Issue 5
Monday, 11 April 2016
Charles Darwin University
Professor Ruth Wallace (third from left) with Northern Institute staff from Alice Springs
Professor Ruth Wallace (third from left) with Northern Institute staff from Alice Springs

Central Australians win research grants

Seven staff at Charles Darwin University’s Alice Springs campus have won grants for research projects in areas ranging from heat stress and recycling, to teaching in remote Australia.

The grants, of either $5000 or $10,000, will fund four projects in the Northern Institute and a fifth in the School of Education.

In one of the projects, Dr Supriya Matthew and Dr Benxiang Zeng will explore how native plants might be used as an adaptation strategy to extreme heat in Central Australia.

In a summary of the project, they pointed out that the already high inland summer temperatures, projected warmer atmospheres and cultural significance of many native and bush plants highlighted the importance of this type of research for Central Australia.

They will use satellite images and on-site temperature measurements to understand the cooling effects of various plants.

Meanwhile, Dr Zeng will collaborate with Dr Judy Lovell to ask how a university can best respond to a network of indigenous people from different countries, who seek sustainable socio-economic benefits in keeping with their culture.

This case study, which involved a workshop in Taiwan, promised to strengthen the emerging partnership between researchers, universities and indigenous communities, with a focus on indigenous priorities for socio-economic benefit and sustainable development practices.

And in the School of Education, Dr Al Strangeways said her project would use arts-based participatory methods to better understand the resilience challenges facing new teachers in Central Australia, and the resources they used to meet these challenges.

The successful recipients are:*

Dr Judy Lovell and Dr Benxiang Zeng: Socio-economic development activities evident in an exchange of knowledges between indigenous communities in Asia-Pacific region.

Dr Supriya Matthew, Dr Benxiang Zeng, Dr Slade Lee and Dr Andrew Coutts: Exploring the relevance of native plants in mitigating heat stress in Central Australia.

Dr Deepika Mathur, Dr Robert Crawford and Professor Rolf Gerritsen: Environmental and economic cost of recycling construction waste in Alice Springs. 

Dr Elspeth Oppermann, Dr Don Zoellner and Dr Matt Brearley: Why apprentices fail to complete: Exploring Northern Australia's extreme heat as a possible factor.

Dr Lisa Papatraianou, Dr Al Strangeways and Dr Susan Beltman: Becoming a teacher in remote Australia: Picturing Resilience.

*(Central Australian researchers in bold).