’s it all about?

Claude Roux:

The Austrian Formula is a chemical use for the detection of finger marks on porous surfaces, which is essentially a solution of indanedione–zinc. We made a big improvement in the technique when we realised, that by adding zinc to the solution, we would make the technique much more robust. It means less amenable to the effect of changes in the environment or the paper. So it could be universally used around the world.

Cassandra Steeth:

Claude’s given us access to see how the formula works in action. To do this, we’ve headed to the lab with Dr. Xanthe Spindler. Xanthe’s part of the team that developed the formula. She’s going to show us how it actually works.

Xanthe Spindler:

We can put some finger marks down now, and touch it as naturally as you want to, as if you’re picking up a piece of paper. See if we can detect them.

Cassandra Steeth:

Right now, Xanthe’s picking up a piece of A4 white paper. She’s using her thumb to imprint fingerprints all over the page.

Xanthe Spindler:

We’re going into our wet lab, where we do all of our chemical enhancement processes. And then once we’ve done that, we can go into the dark room, and see if we’ve developed any finger marks.

Cassandra Steeth:

Xanthe’s putting a piece of paper into a heat press.

Xanthe Spindler:

The first thing we need to do, is turn on the heat press. We’ll then pour out some of the indanedione–zinc solution into a tray, and we’ll soak the document. We’d let it air dry a little bit, until it no longer smells like salt and vinegar chips. You’ll notice that very pungent smell of the acidic acid when we pull the document out. And then we take it over to the heat press. It’s just a standard pants press. That same thing that you’d see in most dry-cleaners and laundromats. Then we have our developed finger marks. And we’re done.

Cassandra Steeth:

Bright pink marks are starting to reveal themselves all over the page.

Xanthe Spindler:

We’ve got quite a few really good, intense pink ones over here, right on the edges of the page. That’s a sign of very, very strong development.

Cassandra Steeth:

Now, she’s using a really loud lamp to light up the page. It’s called a polilight, and you’ve probably seen something like this on TV shows like CSI.

Xanthe Spindler:

You can see these weaker finger marks pop up in the fluorescence. And this is why techniques like indanedione–zinc were just such a revelation, on top of the existing techniques.

Cassandra Steeth:

The Australian Formula has allowed forensic scientists to better detect traces. And it’s having a huge economic benefit. In Australia alone, it’s estimated this research saves the community $1.6 million for every homicide where fingerprints that would otherwise go undetected, are found.

Claude Roux:

We’ve been involved in fingerprint research for some time now. We knew that the fingerprint research that is going on in Australia is really top. That was just a confirmation that Australia is a leader in fingerprint research.

Cassandra Steeth:

Australia is at the top of their game when it comes to forensic science, by the sounds of things. How important was engagement in developing the Australian Formula?

Claude Roux:

It was pivotal. We started the whole search there, essentially with the AFP, and then the University of Canberra became involved. But without the Australian Federal Police, we wouldn’t have been doing this sort of research.

Cassandra Steeth:

And how did those relationships come about, particularly with the AFP? Was it an ongoing relationship that took many years to cultivate?

Claude Roux:

Yes. I think there is no secret. For any good and robust relationship, you can’t achieve that overnight. And usually, you start through individual connections. People you feel comfortable with, and you can collaborate. And then at some stage, the collaboration has to escalate and becomes more institutional.

Claude Roux:

I’m always saying, it’s like a marriage, if you want. It can be very robust over the years, and you’ve got ups and downs. But you tend to look towards the same direction, and have the same major principles.

Cassandra Steeth:

Claude, the end users of your research have a huge international scope. Who are your end users?

Claude Roux:

Look, with this Australian Formula, essentially it’s anyone performing finger mark detection. In addition to the Australian Federal Police, and all law enforcement agencies in Australia and New Zealand, in the development of that research, we had a lot of collaborations with leaders in the field. Like the US Secret Service, UK Home Office, the Israeli Police, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well.

Claude Roux:

I started to collaborate with the AFP almost immediately, when I joined UTS in 1996. We never stopped. We generated hundreds of graduates while working now, with AFP.

Cassandra Steeth:

How important is engagement in your work, Claude? Could your research be as successful without it?

Claude Roux:

No, no. It wouldn’t be possible. I think it’s very clear that we are in a space where engagement is absolutely pivotal. We need to be engaged. And to be engaged, it’s not only a transactional process. It’s not only asking ideas to the industry, from the industry, and then just applying them, and that’s it. It’s really working collaboratively with industry, and putting the collaboration without hierarchy. It’s not that someone is better than someone else. It’s really trying to combine the thinking and combine the ideas, like trying to solve an interesting puzzle.

Cassandra Steeth:

It seems there is a shift in the way universities are thinking about research. In some cases, researchers may have been doing research for industry and communities, but now the idea is that the research happens with them. Do you agree with that idea, and what do you think may have inspired this shift?

Claude Roux:

Yeah, I think it’s very clear. For too long, end users have been informing universities just to give ideas and quite often, just identify a problem they have. And then it was the end of the transaction. Quite often, the university would go away, do the research, and that was the end of it. So there was a very clear transactional relationship. And I think people started to realize that it’s not very sustainable.

Claude Roux:

It doesn’t exploit the value of university, as creation of new knowledge. If you want this creation of new knowledge, and this new knowledge being passed on to as many people as possible, you need to work hand-in-hand with the end users. It’s an ongoing thing. It’s not just one transaction. So definitely, it’s much more than just research for end users. It’s really a research with end users. And I would even go further, it’s also research on end users.

Cassandra Steeth:

Remember, an end user is essentially anyone outside of the Academy, that could use or benefit from your research.

Claude Roux:

I would say, they are completely critical to the kind of research we do, because there is no point to do research that is not helpful. Having a thesis that is just put on a shelf, may be a nice report, but it doesn’t help, really. It doesn’t have an impact.

Cassandra Steeth:

Claude you are, by what I understand, quite masterful at establishing industry connections. Do you have any tips on developing industry and community connections in your research? What has been your approach?

Claude Roux:

I think it’s really talking to the end users, right from the beginning. And as a researcher, trying to be part of the relevant community. There is no point to say, “Oh, I’m the researcher. This community is just there for me to bring nice ideas, to support research grants. When it runs out, I move to another community.” It’s one model.

Claude Roux:

There are very successful researchers following that sort of model. It’s not mine, because I mean, my passion is forensic science. I really want to improve, and provide progress and impactful research outcomes to my discipline. I’ve always worked with end users in forensic science, right from the start.

Claude Roux:

And again, going beyond the simple transactional relationship. And I would say, it’s especially not money that you’re after from the end user. You’re after, I would say, a collaborative identification of the problem. Collaboration to find good ideas, and collaboration to find good ways to go about the research. And then within the university, you can implement that research. At some stage, go back to the end user with some solutions.

Cassandra Steeth:

Was the specific impact of your research always understood from the beginning of the research, or was it sometimes more of a discursive journey, so to speak?

Claude Roux:

Yeah, I think most research require the researcher to be curious. And sometimes, you find maybe a result which don’t really fit with what you thought, and you can either disregard them and try to find another way, to find what you wanted to find, or you thought you would find. Or you start to think, Oh my God, there is something there. I should probably investigate that a bit further. And to me, it’s good research. A good research project is a research project that would find some answers. But actually, will find a lot more questions.

Claude Roux:

You have to be flexible. You have to be innovative. Even in science, you have to be creative if you want to create very successful, impactful research. But if we focus only on the impact and on the strategies to get to the impact, we probably miss the point. It’s really about creating a very positive environment for engagement, with the end users that are relevant to your research area.

Martin Bliemel:

So in Claude’s work, thinking about his end users from the beginning and understanding how his research will be used in practice, is vital. Understanding the end user’s world is so important. You might have the next best thing since sliced bread, and maybe people still like their sliced bread. But whatever you’re developing, whether it’s new bagels or cereal, if you’re not giving them what they want or what they need, they’re not going to adopt it.

Martin Bliemel:

By engaging with end users, Claude gets a real understanding of the industry’s problems, which helps inform his research process. And leads to greater impact and adoption of the work he does. There’s a bit of a virtuous cycle going on here.

Martin Bliemel:

Next up, I want you to hear from Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Gamini Dissanayake. He founded the Center for Autonomous Systems at UTS, which currently has a team of 70 staff and students working in robotics. It’s the second largest robotics research group in the world.

Gamini Dissanayake:

I’m Gamini Dissanayake. I’m a Distinguished Professor at UTS in the Faculty of Engineering and IT. I set up the robotics group at UTS, so I’ve been working with that team for over 18 years now.

Martin Bliemel:

Professor Dissanayake goes by Dissa, and a big part of his work has been developing robots to manage civil infrastructure. Including bridges, roads, and water pipes. Dissa says a lot of infrastructure in Australia was built more than half a century ago. And in many cases, it’s time for an upgrade.

Gamini Dissanayake:

They’re deteriorating. Looking after them is quite a significant challenge, in terms of occupational health and safety risks, like a bridge. Or in a situation like a water pipe, which is one meter underground. You can’t really access it.

Gamini Dissanayake:

Because of these challenges, people have been looking at, is it possible to build machines that can help maintain these things? And this has been our focus over the last, maybe 10 to 15 years. We call it infrastructure robotics. We built multiple robots for Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is obviously an iconic asset in Sydney.

Martin Bliemel:

Fun fact about the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was designed 100 years ago, but it only had 100-year lifespan designed into it. So you could argue that it’s ready to fall apart. And it picks up a lot of vibrations that also was not designed for the heavy trains and trucks that go across it today.

Martin Bliemel:

Now, the first robot that Dissa and his team at the Center for Autonomous Systems built, was to blast paint off the bridge, using a grit blaster. Obviously, a fresh coat of paint continues to prevent corrosion. But if you’ve ever had to remove paint using a grit blaster, you’ll know it’s not an easy job. And who wouldn’t want a robot to do it for them? Especially when it comes to using chemicals at high speeds and high heights, it’s pretty dangerous.

Gamini Dissanayake:

And so you have to strip the paint out and repaint, to make sure that this protection is there. The challenge in Sydney Harbour Bridge is that the paint that’s been used when it was built, is leaded paint. So this is hazardous. When you remove it, you get dust, and that dust contains lead. So you need to take extreme care to make sure that this doesn’t get out into the environment. And the people who are doing this need to be fully kitted up, so that they don’t ingest this lead.

Gamini Dissanayake:

Imagine having a water hose, but out of the hose comes sand at very high speed. And you’ve got to hold it against the big structure to strip paint off. This is really hard. It’s like holding a 10 kilogram bag. In all directions, pulling, pushing in all directions for a few hours. So this is really tough, in terms of the physical effort needed. And also, in terms of the hazardousness due to the dust.

Cassandra Steeth:

Dissa, you and your team started building the robots for the Roads and Maritime Services, which is RMS, in 2006. How did the project get started?

Gamini Dissanayake:

So RMS, this is the Roads and Maritime Services at that time. Now, it’s Transport New South Wales came to us and asked us about whether it’s possible to develop a robot to do this task, and to do this task in collaboration with people.

Cassandra Steeth:

RMS approached UTS with a decent problem. Their maintenance bill was $18 million a year. The workers on the bridge were facing a 134 meter drop into the water. And when cleaning the bridge, they were potentially exposed to breathing in lead-based paint. So I can see why this is a job for a robot.

Gamini Dissanayake:

They wanted to slot in a robot or two, just to provide some support. That’s one of the robots, that’s where it all started. My colleague, Dikai Liu, ran that project.

Cassandra Steeth:

Over six years, UTS researchers at the Center for Autonomous Systems developed two autonomous grit blasting robots. Their job was to perform condition assessments on the steel bridge, and blast off old painting corrosion, in preparation for repainting and repairs. But it didn’t stop there.

Gamini Dissanayake:

If you look at the bridge, it’s got this arch. Arch is a very big structure there, that supports the bridge. Inside, it’s a hollow cavity. So inside there, they’ve built it many years ago, so that a person can crawl into it and inspect inside, whether there’s any corrosion or whether there’s anything else. And then if there’s something, go and repair it. So you have to squeeze through a very, very small hole, they call it a manhole, to do this inspection.

Gamini Dissanayake:

This is no longer acceptable, because of the occupational health and safety. If you crawl in there and something happens to you, how do you get that person up? Again, the Harbour Bridge team wanted us to see whether we can build a robot to crawl into this space, and examine it and inspect it, and come back with photos to show the current condition of those walls.

Cassandra Steeth:

Okay. Got it. Were there limitations due to your industry partner requirements?

Gamini Dissanayake:

I mean, as you know, we have two aspects to this research at UTS. We do quite a bit of fundamental research, which is typically funded by the ARC, and typically there’s no partners. It’s the researchers who are doing it. But this fundamental research work is what makes it possible to build these kinds of robots. That work allowed us to then approach industry partners, to look at what the problems they have, and see whether we can solve these problems.

Gamini Dissanayake:

So to me, actually, having the partner is an asset. It exposes you to the real-life challenges people face. And in a way actually, enhance the research capacity. You know what questions to ask. And once you know what’s the right question to ask, you’re halfway there. Once you know what to ask, you can look for solutions, and the solutions tend to be novel, and generate IP. It’s a very beneficial scenario, working with industry partners.

Cassandra Steeth:

So how exhilarating has it been to see the robots in action, Dissa, knowing that your work is both working and having an impact?

Gamini Dissanayake:

Well, I mean, that’s the ultimate. It’s the same as writing a good-quality paper and get many citations. It’s the same when you build something, and your industry partner appreciates the value of it, and you can see that it benefits.

Cassandra Steeth:

What’s your advice for other researchers, who are seeking to make a real world impact with their research?

Gamini Dissanayake:

Relationships are the key. Once you build up a relationship, and you deliver the outcomes the industry partner is expecting, these things can grow from there. We had one very little project, which was probably about 10, $15,000 to explore a small aspect of painting in Sydney Harbour Bridge. And that built up to a multimillion dollar relationship.

Cassandra Steeth:

Dissa, I’m interested to understand what research-led impact means to you.

Gamini Dissanayake:

For me, the excitement is that in the basic research, we are discovering new ways of doing things. There are many situations where you need a robot to be operating in a unknown or difficult environment, like Sydney Harbour Bridge or inside a water pipe, and self-driving cars is no different. So to me, the impact is how can we translate this research? How do we generate it into something that’s useful for the society?

Cassandra Steeth:

Would you say the Faculty of Engineering has a specific approach to how it incorporates impact into its research?

Gamini Dissanayake:

To me, it’s kind of natural. Robotics is a very applied field. If you don’t build anything to do something, as if it doesn’t exist. To me, I think this is true for many robotics groups around Australia. The application of what you learn and develop into an industry problem, has always been the driver.

Martin Bliemel:

Not too many researchers can claim to have founded a new field of study, but Dissa and his colleagues at the Center for Autonomous Systems are experts in developing robots that are being used for real-world applications. They were challenged to solve a problem involving the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and they did just that.

Martin Bliemel:

But they didn’t stop there. Since the initial project, the research partnership between UTS and the state’s Road and Maritime Services has expanded. The team has perfected two autonomous underwater robots for cleaning and inspecting bridge pylons. The research also resulted in the launch of a spin-out company, Sabre Autonomous Solutions, which was developed to take robotic solutions to market. And the robotics knowledge, developed through this partnership, has won countless research and engineering excellence awards, as well as securing a US and Australian patent.

Martin Bliemel:

Dissa and his team’s approach to special awareness for autonomous vehicles, positions UTS as a world leader in the field, especially in infrastructure robotics. It’s amazing what can happen when you try and solve one problem.

Martin Bliemel:

Now, let’s hear from another UTS academic, who’s found a solution to a very poisonous problem.

Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran:

Arsenic is a very slow killer. It may take decades. I am Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran. I am a Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering, at the Faculty of Engineering and IT.

Martin Bliemel:

By trading a water filtration system that removes arsenic from drinking water, Vigi, as he goes by, has given scores of kindergarten children in Vietnam access to safe drinking water.

Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran:

Arsenic is a huge problem, worldwide. About 137 million people suffer from arsenic problem. Vietnam is one of the major countries where arsenic problem is severe. In Red River Delta alone, more than 1 million people suffer, and they do not have an adequate water supply. They depend on the rainwater, as well as the groundwater. But the majority of the groundwater is polluted with arsenic.

Cassandra Steeth:

Vigi and his team worked with researchers from Hanoi University of Science, and from the Institute of Environmental Technology, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology. Together, it was their job to identify where arsenic water contamination was occurring, and how to fix it.

Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran:

There are many international organisations, companies, they have different systems made available. The problem are they are not suited to the local environment.

Cassandra Steeth:

The water filter systems available in Vietnam were either inefficient at removing arsenic, or too expensive for people to buy. So UTS researchers began developing their own filtration system.

Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran:

We not only remove arsenic, then there’s bacteria. We don’t want the pathogens. Pathogens are the waterborne, disease-causing microorganisms. We wanted to remove them, as well. So we removed arsenic and then we used the filtration system to remove the microorganisms. So the water comes out, will be free from arsenic, as well as bacteria.

Cassandra Steeth:

As a result, clean drinking water is now available to hundreds of kindergarten children in Vietnam. In some cases, it may have saved lives. How does that make you feel, Vigi? Because that’s a pretty significant impact.

Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran:

Yeah, we’re so happy, in the sense that when we went to install the unit and the principal, vice-principal, the community leaders, all of them, they were present. So we felt very, very happy. They want to work with us, and they felt the ownership in the work. They wanted to work with us and solve this problem together.

Cassandra Steeth:

Vigi knew that it wasn’t good enough for the filtration system to just work. It needed to be affordable.

Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran:

It is using all local materials. Much, much cheaper. That is our main target, because we wanted to use an absorbent which can be available any time, without any restriction. This can be easily handled by the local vendors and the local companies.

Cassandra Steeth:

And the most important ingredient, there needed to be buy-in from the local community. A sense of ownership.

Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran:

Best practice is we work with the local companies to build a system, with the local material. In this process, we involve also the community consultant, and the commune leaders.

Cassandra Steeth:

Vigi, what do you think makes for effective collaborative research?

Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran:

It’s very important, both sides should be transparent. We should make sure that both focus on the finding, which is useful to the society, or to the research. If it’s a research project, it’s towards the research. If it is the project of impact, it has to be beneficial to the society. That’s very, very important.

Martin Bliemel:

The technology Vigi is talking about has also won a DFAT Technology Against Poverty Prize, as part of the Google Impact Award. Vigi and his team have plans to scale up the project in other parts of the world.

Martin Bliemel:

I hope you enjoyed hearing about these very different, but very impactful research projects being done by three of our distinguished STEMM professors, here at UTS. Thanks to my colleagues, Claude Roux, from the Center for Forensic Science. Gamini Dissanayake, from the Center for Autonomous Systems. And Saravanamuthu Vigneswaran, from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Martin Bliemel:

Next time, on Impact at UTS, you’ll hear how industry is knocking on our door to collaborate.

Paul Scully-Power:

From the industry point of view, I had a problem, I needed some AI. I went to the number-one AI university, and they were very accommodating. If they hadn’t been accommodating, I would have gone to the next one. That’s the way industry works.

Martin Bliemel:

We’ll be exploring how you can effectively work with external partners, getting some tips on external research funding and research commercialisation. Plus, we’re going to hear about an international research collaboration, that’s improving health outcomes in Papua New Guinea.

Michele Rumsey:

I think effective collaboration really, is about a long-term relationship. Continued networking. I think for nurses and midwives, it’s really important that we look beyond our small circle of influence.

Martin Bliemel:

And don’t forget, if you’re a UTS staff member and you’re interested in more research impact and engagement, head over to UTS RES Hub website, reshub.uts.edu.au. Here, you will find a newly created research impact module, where you can learn more, find tools and explore research impact, in relation to your own work. I’m your host, Associate Professor Martin Bliemel, and you’ve been listening to Impact at UTS.

Emma Lancaster:

At Impact Studios, we work with the best scholars, to embed audio in the research process. Making one-of-a-kind podcasts, that entertain, inspire and create change. To get in touch, you can email impactstudios@uts.edu.au. The production team live on the lands of the Gadigal people, of the Eora nation, whose lands were never ceded.

 

Podcast playlist

July 24 · 42 MIN

In this episode of Impact at UTS we are breaking you out of your research silo to look at ways of collaborating across disciplines, as well with external partners.

What would happen if we as researchers were brave enough to leave the ‘safety net’ of our own disciplines?

In this episode you’ll hear from host Associate Professor Martin Bliemel the Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation who is eager to demonstrate that transdisciplinarity is more than a buzzword but a way of thinking and doing research.

He is joined by Professor Cameron Tonkinwise, Head of the Design Innovation Research Centre at UTS where they employ “frame creation”, an innovation-centred approach that applies “design thinking” to problem solving. Along with Professor Stuart White, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures who has spent 20 years working with academics across disciplines to become an expert in wrangling different minds and perspectives to create groundbreaking and impactful research.

These three UTS scholars examine the pleasures and pitfalls of co-designing research, debunk myths about transdisciplinary collaborations, and provide advice on creating a space for complex collaboration. As well as consider what it means for the future of research design if no one research field has the solution to the world’s wicked problems.

To find out more visit reshub.uts.edu.au

Featured in episode five of Impact at UTS:

Host and Associate Professor Martin Bliemel, the Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation

Professor Cameron Tonkinwise, Head of the Design Innovation Research Centre at UTS

Professor Stuart White, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS

Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt, Director of Research at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research

Impact Studios producer/journalist Cassandra Steeth

The Impact at UTS podcast is made by Impact Studios at the University of Technology Sydney, an audio production house funded by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research.

July 24 · 38 MIN

UTS is committed to knowledge exchange and encouraging research collaboration between the university, industry and broader society. But what makes research collaboration effective? And what are the benefits and barriers to collaboration?

In this episode of Impact at UTS, hear how groundbreaking research developed in partnership with industry is being used to reduce shark attacks in our oceans. Professor Michael Blumenstein, the Associate Dean (Research Strategy and Management) in the Faculty of Engineering & IT, and Dr Paul Scully-Power, Australia’s first astronaut and co-founder of the Ripper Group, share the collaborative success of the SharkSpotter drone technology that is saving lives on Australian beaches.

From partnerships on our shores to long term collaboration overseas, Michele Rumsey, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Development, discusses how her international research partnership with government, health and community groups in Papua New Guinea is transforming maternal and child health outcomes.

To find out more visit reshub.uts.edu.au

Featured in episode four of Impact at UTS:

Host and Associate Professor Martin Bliemel, the Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation

Professor Michael Blumenstein, the Associate Dean (Research Strategy and Management) in the Faculty of Engineering & IT

Dr Paul Scully-Power, Australia’s first astronaut and co-founder of The Ripper Group https://therippergroup.com/

Michele Rumsey, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Development

Impact Studios producer/journalist Cassandra Steeth

The Impact at UTS podcast is made by Impact Studios at the University of Technology Sydney, an audio production house funded by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research.

July 24 · 46 MIN

The journey to creating research with impact starts with engagement. And the key to beginning any research journey is to seek to listen and work with those who want, need and will use your research. But what’s the best way to go about this?

In the second episode of Impact at UTS, you’ll hear from two researchers at the top of their game who are carving out their own unique impact pathways through engagement with communities outside of the academy.

Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt shares how her team’s research has been central to fostering Indigenous empowerment through deep engagement with the Bowraville community in the Mid North Coast hinterland of New South Wales.

And Associate Professor David Suggett, a marine biologist with the Climate Change Cluster, discusses how he and his team have found a small solution to a big problem facing the world’s largest reef. This solution came about by engaging with those whose life and livelihoods are tied to the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

*Please be aware. If you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, this episode contains names of deceased persons.*

To find out more visit reshub.uts.edu.au

Featured in episode two of Impact at UTS

Host and Associate Professor Martin Bliemel, the Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation

Julian Zipparo, Executive Manager of Research Engagement at the UTS Research Office

Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt, Director of Research at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research

Associate Professor David Suggett, Climate Change Cluster

Impact Studios producer/journalist Cassandra Steeth

The Impact at UTS podcast is made by Impact Studios at the University of Technology Sydney, an audio production house funded by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research.

Impact at UTS

Podcast
Team & Credits

Podcast
Team